Jill Badolato is determined to fuse her work with the local arts community with her role as director of social responsibility for Dealer.com in Burlington.
She is also a huge proponent of public art and this made for a creative solution to an urgent need at the Boys And Girls Club of Burlington.
The club's van, which transports members on field trips and takes them to tutoring, as well as provides a safe ride home in the evenings, had broken down. Upon learning of the need, Badolato knew she could offer Dealer.com's help by way of a grant to donate a vehicle.
The Boys And Girls Club of Burlington serves youth from Burlington and Winooski in their out-of-school hours. It's a safe place with mentors and opportunities for young people.
Badolato, who has been with Dealer.com for 11-and-a-half years, is no stranger to involving the local arts community in these "fused grants," as she calls them. She was instrumental in Dealer.com's donation of a vehicle for the food truck, Fork In The Road, which serves concessions and teaches culinary and job skills to Burlington teens, among other similar grants that also involved the work of local artists.
By enlisting the help of Waterbury mural artist Sarah-Lee Terrat, Badolato says she knew she was checking off several boxes to help local communities. "We pay artists a living wage to do the work, the Boys And Girls Club gets something really unique and distinct that they can be proud of and their kids can be proud of as they're driving around in it," Badolato says.
Several other Dealer.com employees used their paid volunteer hours as part of the company-wide initiative to give time and resources back to the community. Employees helped locate a vehicle for purchase and will assist with the prep work needed for Terrat to paint directly on the van.
Terrat met recently with club members to brainstorm mural ideas. "It not only gave me content that they can have ownership ... and we're going to fuse several ideas together."
The group came to an agreement when someone mentioned painting the van with the symbol of an eagle. During the meeting, Badolato looked up the eagle's significance and found it was in-line with the goals and themes the club reinforces in its mission with members. "It was a gelling moment in a creative process," Terrat says.
Terrat is also a huge fan of public art. Earlier this year, she painted a giant, colorful fish on a recycling container from the Chittenden Solid Waste District as part of a project with 10 other local artists.
“Dealer.com is truly exceptional. At the most fundamental level, the van that they have purchased for us allows us to safely transport our members to and from important places," says Tanya Benosky, the director of development and communications at the Burlington Boys and Girls Club. "But to bring in an artist to work with our kids to develop a meaningful design for the outside of the van that will turn our van in to an 'art car' is really going the distance to make this a special project for our whole community. We are grateful beyond words.”
Burlington Department of Public Works donated space at its paint booth so Terrat and her team can paint the mural on the van and when the painted eagle emblem is finished, the vehicle will be publicly unveiled during Art HOP festivities in the Dealer.com parking lot in September.