Poet and ‘trailblazer’ Julia Dorr latest addition to Rutland Sculpture Trail

Published: Oct. 6, 2021 at 5:22 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 7, 2021 at 6:01 AM EDT
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RUTLAND, Vt. (WCAX) - Women are empowering each other in Rutland through a memorial to a turn of the century Vermont poet, the latest installation to the city’s sculpture trail.

“The project was funded by three strong women in the community -- since Julia Dorr was also a strong woman in the community,” said Joan Gamble, one of three women who funded the latest edition to the Rutland Sculpture Trail.

Julia Dorr was a turn of the century poet, a contemporary of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Ralph Waldo Emerson. She was also a travel writer at a time when it was almost unheard of for women. “She was a giant in our community, founder of the library and many other projects in the community,” said Mary Moran, another financial backer who has also had an outsize role serving the community on multiple boards and as school superintendent for over two decades. “Julia Dorr is such a role model for everyone -- says for young women, but also for young men.”

Dorr is the ninth sculpture added to the trail.

The statue’s designer is Amanda Sisk, another woman who says she took inspiration from Dorr’s writing. “I went to the core of who I thought she was as a person to select the actual poem, which is called ‘Over the Wall,’ in which a young girl goes out into the Vermont woods and exists in total harmony with the plants and animals,” Sisk said.

Marble carvers Evan Morse and Taylor Apostol say at a time when statues are being torn down because of their racist history, it’s important to remember people like Dorr and to continue to include women. “It’s fantastic. I hope it happens more and more, not just on the Rutland Sculpture Trail, but with public art in general,” Apostol.

Gamble calls Dorr a trailblazer. She says that like Dorr, she also has first-hand experience breaking into the “man’s world” after working over 40 years as an executive in the electric utility industry. “It’s sad that trailblazing still needs to occur for women, but it’s good that there is still trailblazing for women, by women,” Gamble said.

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