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Thursday, July 19, 2018

Against the Wall: April Cornell Gets a Makeover

Posted By on Thu, Jul 19, 2018 at 3:46 PM

April Cornell (left) and Ginny Joyner - SADIE WILLIAMS
  • Sadie Williams
  • April Cornell (left) and Ginny Joyner
An already polychromatic building near the bottom of Main Street in Burlington is becoming much more colorful. Previously painted pastel yellow and pink, the  April Cornell headquarters now sports more than 20 different colors. Depictions of flowers, cats and butterflies adorn the walls. Even the fire escape flaunts radiant multicolored steps.

The new look is prompted in part by a re-branding effort: The 43-year-old company just redesigned its logo. The "retro logo," as the eponymous owner calls the original, still appears on the back of the building. The new one is painted on the front. Cornell says painting the new logo on the squat, blocky building induced her to ask, "How do you take something industrial and make it joyful?" The solution: more color.

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Friday, June 22, 2018

Historic Vermont Silhouette Travels to Washington, D.C.

Posted By on Fri, Jun 22, 2018 at 12:07 PM

Silhouettes of Sylvia Drake and Charity Bryant, circa 1805–15 - COURTESY OF THE HENRY SHELDON MUSEUM OF VERMONT HISTORY
  • Courtesy of the Henry Sheldon Museum of Vermont History
  • Silhouettes of Sylvia Drake and Charity Bryant, circa 1805–15

Vermont’s pioneering fight to legalize civil unions in 2000 cemented the state’s place amidst the landscape of American queer and civil rights history. Within just the past several years, the Green Mountain State has emerged as home to another gay cultural landmark: a handmade silhouette considered to be the earliest image of a same-sex couple.

The small, intimate portrait of Charity Bryant and Sylvia Drake, which dates to the early 1800s, is now on view in “Black Out: Silhouettes Then and Now” at the Smithsonian Institute's National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.

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Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Bread and Puppet Founder Peter Schumann Wins Lockwood Prize

Posted By on Tue, Jun 19, 2018 at 7:00 PM

Peter Schumann - MASSIMO SCHUSTER
  • Massimo Schuster
  • Peter Schumann
The fifth annual Herb Lockwood Prize in the Arts has gone to Peter Schumann, visionary artist/activist and founder of beloved Glover-based Bread and Puppet Theater. He was presented with the $10,000 award — the largest arts prize in Vermont — in a small ceremony Tuesday afternoon at the BCA Center.

The aim of the Lockwood Prize is to "reward the pinnacle of arts leadership in Vermont by honoring the state's most influential artists," according to Todd R. Lockwood. He created the award in 2014 and named it for his younger brother, Herb, an artist and musician who died in a workplace accident in 1987 at age 27.

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Friday, June 8, 2018

Artist Elliott Katz Is New Shop Manager at Burlington's Generator

Posted By on Fri, Jun 8, 2018 at 3:24 PM

Elliott Katz - COURTESY OF GENERATOR
  • Courtesy of Generator
  • Elliott Katz
On Thursday afternoon, Generator announced the newest addition to its team:  Elliott Katz, who will be the new shop operations manager. Katz is an artist who previously worked as an adjunct professor and sculpture technician at the University of Hartford and managed the Seven Below Arts Initiative residency — a collaboration between Phish's Trey Anastasio and Burlington City Arts that ended last year. 

That gig also brought Katz into contact with then-BCA curator and current Generator director Christopher Thompson. Additionally, Thompson included Katz in the BCA show "Human = Landscape" in 2009. Thompson was the chief curator at BCA from 2008 to 2012, and joined Generator in August last year.

In a recent phone interview, Katz said he's excited to get started in the Generator shop facilities, which currently include basic wood and metalworking.

"Everything needs a deep reordering and cleaning," he said. After that, he plans to build out the forge and add a foundry — a facility for melting and shaping metal.

His primary responsibility will be "to do whatever people want," Katz said.

"[Education director Sarah Sprague] and Chris have very clear visions of what the community is hungry for, and I think I'll just implement their goals," Katz said. Essentially, makers gonna make — but they need the stuff to make with. So Katz will make that. 

Katz said that what he learned at Hartford will likely prove useful at Generator. "We had a foundry, a glass-blowing studio that was new to me," he said. "I love that material — it's so immediate."

Whether or not Generator expands into glass, some of Katz's new colleagues —contemporary artists and fabricators — may very well come to visit. He hinted that Colin McMullen, who built a mobile sugar shack and conducted sugaring demonstrations in a low-income area of Hartford, could be one of them.

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Friday, June 1, 2018

Artist Erika Senft Miller Launches New Website With Installation in Maglianero Vault

Posted By on Fri, Jun 1, 2018 at 12:12 PM

Image of "Output/Input" by Erika Senft Miller and Alder. - DANIEL CARDON
  • Daniel Cardon
  • Image of "Output/Input" by Erika Senft Miller and Alder.
Anyone who frequents Burlington's  Maglianero will be familiar with the hip downtown café's funky vault-cum-reading nook. Normally, the old metal vault houses shelves of books — which are all for sale and curated by Speaking Volumes — as well as two rough-hewn tree trunk stools and a table and chairs.

But last week, the space transformed into an unusual art installation. Now the vault boasts a fragrant carpet of slowly decaying (and alternately, sprouting) sod, barren white walls, and two interactive features. The installation, titled "Output/Input," is also the launch of artist Erika Senft Miller's new website, which is a collaboration of Miller and  Alder, the design outfit of Jasmine Parsia and Chris Norris. All three work out of the Karma Bird House office and coworking spaces upstairs from Maglianero.

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Saturday, May 26, 2018

Against the Wall: A New Mirror Mural Reflects Artists' Alley on Pine Street

Posted By on Sat, May 26, 2018 at 8:00 AM

Aaron Grossman with mirror mural-in-progress - SADIE WILLIAMS
  • Sadie Williams
  • Aaron Grossman with mirror mural-in-progress
Anyone driving or walking behind Speeder & Earl's Coffee and the SEABA Center, through the warren of studios off Pine Street, might be in for a surprise. A large brick building that once looked like, well, a large brick building, now reflects the sky. The tricky mural is the work of metalsmith and glass artist Aaron Grossman, whose studio is behind a  black door in the shiny façade.

Grossman started the piece about three weeks ago. He says he was inspired by the ivy that once covered the building; it was removed a year ago because it was damaging the brick.

Grossman's mural uses the remaining dead vines as a guide for arching and bending "branches" that creep across the brick wall. The mirror tree echoes the graceful lines of the ivy but, instead of being dark green, it reflects the white brick of the opposing building and the sky. The cumulative effect makes the building almost disappear.

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Friday, May 25, 2018

Abenaki Nation Partners With City of Burlington

Posted By on Fri, May 25, 2018 at 1:10 PM

Items given to State of Vermont in 2011: soapstone pipe, fur tobacco pouch, peace wampum belt - CHIEF DON STEVENS
  • Chief Don Stevens
  • Items given to State of Vermont in 2011: soapstone pipe, fur tobacco pouch, peace wampum belt
In early May, Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger's office announced a new partnership with the Vermont Abenaki Alliance. The collaboration grew out of controversial discussions over the "Everyone Loves a Parade!" mural on Church Street, which not everyone loves.

(If you haven't been keeping up: Calling the artwork racist, Albert Petrarca vandalized the mural's identification plaque in October 2017. Since then, community members and City Council representatives have been debating whether to replace or alter the mural to depict a more accurate history of Burlington.)

The focus of the City and Abenaki Alliance collaboration will be public events and education about native people and history. The release notes a July 7 event on Church Street and, in the future, a permanent exhibition at the Burlington International Airport.

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Thursday, May 17, 2018

AO Glass Expands on Pine Street

Posted By on Thu, May 17, 2018 at 2:08 PM

The AO Glass staff poses in co-founder Tove Ohlander's maker skirts. - SADIE WILLIAMS
  • Sadie Williams
  • The AO Glass staff poses in co-founder Tove Ohlander's maker skirts.
Since 2011, AO Glass has operated out of a tiny studio in a complex of warehouse-cum-artist spaces on Pine Street in Burlington. But recently, founders Tove Ohlander and Rich Arentzen found that they didn't have enough room to keep growing. The high-end glass manufactory's production has tripled in the last four years, and projects to double in the next two. So Ohlander and Arentzen expanded their shop further into — and out of — the warehouse behind their studio.

Now, AO Glass occupies a 10,000-square-foot space with double the kiln capacity. Multiple garage doors open out into the parking lot and alley behind ArtsRiot. This Friday, May 18, that typically lightly trafficked pavement will swell with visitors to the first ArtsRiot Truck Stop of 2018. Piggybacking on the popular weekly foodie event, AO Glass will unveil its new digs with a coinciding  open house.

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Monday, May 14, 2018

A New Ceramics Studio Takes Shape in Burlington's South End

Posted By on Mon, May 14, 2018 at 5:41 PM

Brielle and Mitch Rovito - PHOTO: BEAR CIERI
  • Photo: Bear Cieri
  • Brielle and Mitch Rovito
It’s said that, if you can’t find what you’re looking for, you should make it yourself. Ceramicist Brielle Rovito seems to have taken that philosophy to heart.

A year ago, Rovito got married and moved to Burlington from Minneapolis, Minn., to be closer to family. Leaving a ceramics-focused shared studio, she was hoping to find something similar in her new home, but didn’t. So she started the Form Collective, which now hosts three ceramicists in a cozy second-floor studio at 180 Flynn Avenue.

On Tuesday, May 22, 5-9 p.m., Rovito will host an open house with her studio mates, Taylar Main and Lindsay Van Leir, who moved in over the winter.

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Tuesday, May 8, 2018

A Fourth of Nature for Shelburne, With Muppets

Posted By on Tue, May 8, 2018 at 4:57 PM

A fallen tree at Shelburne Museum - COURTESY OF SHELBURNE MUSEUM
  • Courtesy of Shelburne Museum
  • A fallen tree at Shelburne Museum
Anybody out there watching "Twin Peaks: The Return?" (It's OK, I'm still working through it, too.) Or maybe you remember that one meteorologically unsettling scene from Magnolia? How about Donnie Darko's plasmatic time-travel portal? Thanks to last Friday's not-actually-a-tornado — it was a "microburst," according to the National Weather Service — a Shelburne Museum presentation on "Sesame Street" took a turn for the absurd, Lynchian and vaguely apocalyptic.

And now this arts writer gets to experientially report on the weather, among other occurrences.

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