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Friday, July 2, 2021

251: A Mini Art Gallery in Middlebury

Posted By on Fri, Jul 2, 2021 at 9:49 AM

Free Little Art Gallery at the Henry Sheldon Museum in Middlebury - SALLY POLLAK ©️ SEVEN DAYS
  • Sally Pollak ©️ Seven Days
  • Free Little Art Gallery at the Henry Sheldon Museum in Middlebury
The Henry Sheldon Museum of Vermont History in Middlebury will open on July 13, marking the return of visitors to the museum after an 18-month absence. But a small annex of the museum — emphasis on small — is currently open daily from dawn to dusk. The mini delight on Park Street is a make-it, take-it gallery similar in size and feel to a free little street library.

The Free Little Art Gallery is housed in a glass case at the entrance to the Sheldon’s lovely flower garden. Its contents change as people contribute a piece of art they make or select one to take. Drawings on paper, paintings on canvas and a ceramic vessel were among the pieces on display early this week. A clutch of yellow flowers set below an abstract painting echoed a hue on the canvas.

Sheldon Museum associate director Mary Manley read about a similar gallery in Seattle and thought it would be neat to make one in Middlebury, she said.  Then, last spring, a free little gallery opened in Essex Junction.

Manley said she’s hopeful similar galleries will pop up around the state.  A June 5 article in the Washington Post describes a national trend of Free Little Art Galleries, or FLAGs.

Free Little Art Gallery in Middlebury - SALLY POLLAK ©️ SEVEN DAYS
  • Sally Pollak ©️ Seven Days
  • Free Little Art Gallery in Middlebury
The Sheldon's gallery  is designed on a scale of 1:12, in which one inch is a foot in a standard gallery. It’s intended for works of art, as opposed to miniatures like doll house furniture or trinkets.  Size-appropriate canvases lean against a wall for the taking — an offering of en-
Free Little Art Gallery in Middlebury - SALLY POLLAK ©️ SEVEN DAYS
  • Sally Pollak ©️ Seven Days
  • Free Little Art Gallery in Middlebury
couragement for would-be artists.  Mounting material is provided to hang art.

“People who are established artists have participated, as well as young kids,” Manley said. “It’s been really fun. We encourage the community to take part."

The tiny museum in front of the big one — the latter a repository of regional art, objects and history that opened in 1884 — can be appreciated in a matter of moments. But let it welcome you to the grounds of the Sheldon with its beautiful plantings, sculptures, and stone benches — a peaceful oasis in the center of Middlebury.

Kate Pond sculpture at the Henry Sheldon Museum in Middlebury - SALLY POLLAK ©️ SEVEN DAYS
  • Sally Pollak ©️ Seven Days
  • Kate Pond sculpture at the Henry Sheldon Museum in Middlebury
These days, the garden also presents a preview of sculptor Kate Pond’s forthcoming exhibit at the Sheldon, “From the Heart: A Sculptor’s Process." Three sculptures by the Burlington-based artist are in the garden, including a maquette of  "Kiss #2," her piece in front of the Fletcher Free Library in Burlington.

How wonderful that a renowned artist's metal sculpture shares space on the grass with a child’s drawing of a rainbow.

"Come by and come often," Manley said of the people's gallery. "Because it changes."
Garden entrance to the Henry Sheldon Museum - SALLY POLLAK ©️ SEVEN DAYS
  • Sally Pollak ©️ Seven Days
  • Garden entrance to the Henry Sheldon Museum

251 is a series of on-the-road stories, coming soon to a town near you.

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Friday, May 14, 2021

Potter Jeremy Ayers Fends Off Corporate Copycat

Posted By on Fri, May 14, 2021 at 5:21 PM

Jeremy Ayers in his studio - COURTESY OF JESSICA SIPE
  • Courtesy of Jessica Sipe
  • Jeremy Ayers in his studio
When is imitation not the sincerest form of flattery? When it's actually a rip-off.

Vermont potter Jeremy Ayers recently learned from an observant Instagram follower that a corporate behemoth appeared to have copied one of his designs. Clothing and home goods retailer Anthropologie was offering a mug that looked suspiciously like one Ayers has been making for the past decade.

It's a distinctive design — striped glaze, "accordion" shape. But Anthropologie's version had a crucial difference: "The handle sucks," Ayers wrote on his Facebook page. Indeed, any experienced potter — or frequent holder of mugs — could see that the semi-circular handle of the Anthropologie mug is not hand-friendly.

And, of course, there was another key difference: price. Anthropologie's mug was priced at $14.99, Ayers said. His mugs, thrown one at a time in the artisan's Waterbury studio, sell for $40 apiece.

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Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Judge Says Vermont Law School Can Cover Controversial Murals

Posted By on Wed, Mar 17, 2021 at 6:00 PM

KHWANEIGQ | DREAMSTIME.COM
  • Khwaneigq | Dreamstime.com
In an order last week, a judge denied a preliminary injunction filed by artist Sam Kerson to stop his mural at Vermont Law School from being covered on the grounds that covering it would violate a federal statute protecting artwork. Kerson, the judge wrote on March 10, “is unlikely to succeed on the merits in this case.”

VLS is free to install acoustic panels on a frame in front of the mural, which the school says will not touch or damage the painting in any way. Kerson, who filed suit in December in U.S. District Court, wanted to halt that construction for the duration of the trial.

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Thursday, February 11, 2021

Katie Runde to Paint Alexander Twilight Portrait for the Statehouse

Posted By on Thu, Feb 11, 2021 at 4:10 PM

Alexander Twilight - COURTESY OF THE OLD STONE HOUSE MUSEUM
  • Courtesy of the Old Stone House Museum
  • Alexander Twilight
Middlebury artist Katie Runde has been commissioned to paint a portrait of Alexander Twilight to hang in the Vermont Statehouse, which will make him the first person of color featured in a portrait there.

Twilight, believed to be both the first African American college graduate and first African American legislator in the U.S., was a Brownington-based educator and minister who lived from 1795 to 1857. He was elected as a Vermont State Representative in 1836. Last year, state lawmakers established September 23, 2020, as Alexander Twilight Day.

The portrait was commissioned jointly by the Friends of the Vermont State House and the office of the Vermont State Curator and is being funded by the National Life Group of Vermont.

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Friday, December 11, 2020

At Bennington Museum, Artworks That Envision the Future Could Be Yours

Posted By on Fri, Dec 11, 2020 at 2:58 PM

"Beginning of February" by Kathleen Kolb - COURTESY OF BENNINGTON MUSEUM
  • Courtesy of Bennington Museum
  • "Beginning of February" by Kathleen Kolb
Looking for an out-of-the-ordinary holiday exhibition, or gift? The Bennington Museum’s current show, “Vermont Utopias: Imagining the Future,” features visual artworks by 25 artists that are available for purchase through an online auction.

The auction is closed-bid, meaning bids are submitted without knowledge of other bids, so you won’t know if you’ve won the piece until bidding closes on December 21. The fundraiser will split proceeds evenly between the artists and the museum.

The museum is open for in-person viewing Fridays through Mondays, 10 a.m. to 4. p.m. But for those who can't get there, or prefer to avoid human contact altogether, simply browsing the exhibition online is a pleasure.

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Tuesday, December 8, 2020

In New 3D-Printed Sculpture, Otters Attack Middlebury's Town Hall Theater

Posted By on Tue, Dec 8, 2020 at 1:57 PM

"Mutant Otters Destroy Town Hall Theater" by Daniel Houghton - COURTESY OF DANIEL HOUGHTON
  • Courtesy of Daniel Houghton
  • "Mutant Otters Destroy Town Hall Theater" by Daniel Houghton
Shoppers, strollers and post office-goers in downtown Middlebury may notice a new artwork in the window of the National Bank of Middlebury: a miniature replica of the Town Hall Theater being attacked by giant, mutant otters.

The sculpture, dubbed "Mutant Otters Destroy Town Hall Theater," is by Daniel Houghton, the director of the Middlebury College Animation Studio. Houghton dreamed up the project in September, designed it using a computer program and produced it on a 3D printer, documenting his progress weekly in a series of videos posted to YouTube.

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Tuesday, October 13, 2020

From a Montpelier Porch, an Art Installation Joins an International Festival

Posted By on Tue, Oct 13, 2020 at 4:36 PM

"Interspace" seen at night - ALISA DWORSKY-DANNY SAGAN
  • Alisa Dworsky-Danny Sagan
  • "Interspace" seen at night
Alisa Dworsky and Danny Sagan, married architects, artists and educators at Norwich University, are participating in an international art festival without leaving home. On the porch of their house in Montpelier, the couple has constructed an installation called "Interspace" that can be seen not only by locals but by anyone in the world who cares to look.

CEC ArtsLink, an international arts organization with an office in St. Petersburg, Russia, hosts Art Prospect, its seventh annual public art festival, from October 15 to 18. Normally an on-site event with physical and augmented-reality installations, the event has perforce gone online because, well — what isn't virtual in 2020?

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Friday, September 25, 2020

New Anti-Racist Mural Rises at Champlain Elementary

Posted By on Fri, Sep 25, 2020 at 1:11 PM

The Afronaut mural at Champlain Elementary - MARGARET GRAYSON ©️ SEVEN DAYS
  • Margaret Grayson ©️ Seven Days
  • The Afronaut mural at Champlain Elementary
A new mural at Champlain Elementary School in Burlington was completed this week by artists Will Kasso Condry and Jennifer Herrera Condry, with the help of their daughter, Alexa, and dozens of local children.

The colorful, Afrofuturist mural was originally intended for another South End wall, but was rejected by the business owner. Soon after, the mural's commissioners, tenants of the Soda Plant on Pine Street, started a crowdfunding campaign and issued a citywide “Call for a Wall.”

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Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Colorful Afronaut Mural in Need of a Wall

Posted By on Wed, Sep 2, 2020 at 5:00 PM

The proposed mural - COURTESY OF JUNIPER CREATIVE ARTS
  • Courtesy of Juniper Creative Arts
  • The proposed mural
South End businesspeople are fundraising for and seeking a wall for a mural by Vermont artists. The proposed artwork, a large, colorful painting in an Afrofuturist style by Will Kasso Condry and Jennifer Herrera Condry, would include contributions by local kids.

The mural would depict “an afronaut, a Black warrior who travels through space and time fighting for justice for all Black, Indigenous and Brown folks,” according to the artists’ statement. The afronaut is modeled on the Condrys’ daughter. The painting is meant to be joyous, and includes a quote by Albert Camus: "The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion."

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Thursday, August 27, 2020

Burlington's File Cabinet Sculpture to Be Moved

Posted By on Thu, Aug 27, 2020 at 7:02 PM

"File Under So. Co. Waiting for…" by Bren Alvarez - FILE: MATTHEW THORSEN ©️ SEVEN DAYS
  • File: Matthew Thorsen ©️ Seven Days
  • "File Under So. Co. Waiting for…" by Bren Alvarez
The towering stack of rusting file cabinets on Burlington's Flynn Avenue, across the street from City Market, Onion River Co-op, is a popular destination for both locals and tourists. People come from all over to take selfies in front of it — and perhaps add a tag or a sticker. Officially titled "File Under So. Co., Waiting for…" by its creator, architect Bren Alvarez, it was erected in 2002 for that year's South End Art Hop. It was supposed to be temporary.

That was 18 years ago. This year, on September 10, the sculpture is going to be moved at last. But fans of the quirky attraction needn't fret; it's not going far.

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