In February 2015, then-governor Peter Shumlin declared February 12 — the birth date of Abraham Lincoln — as Black Lives Matter Day in Vermont. In the two years since, Black Lives Matter has, as a loose racial justice network, grown in visibility nationally as well as in Vermont. Today, Black Lives Matter VT kicked off a four-day spree of events, beginning with this morning's Black Caucus breakfast at the Statehouse. It included the unveiling of a photography exhibition, titled "I Am Vermont, Too," in the capitol's cafeteria.
Visitors place notes on the "Wall of Love" at Frog Hollow
On Friday night, Frog Hollow Vermont Craft Gallery in Burlington hosted an opening for its monthlong "Wall of Love" show. Conceived by gallery manager Meredith Mann, it bears a striking resemblance to the Post-it Notes piece titled "Subway Therapy" by New York artist Matthew "Levee" Chavez. That installation provided people with a chance to share their post-election feelings in public, at the 14th Street/6th Avenue station in Manhattan.
Frog Hollow director Rob Hunter shied away from the comparison. "I'm sure Chavez' work was rattling around in our subconscious when we conceived the show, but [that exhibit] was not specifically mentioned by anyone [here]," he explained. "The main goal was bringing people together out of their homes in the cold months."
S.P.A.C.E. Gallery's Spaceman mural by Adam Devarney
The Thursday before the inauguration, Burlington artist Devin Wilder needed a space to screen-print some patches for the Women's March on Washington. She ended up making her run in Burlington's South End Backspace Gallery, a part of Christy Mitchell's longstanding S.P.A.C.E. Gallery.
The gallery and studio collective — whose acronym stands for Supportive Places for Artists and the Creative Economy — seems to be living up to its name. On January 20, Mitchell launched the fluid community art experiment "100 Days of Space for Creativity" in response to the threat posed to the arts and freedom of expression by the Donald Trump administration, based in part on reports of the intended elimination of the National Endowment for the Arts.
In mid-November last year, Pennsylvania-born artist Athena Petra Tasiopoulos took up residence at Barre nonprofit art center and gallery Studio Place Arts. Many of the works created during the first weeks of her 10-month tenure have already made their debut — at Vermont Metro Gallery's exhibition "The Past Present," which opened on Friday, January 20. The show features Tasiopoulos' distinct graphic collages alongside the expansive silhouette paper-cut works of Molly Bosley.
Last Friday night, Burlington's BCA Center was packed for the collective reception of three new exhibitions by area artists, and to witness the passing of a figurative torch — the annual Barbara Smail Award for mid-career artists.
The 2016 winner, Wylie Sofia Garcia, wrapped up her tenure with a display of new work in a second-floor gallery. In a welcome talk Friday evening, BCA curator Heather Ferrell announced that Elise Whittemore, a printmaker from Colchester, had won the honor this year.
In a later email to Seven Days, Ferrell said that Whittemore was chosen because of her "important contributions to the vibrancy and excellence of Vermont's art community." Among other endeavors, Whittemore was a member of the now-defunct cooperative gallery 215 College in Burlington.
Burlington seems to have a cosmic connection to counterculture author Richard Brautigan, known for his 1967 novella Trout Fishing in America, among other titles. On Sunday night at Radio Bean in Burlington, a small group of local artists and fans got together to celebrate the spirit of the writer's work with the Richard Brautigan Group Art Show.
The event, which riffed on a fictional library in Brautigan's 1971 book The Abortion: An Historical Romance 1966, invited attendees to bring a piece of original artwork to hang on the walls of the small coffee-shop-cum-concert-space. Artists Sarah Letteney, 32, and James Bellizia, 40, organized the event/exhibit and said the works will be on display for a month.
Saturday afternoon in Burlington, Winooski resident Lindsay London shouted through a megaphone at the top of Church Street: "'Hysteria' comes from the Latin word for 'wandering uterus'!"
London was met with cheers, jeers, moans and wails from a group of approximately 20 people, assembled for a "Public Panic Attack" in response to the impending inauguration of president-elect Donald Trump. "Because sometimes the only reasonable response is to PANIC!!!!!!" declared the group's Facebook event.
Burlington's Generator has completed the move from its former home in Memorial Auditorium to new digs on Sears Lane in the city's South End. The move was financed by a $300,000 fundraising campaign. Leased from Champlain College, the new Generator includes some notable changes.
One of them, explained director Lars Hasselblad Torres, is a new key card system installed by John Yasaitis, a former Generator member and a cofounder of the Alternator lab on Pine Street. The system allows studio members to access the studio any time of day or night.
Generator's educator-in-residence program is also new. The maker space is offering a Vermont educator two months of free studio time and a $500 monthly stipend. The goal, said Torres, is to provide the teacher with the time, and physical and intellectual resources, to develop a new curriculum.
Kochalka is known for his adorable, emotive comics such as American Elf and Johnny Boo — and for being Vermont's first comic laureate. (His successor, Edward Koren, now holds that title.) He's also the front man for band James Kochalka Superstar, with fans around the world.
Generally, Taylor's episodes — which run about 10 minutes long — focus on tech-centric businesses such as Marguerite Dibble's Game Theory or Richmond-based robotics company Greensea Systems. For his segment, however, Kochalka focused less on the tools usually associated with innovation and more on its source.