From the early 19th century, skilled workers were recruited from Canada and Europe to meet market demand for marble to build a new nation. The Green Mountains were at the heart of the thriving stone industry. Vermont marble was shipped around the country and world for buildings, monuments and sculpture. Many employment opportunities existed for quarrying, fabricating and carving stone, as well as in related supportive infrastructure. By 1900, the Vermont Marble Company, headquartered in the Rutland Region, owned and operated most of the quarries in the U.S. The Carving Studio & Sculpture Center's main building in West Rutland was originally built in 1855, and functioned as the Company Store for the Vermont Marble Company. Most of the 3,000 workers would buy their family goods there, which were then recorded in a ledger against their earnings.
In 1987, the Carving Studio & Sculpture Center (CSSC) was founded by B. Amore, a sculptor then based in Boston. Initially comprising two three-week summer workshops, the program, based at the Vermont Marble Company's Proctor headquarters, was inspired by the sculpture studios in Carrara, Italy. The environment created by artisans working alongside beginning and professional sculptors inspired all participants.
CSSC moved to West Rutland in 1989 at the invitation of the late Stanley Gawet, who owned the property. Students and supporters renovated the former Company Store building, and program expansion soon followed. CSSC purchased its main
building and wood shop, with 5.5 acres of land, in January 2002. The goal of year-round programming is nearing reality with the acquisition, in 2009, of a third building, the former Vermont Marble Company Coping Shop, now renovated to house the metal shop, gallery and studio/classroom space.
Today, CSSC continues to offer unique sculpture and art education programs in a wide variety of media, and residencies and exhibition opportunities to established and emerging artists. Outreach to our regional and local community includes Public Art
initiatives and Youth Programming.
For over 35 years, sculptors, students and connoisseurs have traveled to West Rutland to draw inspiration from the native marble and the creative spirit that lingers from the once-global industry that thrived here.