Artists turn discarded doors into art in Beloit outdoor installation

"Blooms," by Scott T.A. Saporiti (Photo by Jeremy Oster)
“Blooms,” by Scott T.A. Saporiti (Photo by Jeremy Oster)

Staff Report

BELOIT, Wis. — When the historic Beloit Inn was remodeled this past year to become the new Ironworks Hotel, dozens of vintage metal doors were replaced and left without homes. That’s when Visit Beloit and Friends of Riverfront had an idea to bring the doors to life again.

Visit Beloit recruited more than 50 artists from across the stateline, ranging from Ingrid Dohm, an award-winning artist, to Scott Saporiti, a Rockford dad who just returned to painting after a decade away, to a local elementary school class, to repurpose 46 discarded doors into original works of art.

Countless hours of painting, 460 bolts, 368 screws, a caravan of moving trucks, four tubes of liquid nails, and a structural engineering firm later, the doors are now 46 separate pieces of art in a one-of-a-kind outdoor art installation that are on display in various locations throughout Beloit and South Beloit through Aug. 31. Most doors are within walking distance of Gantry Park, at State Street and Grand Avenue in Beloit, Wis.

The doors were gradually installed during the past three weeks, but the outdoor art installation, titled “Come and Knock On Our Doors,” opened June 20. The “Come and Knock On Our Doors” outdoor art museum is a spin-off of the popular 1970’s sitcom Three’s Company theme song, and is part of Beloit’s summer tourism campaign to bring visitors to the city. The installation is just the latest addition to a community already rich in cultural arts.

Details on the art installation, including a map of the door locations, artist bios, and social media interactive contests are available at, Visit Beloit’s office, 500 Public Ave., Beloit, Wis., and at various locations throughout the city. The brochure map will also be distributed during “Fridays in the Park,” at the open-air farmers’ market every Saturday in downtown Beloit, and at Music and More at Harry’s Place, Beloit’s Friday evening summer concert series on the Rock River.

For visitors making the trip to see the doors, it might be worth their while to participate in the #visitbeloitdoors Instagram contest. With more than 5,000 visitors to Gantry Park each week and prize incentives to participate, Beloit expects their doors to be trending on the popular photo-sharing social network.

Kerry Ingredients, the Stateline Community Foundation and dozens of other local organizations sponsored the summer Door Campaign. The doors will be put up for auction in September to benefit the Angel Museum.

From the June 25-July 1, 2014, issue

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