Local Artists Bring Watermen’s Heritage To A Pair of Boots Near You
The Kilmarnock Inn is located just off Main Street in the Town of Kilmarnock. The street is lined with restaurants, antique shops, artist studios and more. The quaint bed and breakfast has a practice putting green, a garden guests can harvest from, a spacious deck for relaxing and eight guest cottages, each named for a Virginia-born president.
The next time you visit, you’ll notice a new addition to the inn’s list of attraction: a pair of boots that stand 3 feet tall and 4 feet wide. They’re brightly designed with a patriotic design by local artist, Diana Jamison. Jamison is an active member of the Rappahannock Art League and as a member of the Northern Neck Artisan Trail, her home studio is open to the public by appointment.
Diana is one of 15 artists who participated in the Watermen’s Way white boots community art project. The boots will be one of 15 pairs placed at restaurants, art galleries, and favorite spots around the area beginning July 1. Each pair of boots are personalized by a local artist, drawing from themes that reflect the lives of the people who not only wear the boots, but people who call the area home.
“Our art project marries the creative aspect of local artists along with a local\regional iconic image,” said Susan Cockrell, Kilmarnock Deputy Town Manager and one of the partners responsible for creating and managing Watermen’s Way.
Rubber white boots are worn by watermen throughout the Chesapeake Bay region and by seafood workers across the country as they work the water, harvesting oysters, crabs, and fish from the Bay, rivers, and creeks.
During your next foodie adventure in Virginia’s River Realm, take time to visit the artistic boots. As you visit, share photos of yourself stepping into the boots and mention the Watermen’s Way Facebook page, tag Watermen’s Way on Instagram and use the hashtags #watermensway #getyourbootson and #boots!
Plan your visit to Virginia’s River Realm and see them all:
- Kilmarock Inn (34 E Church St, Kilmarnock, VA 22482): “Freedom” by Diana Jamison, sponsored by the Kilmarnock Inn.
- RAL Art Center (19 North Main Street, Kilmarnock, VA 22482) “Diatoms” by Jan Dobrowloski, Nadine Flood and Kay Vincent, sponsored by the RAL Art Center.
- Steamboat Era Museum (156 King Carter Drive, Irvington, Virginia 22480): “Wading Around” by Patty Richards, sponsored by the Steamboat Era Museum.
- Burkes Fine Jewelers (86 S Main St, Kilmarnock, VA 22482): “Bejeweled” by Sukey Starkey, sponsored by Burke’s Fine Jewelers.
- Town Centre Park (150 N. Main Street, Kilmarnock, VA): “River Critters” by Jean Oufitt Lewis, sponsored by the Town of Kilmarnock.
- Lancaster Community Library (16 Town Centre Dr, Kilmarnock, VA 22482): “Technicolor Fishboots” by Tommy Fox, sponsored by Lancaster by the Bay Chamber of Commerce and Lancaster Community Library.
- Chesapeake Bank (97 N Main Street, Kilmarnock, VA 22482): “It’s All About Community” by Wende Szyperski, sponsored by the Chesapeake Bank.
- Noblett’s (17 N Main St, Kilmarnock, VA 22482): “ Step Into the Bay” by Agnes Carter, sponsored by Noblett’s Appliance and Propane.
- Virginia Commonwealth Bank (Check the bank’s Facebook for current location): The “The Bay’s Bounty” by Marilyn Sprouse and Lancaster County Middle School Art Students.
- Front Porch Coffeehouse & Gathering Place (139 S Main St, Kilmarnock, VA 22482): “Fish Lips” by Terri Wesselman, sponsored by Front Porch Coffeehouse & Gathering Place.
- Objects, Art and More (4462 Irvington Rd, Irvington, VA 22480): “Crabber’s Paradise” by David Witbeck, sponsored by Objects, Art and More.
- The Tides Inn (480 King Carter Drive Irvington VA 22480): “Oyster Paisley” by Mary Jo Beswick, sponsored by the Tides Inn.
- Town Marina at Upton’s Point (210 Oyster Road, Urbanna, VA 23175): “Urbanna Waterman” by Wanda Hollberg, sponsored by the Town of Urbanna.
- J & W Seafood (16552 General Puller Highway, Deltaville, VA 23043): “In the Wake by Angela Dawson, sponsored by J & W Seafood.
- Deltaville Maritime Museum (287 Jackson Creek Rd, Deltaville, VA 23043): Plain white boots dedicated to the Watermen of Middlesex County, sponsored by Stingray Point Marina.
The idea for the project was inspired by a trip to the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, MD by Barb Brecher, Executive Director of the Steamboat Era Museum. She saw a pair of the boots on display and reached out to Jan Dobrowolski, a local jewelry artist. Many cities have similar collaborative art projects such as Chicago’s cows, Norfolk’s mermaids and Richmond’s dogs.
“We want to show appreciation for where our seafood comes from and how these watermen risk themselves to bring it to our tables here and throughout the country,” Cockrell said.
Virginia’s River Realm kicked off the concept in November 2016 with Virginia’s First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe standing in a blank pair of boots, which would become canvases for one of many artists. The fiberglass boots were manufactured this spring and distributed to artists in May. They’ve each had about a month to complete their concepts and have the boots sealed and mounted for display. Larger-than-life fiberglass sculptures of watermen’s white boots will soon be displayed throughout the Northern Neck and Middle Penninsula. Boots will be on display until August 2018.