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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

ECHO Seeks Proposals for Outdoor Art Installations

Posted By on Tue, Jun 20, 2017 at 6:26 PM

Attendees at a meeting regarding the RFP for art installations - SADIE WILLIAMS
  • Sadie Williams
  • Attendees at a meeting regarding the RFP for art installations
This morning, about 30 people met at Echo Leahy Center for Lake Champlain for a presentation on the request for proposals issued by the science center and Burlington City Arts earlier this month.

The RFPs are for two public art projects, both individual components of the Energy Commons project. In turn that is part of the much larger ECHO Sustainability Park — one of six Public Investment Action Plan projects (large development or redevelopment projects) announced by Miro Weinberger in 2014. (Another was the Moran Plant redevelopment project.)

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Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Boston Artist Alex Cook Lends Love to Burlington

Posted By on Tue, Jun 13, 2017 at 1:12 PM

Alex Cook in front of his Cherry St. mural. - SADIE WILLIAMS
  • Sadie Williams
  • Alex Cook in front of his Cherry St. mural.
Boston-based artist Alex Cook paints murals with a mission. His "You Are Loved" mural series, which began in New Orleans in 1997, aims to spread a message of positivity and acceptance through simple declarations of appreciation. He's painted over 120 murals bearing that slogan — among others — from Sacramento, Calif. to Natick, Mass. This weekend, Burlington was added to that list, thanks to Cook's new mural on Cherry Street.

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Saturday, June 10, 2017

Burlington City Arts Solicits Artists for Outdoor Fabric Installations

Posted By on Sat, Jun 10, 2017 at 3:07 PM

  • Courtesy of Burlington City Arts
Recently, Burlington City Arts posted a curious request for qualification on its website titled "Saffron Fabric Design and Installation."  The project aims to find an artist, or group of artists, to create an outdoor fabric installation using 18,500 square feet of silk-like synthetic fabric for the annual "Of Land and Local" exhibit. The result will be installed in Burlington's City Hall Park and on the grounds of Shelburne Farms.

BCA has mounted installations in City Hall Park before, but this is "an unusual project," said assistant director Sara Katz. "It isn't necessarily a City Hall Park-specific project — it's about connecting two places. We haven't had one that feels quite this temporal," she noted.

Donor Martha Perkins has made the project possible. The octogenarian Charlotte resident discovered the fabric almost a year ago while volunteering at the Green Mountain Habitat for Humanity 
  • Courtesy of Martha Perkins
  • Martha Perkins
ReStore in Williston.

"They were tablecloths," Perkins explained. "They are different sizes, but huge. I think Vermont Tent Company gave them to ReStore."

Perkins said she fell in love with the fabric as soon as she saw it but didn't know what to do with it. "Then one morning I woke up and said, 'Christo!'"

She was referring to Bulgarian artist Christo, who, with his French wife Jeanne-Claude, designed numerous highly ambitious installations around the world. (Jeanne- Claude died in 2009.) One of their projects consisted of 7,503 panels of saffron-colored fabric placed at intervals over 23 miles of paths New York City's Central Park. After decades of planning, the installation, titled "The Gates," went up on February 12, 2005, and remained on view for 16 days.

Perkins knew the fabric she found could be used for a large art project — if not quite as complex. To get the wheels turning in Burlington, she said, "I took a package of fabric, wrapped it up in a nice white box and left it at the mayor's office. And that got it started."

A mountain of textiles isn't Perkins' only gift to Burlington City Arts. She's also undertaken a fundraising effort with a goal of $20,000. Up to $15,000 of that will be given to the selected artist or artists to pay for time, materials and installation costs. Perkins has already raised $5,000.

  • Courtesy of Burlington City Arts
BCA is accepting portfolios until June 19. These will be reviewed by a panel consisting of artists, community members, BCA curators and Shelburne Farms staff. Katz said those panel members have not yet been selected.

The finalists will be announced on June 26, and their project proposals will be due on July 24. A winner will be chosen on July 31, after which the artist or team will have almost two months to complete the project. It will be installed September 18 to 22.

"Of Land and Local" will open at Shelburne Farms on October 5 and in Burlington on October 20.

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Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Stowe's West Branch Gallery Announces New Owners

Posted By on Tue, Jun 6, 2017 at 1:26 PM

Tari Swenson and Chris Curtis - COURTESY OF WEST BRANCH GALLERY
  • Courtesy of West Branch Gallery
  • Tari Swenson and Chris Curtis
On Tuesday, June 20, the West Branch Gallery will transition to new ownership. The Stowe institution, owned by married artists Tari Swenson and Chris Curtis, represents a number of Vermont artists including sculptor Gordon Auchincloss and artist Duncan Johnson.

While rumors of the sale have been circulating for some time, Curtis and Swenson were able to confirm the transaction  now. The buyers are investors affiliated with Stowe Cider: Christine and Bill Windler, parents of cidery cofounder and chief cider maker Stefan Windler; Betsy Haines and her partner Marc Chretien, the latter a former adviser to the commander general of the U.S. Army.

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Thursday, June 1, 2017

The Backspace Gallery's Last Hurrah

Posted By on Thu, Jun 1, 2017 at 1:03 PM

The entrance to S.P.A.C.E. Gallery in the Soda Plant - PAMELA POLSTON
  • Pamela Polston
  • The entrance to S.P.A.C.E. Gallery in the Soda Plant
After seven years of operation, the Backspace Gallery, which is part of the S.P.A.C.E. Gallery, is closing up shop.

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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Shelburne Craft School and April Cornell Plan Art and Craft Event

Posted By on Wed, May 31, 2017 at 7:00 PM

  • Courtesy of Shelburne Craft School
  • Ceramics by Rik Rolla
A new call to craft artists comes from the unlikely collaboration of the Shelburne Craft School, a nonprofit that teaches traditional art and craft skills, and April Cornell, a Burlington-based clothing designer.

On July 16, the two will host Art on the Water, an outdoor fine arts and crafts event in the parking lot behind April Cornell's retail outlet on Battery Street. It will feature up to 15 juried vendors, live music, art activities and food courtesy of the ArtsRiot food truck.

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Saturday, May 27, 2017

A Lifetime of Quests: Grace Spring Retrospective in Bristol

Posted By on Sat, May 27, 2017 at 8:05 PM

  • Courtesy of Grace Spring & Cassandra Corcoran
  • Grace Spring with sculpture
When artist and activist Grace Spring was in her fifties, she began a one-woman protest vigil: Every Friday for more than 20 years, she would show up in front of the Chinese Embassy in Washington, D.C., bearing a "Free Tibet" sign. Today Spring, now 84,  is the subject of a pop-up retrospective organized by her daughter, Monkton resident Cassandra Corcoran.

For this weekend only, Bristol's WalkOver Gallery is featuring a selection of Spring's artworks, from life-size, hand-painted papier-mâché sculptures to portraits of Tibetans on cotton scroll, to black-and-white photographs of tabletop clay sculptures of mythical beasts and ample allegorical suggestions.
From left: Grace Spring, sculpture by Spring, Cassandra Corcoran - RACHEL JONES
  • Rachel Jones
  • From left: Grace Spring, sculpture by Spring, Cassandra Corcoran
Spring's works are warm and gentle, woven inextricably with artifacts from her longtime engagement with Tibet. These include an album of thank-you notes and drawings from Tibetan children that the artist received in 1989, snapshots of her travels in the region, and "Free Tibet" stickers.

Three of Spring's  human figures appear to be congregating happily by the gallery's window, beneath a colorful Tibetan prayer flag. At one point early Saturday evening, guests huddled around a laptop that was playing video from a visit the Dalai Lama paid to the U.S.  — across the room from Spring's rendering of His Holiness as a puppet.

Sculpture by Grace Spring - RACHEL JONES
  • Rachel Jones
  • Sculpture by Grace Spring
One signature of her mother's life, writes Corcoran, was her "quest for inner peace and the cultivation of her spiritual life." Before Spring "found the Tibetan Buddhist path" in the ’80s, she was a follower of Indian spiritual guide Kirpal Singh, as well as the mystic Gurdjieff.

Spring's preoccupation with spirituality — grace, if you will — emanates strongly from her body of work. Angels appear in multiple forms, from a sculpture of a youthful, almost sly, kneeling angel to a 1992 sketch of a more traditional European angel.

Even works without direct religious references, such as a sculpture of a young boy, embody archetypal, existentially loaded positions. The boy, for example, kneels and examines his upturned palms, suggesting the contemplation of his own human form, as well as the stance of the beggar and the repentant sinner.

One of Spring's most striking sculptures is of
Sculpture by Grace Spring: "I am You and You are Me — There Is No Separation" - RACHEL JONES
  • Rachel Jones
  • Sculpture by Grace Spring: "I am You and You are Me — There Is No Separation"
 herself. It is listed as "Painted  paper mache sculpture of woman standing with mirror: "I am You and You are Me — There Is No Separation." The figure is a young woman holding a mirror outstretched in her right hand. As if enacting a mudra, her left hand is extended with the palm up. The "mirror" she holds has no glass; the barrier has been removed, or was never there.

Affecting in its intimacy, this show celebrates the slow, soft and unwavering contemplation of finding one's place,  not only in relation to others but to oneself, to the cosmos and to the here and now.

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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

A Fond Farewell to Artists John Brickels & Wendy James

Posted By on Tue, May 23, 2017 at 2:08 PM

  • Courtesy of Frog Hollow Vermont State Craft Center
  • Wendy James and John Brickels
In 1986, sculptor John Brickels was juried into Frog Hollow Vermont State Craft Center. His wife, artist and Essex High School art teacher Wendy James, began to show her work at the gallery in 2011. Now, after decades of working within and supporting the Vermont arts community, the couple have announced they will be moving to Massachusetts in June, following James' retirement from her teaching career.

To bid the pair bon voyage and honor their contributions to the state,  Frog Hollow will mount the exhibition "Here to There," opening Thursday, June 1, with a reception from 5 to 8 p.m. The show will include an array of works spanning the artists' careers, including Brickels' celebrated architectural clay sculpture and later steampunk-themed pieces, and a selection of James' paintings and photomontages.

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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

'The Andrews' Join Staff at Burlington City Arts

Posted By on Tue, May 16, 2017 at 6:07 PM

Andrew Krebbs and Andrew DesForges - BURLINGTON CITY ARTS
  • Burlington City Arts
  • Andrew Krebbs and Andrew DesForges
On Monday, Burlington City Arts announced the newest additions to its administrative team, art director Andrew DesForges and communication director Andrew Krebbs.

Krebbs fills the position left by the departure of communication director Llu Mulvaney-Stanak in March this year. Mulvaney-Stanak held the post for just 10 months before leaving to become the interim executive director of Outright Vermont; longtime director Eric Ford left it in 2016 for a position as senior manager of local programming at Vermont PBS.

BCA's previous art director was Ted Olson, who worked at the organization from 2010 to 2015. He left BCA in 2015 to start his own branding firm, Tally Ho Design, but continued to freelance for BCA, as did Bobby Hackney Jr.

DesForges, 32, is originally from Killington. He spent 10 years away in cities across the country, earning his MFA from the University of Iowa. DesForges returned to Vermont last year to be closer to his family. He has been working as a designer for A&S Brewing, as well as on freelance projects. Local music lovers will have seen DesForges' work on posters for the band Madaila.

Krebbs, 35, is originally from Indiana but spent the last 12 years in Birmingham, Ala. There he was the marketing director for the 67.5-acre Birmingham Botanical Gardens, a popular tourist destination. Krebbs moved to Vermont last November with his partner, Jason Garvey, who took a faculty position at the University of Vermont.

Part of his job, Krebbs said, is to make the BCA customer experience better. "We want to make it really easy to take classes, really easy for you to join or donate, to volunteer," he noted.

Krebbs added that he and his partner were drawn to Vermont because "the quality of life is just so amazing here. And BCA fits right into that."

For his part, DesForges said that his role is to visualize and convey to the public what the organization is all about. "A lot of people I talk to don't know all that BCA offers," he said. "We're either just a clay studio or a gallery [to them], but we have so much more going on."

Outside of work, DesForges said he enjoys skateboarding, snowboarding, the fine arts and live music. His most recent discovery was the local band Iron Eyes Cody.

Krebbs said he's excited for his first full summer in Vermont. He said he enjoys being outdoors and spending time with his three dogs.

Being one of two Andrews is confusing for both new hires, who sit right next to each other in BCA's third-floor offices. DesForges suggested Top Gun-themed nicknames: "Goose" for him and "Maverick" for Krebbs. Whether or not the names stick, it seems that BCA has found its wingmen.

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Monday, May 15, 2017

Montpelier Alive Issues Call to Parade Artists

Posted By on Mon, May 15, 2017 at 9:13 AM

Montpelier July Third Parade - ROB SPRING
  • Rob Spring
  • Montpelier July Third Parade
Spring has barely sprung, but capital city nonprofit Montpelier Alive is already thinking about July. The third of July, specifically, and the patriotic celebrations that accompany that day.

Last Thursday, Montpelier Alive announced a new addition to the day's lineup of events: a parade competition with a hefty check for two winners. Officially titled the Union Mutual July 3rd Parade Competition, the event invites individuals and organizations to create patriotic floats, costumes, decorations and banners.

There's only one catch — they have to showcase "green initiatives." Organizers hope participants will use reclaimed and repurposed items, as well as objects that can be recycled post-parade.

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