Shaker Washhouse Mural by Phoebe Rotter
In collaboration with Shaker Heritage Society and artist Phoebe Rotter, this mural is located at the 1858 Shaker Washhouse at the Church Family Shaker Site. The Washhouse was the laundry facility for as many as 300 Shakers at the peak of the Watervliet Community. Reflecting the Shaker spirit of innovation, the building was equipped with mechanical washing machines in the 19th century. Designed and created by emerging local artist Phoebe Rotter, these murals draw inspiration from the Shakers’ commitment to equality, communalism, and the pursuit of perfection, particularly as expressed through the labor of Shaker women.
Words from artist Phoebe Rotter: "It is such an honor to create this work. The opportunity to research aspects of Shaker innovation, including access to the library at the Shaker Heritage Society, greatly enriched my approach to this project. My hope is to bridge the careful, effortful precision of Shaker craft with my own contemporary practice, which centers meticulous hand-drawn installation. My hands show up in the work in both process and product, painted alongside the hands of Shaker women who labored at the Watervliet Washhouse. It’s a privilege to make work of this scale and at this location, particularly because it can be seen and accessed by the public. This mural occupies a space between nature and a built environment, borrowing images from each. I’m deeply grateful to the Shaker Heritage Society and Albany Center Gallery for their trust, time, and expertise."
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