Artist helps kick off historic school project

STARKSBORO - It is the quintessential Vermont story: a group of community members coming together to accomplish a difficult task and succeeding through sheer determination and perseverance.

The Friends of the Jerusalem Schoolhouse has launched a capital campaign to restore the historic one-room schoolhouse located near Route 17 in South Starksboro and they expect their efforts will result in a community center that will still be in perfect condition and serving the public's needs 100 years from now

In 2007, a group of local people determined that the building needed extensive renovations to ensure it's future. The Friends of the Jerusalem Schoolhouse was formed, and with the blessing of the town's selectboard, they began to assess the buildings needs and explore avenues for raising funds.

The Preservation Trust of Vermont offered a small grant to procure the services of Jeremiah Parker, a well-known preservationist. They are also working with Jason Barnard Consulting to design a new septic system and with Peter Marsh of the Starksboro selectboard to conduct an energy audit. Other improvements will include re-wiring, updated plumbing and a new furnace. To accomplish all of this, the committee has determined that it needs to raise $100,000-a sizeable sum for a small community. Without delay, they jumped right into fundraising efforts. Last fall they published a cookbook that featured recipes from townspeople that is still selling well for $12 a copy.

As part of the capital campaign kick-off, Starksboro artist Cynthia Kling has created two oil paintings of the schoolhouse - one summer scene and one winter scene. A maximum of 250 raffle tickets, costing $10 each, will be sold and the winner will then choose which of the two paintings he or she would like to have. The other painting will be permanently displayed at the schoolhouse. "Our committee is delighted with Cynthia's generosity in creating these beautiful paintings of the Jerusalem Schoolhouse as part of our fundraising project, " said Nancy Orvis, one of the founding members of the committee.

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