LYNDON — Larry Golden and his son Ricky are helping to transform downtown Lyndonville, one brushstroke at a time.
The Goldens are painting a mural of the town’s five covered bridges on the Main Street side of White’s Market.
The mural is more attractive than the brick wall underneath and offers another example of how the arts can revitalize a community.
“It shows that the town is vibrant. The town has a history. It helps brighten things up. It shows there’s vitality,” Larry Golden said.
Sarah Lafferty, co-owner of White’s Market, was the driving force behind the project.
Her family had talked about adding a mural to the building exterior for a decade. After years of discussion, she finally followed through.
Planning was tricky, she said.
Built in 1945, White’s Market is centrally located and highly visible. The mural had to reflect the community and fit the local aesthetic. Lafferty didn’t want to upset the apple cart and create something too bold.
“We needed to dance the line between being modern and being true to the downtown,” she said.
The first person Lafferty consulted was her friend and neighbor Martha Elmes, director of the Lyndon Downtown Revitalization Corporation.
LDRC was responsible for other high-profile murals facing Broad Street in 2018 and on the exterior of the Lyndonville Electric Department in 2019.
Elmes mentioned that former St. Johnsbury Academy art instructor Larry Golden was interested. He had done the LED mural, a sprawling depiction of the four seasons. Lafferty was sold.
“I said ‘Say no more,’” Lafferty recalled. “I love Larry’s work. He has a very specific look. I can see a painting and know it’s a Larry Golden painting.”
During the planning stages, they discussed ideas.
Golden, a Lyndon resident, suggested the mural include an image of Larry Bona, Lafferty’s grandfather and the founder of White’s Market. She nixed that idea.
“It made my heart glow, but my grandfather would have been wildly uncomfortable with that,” she said with a laugh. “He wouldn’t have wanted to be on the side of the building.”
However, she liked the idea of the covered bridges. Both of her grandparents (including grandmother Barbara) were involved in protecting and preserving the bridges, which are sources of local pride.
The town bills itself as the Covered Bridge Capital of the Northeast Kingdom.
The mural will feature the Chamberlin, Miller’s Run, Randall, Sanborn and School House bridges.
“I went to [Larry’s] gallery one day. We were talking about what the mural could be and I kept staring at his covered bridge paintings. And the rest kind of came from Larry,” Lafferty said.
Lafferty, the third generation of her family to serve as president of the Lyndon Area Chamber of Commerce, said the murals are more than beautification. They are signs of life.
“It gives the town a little bit of life, a little boost. It lets people know new things are happening here, that there are people with life and soul and history and personality. The murals are a reflection of that,” she said, adding, “I think it can be good for tourism. People can take pictures and share them with the rest of the world. It’s a way to let people know who we are, and to have a part of our story shared.”
The Goldens will also restore and repair the historic painted Coca-Cola advertisement on the building.
The mural will take between a week and a half to two weeks to complete, weather depending.
Lafferty said she let the Goldens have free reign. She insisted that they keep the design to themselves. She said she wanted to experience it like the rest of the community.
“I wanted to be surprised,” she said. “I’m finding out with everybody else. Every day, I see it coming to life.”
Asked what she thought of it so far, she added, “It’s beautiful.”