West Bolton Residents Try to Save Wheeler Field With 'Semi-Neked' Calendar | Visual Art | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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West Bolton Residents Try to Save Wheeler Field With 'Semi-Neked' Calendar

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Tina Bucklin on the February page of  "Our Semi-Neked Friends of Wheeler Field 2021 Calendar" - COURTESY OF JEN DUDLEY-GAILLARD
  • Courtesy Of Jen Dudley-gaillard
  • Tina Bucklin on the February page of "Our Semi-Neked Friends of Wheeler Field 2021 Calendar"

It's not quite "The Men of Maple Corner" calendar — the famous fundraising venture that showcased some coyly nude Calais fellas and raised hundreds of thousands of dollars back in the early aughts. But "Our Semi-Neked Friends of Wheeler Field 2021 Calendar" took its inspiration from that national sensation, Jen Dudley-Gaillard readily admitted. The West Bolton resident photographed intrepid — if more modest — townspeople for 11 of the months in the new calendar. For the 12th, her husband, Rob Ricketson, captured her partially concealed behind garments on a clothesline.

The calendar was created to generate funds for the Friends of Wheeler Field in West Bolton, a hamlet of Bolton whose name recognition for most locals might come from the nearby golf course.

West Bolton doesn't have a post office, a church or even a general store. But it does have a popular recreation field named for longtime residents. The property serves as a veritable town green, used for everything from ball games to bake sales, Dudley-Gaillard said. The "Friends" would like to buy it.

Jeff Brown, a descendant of the Wheelers, owns the field, as well as the West Bolton Golf Club. According to Dudley-Gaillard, Brown supports the Friends' effort to purchase the two-parcel property. So does Chuck Reiss, founder of Reiss Building & Renovation of Richmond, who is currently building net-zero homes on adjacent land also called Wheeler Field. If the Friends can't raise sufficient funding to purchase their target property by December 2021, he's likely to buy it and build more homes there.

It may seem unusual for a developer to root for a small nonprofit that is effectively a competitor, but Dudley-Gaillard said both Brown and Reiss "would love to see the space maintained as a community [property]." That vow is reiterated on the project website Vermont Building Resources, which describes Reiss' sustainable-housing mission.

The Friends have a year to raise $125,000 for one parcel; the other will probably be assessed at the same amount, Dudley-Gaillard said. Meantime, the group hopes a lot of people buy the "semi-neked" calendar — for $20 plus $5 shipping — as one more step toward their goal. "We've sold 115 [calendars] as of last night," Dudley-Gaillard said on Monday.

Pick up a calendar at the Jericho Center Country Store or email jendudleygaillard@gmail.com. Learn more about Friends of Wheeler Field at wheelerfield.org.

The original print version of this article was headlined "Field of Dreams"