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Friday, May 15, 2020

Middlebury College Students Create Website for 3,000-Year-Old Assyrian Panels

Posted By on Fri, May 15, 2020 at 1:23 PM

  • Middlebury College digital methodologies class
  • Detail of the NW x NE website home page
On May 4, the 10 Middlebury College students in Sarah Laursen’s course on digital methodologies for art historians held their final class of the semester on Zoom. That wasn’t unusual, because Middlebury, like other colleges around the state and country, had sent their students home to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.

However, the guests Laursen invited to the Zoom call were notable: Sarah Graff, an associate curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City; and Sean Burrus, the Andrew W. Mellon postdoctoral curatorial fellow at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art.

While Seven Days listened in, Laursen’s students presented to the two art historians their semester-long project: a website examining one of Middlebury College’s first art acquisitions, which is a carved stone panel nearly 3,000 years old. The detailed relief, depicting a muscular, winged man with an impressive beard, is one of hundreds that once adorned the interior walls of the Northwest Palace, built by the Assyrian king Ashurnasirpal II (who reigned from 883 to 859 BC), in Nimrud (near present-day Mosul, Iraq).

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Saturday, February 2, 2019

Legends & Lore Marker Program Comes to Vermont

Posted By on Sat, Feb 2, 2019 at 7:00 AM

A Legends & Lore marker in New York state - COURTESY OF THE VERMONT FOLKLIFE CENTER
  • Courtesy of the Vermont Folklife Center
  • A Legends & Lore marker in New York state
The Vermont Folklife Center has partnered with the Syracuse-based William G. Pomeroy Foundation to bring the latter's Legends & Lore Marker Program to Vermont. The VFC is the sixth cultural center to join the program, along with organizations in Alabama, Connecticut, New York, North Carolina and Oregon.

According to the Pomeroy Foundation website, the program is "designed to promote cultural tourism and commemorate legends and folklore as part of cultural heritage." It does so by placing markers at sites of local cultural, if not precisely historic, significance. Like, as in the example pictured above, the site of the Ichabod Crane Schoolhouse in Kinderhook, N.Y., where Jesse Merwin taught. Merwin was the real-life inspiration for the protagonist Ichabod Crane in Washington Irving's classic "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow."

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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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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 24, 2018

Former South Sudanese Refugee Shares His Post-Independence Reflections

Posted By on Thu, May 24, 2018 at 5:06 PM

Abraham Awolich - KYMELYA SARI
  • Kymelya Sari
  • Abraham Awolich
In 2011, Abraham Awolich left the U.S. to return to his native South Sudan. He confessed that he had thought about moving back to Vermont since then. Intense clashes between rival political factions in 2014 and 2015 had left him "sometimes scared," and living conditions in the capital, Juba, remain difficult, he said.

Awolich is in Burlington for a week to reconnect with his friends, as well as to ask the public to continue to support his projects in South Sudan. On Tuesday, he gave a presentation to a group of about 30 people at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul. Many, if not all, in attendance had known Awolich and his peers since they first arrived in Vermont 17 years ago.

What has kept him in South Sudan these past few years, Awolich said, is a sense of purpose and commitment. In the wake of the country's independence in 2011, he wants to help negotiate what he calls "rapid" and "dramatic" transitions.

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Friday, April 20, 2018

Seven Questions for Vermont SABR Chair Clayton Trutor

Posted By on Fri, Apr 20, 2018 at 1:38 PM

  • Courtesy of Clayton Trutor
  • Clayton Trutor
Vermont baseball nerds, rejoice! This weekend, the Vermont chapter of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) takes the field after a long rain delay, metaphorically speaking. The Gardner-Waterman (Vermont) SABR chapter holds its spring meeting at the Robert Miller Community and Recreation Center in Burlington this Sunday, April 22.

The local SABR chapter was founded in the 1990s by noted local baseball historian Tom Simon and others. But according to current chair Clayton Trutor, the collective of baseball researchers, historians and statisticians had fallen dormant in recent years. Trutor is attempting to jumpstart the chapter and hopes to hold meetings at least twice per year.

"It's an opportunity for members to present their research on the history of baseball and the statistics of the game," Trutor tells Seven Days. He adds: "There will also be a trivia contest."

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Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Out in the Mountains Now Out Online

Posted By on Tue, Mar 13, 2018 at 12:36 PM

Covers of Out in the Mountains - UVM CENTER FOR DIGITAL INITIATIVES
  • UVM Center for Digital Initiatives
  • Covers of Out in the Mountains
In February 1986, the first issue of Out in the Mountains: Vermont's Newspaper for Lesbians and Gay Men hit mailboxes, corner stores, coffee shops and other rural newsstands. The free monthly newspaper would continue to serve Vermont communities for more than 20 years, folding in 2007 due to financial difficulties. Now, thanks to the University of Vermont's Center for Digital Initiatives, the entire Out in the Mountains archive can be accessed online.

"Not too many papers like [this] have been digitized," said Prudence Doherty, public service librarian for UVM's special collections. "Certainly it has Vermont significance," she said, "but it [also] has much wider significance and will be used by people who are tracking the history of LGBTQ movements."

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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Catherine Brooks Takes the Reins at Rokeby Museum

Posted By on Tue, Dec 12, 2017 at 3:43 PM

Catherine Brooks (at the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art in Kanazawa, Japan) - COURTESY OF CATHERINE BROOKS
  • Courtesy of Catherine Brooks
  • Catherine Brooks (at the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art in Kanazawa, Japan)
The Rokeby Museum in Ferrisburgh might not be known for festive parties, but that's exactly what took place on November 30. The occasion was to honor outgoing director Jane Williamson for 20 years of tireless devotion to the museum — not to mention achievements that earned the venue national acclaim.

A highlight of the evening was a big surprise: Staffers pulled down a temporary banner to reveal the words "Jane Williamson Gallery" installed in relief over the entrance of said gallery. The room, used for exhibitions and events, is on the first floor of the museum's newest building. The capacious contemporary venue is a far cry from Williamson's tiny, cramped former quarters in the bathroom-less historic former farmhouse.

The event's other surprise, at least to many of the assembled guests, was from Williamson herself: She announced that the new director would be Catherine Brooks, former president of the Rokeby's board of trustees.

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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Nashville Producer (and Elvis' Bassist) Coming to St. Mike's

Posted By on Tue, Oct 17, 2017 at 6:30 AM

  • Courtesy of Norbert Putnam
  • Norbert Putnam
Norbert Putnam, a session musician and record producer, played bass guitar on 120 Elvis Presley tracks.  He was the bassist on J.J. Cale's 1971 classic "After Midnight" and produced Jimmy Buffett's 1977 hit "Margaritaville."

Putnam recorded Kris Kristofferson's first demos in Nashville and once discussed bass levels with a 13-year-old Michael Jackson. "Michael Jackson was a great genius," Putnam told Seven Days

Putnam, 75, is a repository of stories about music and the people who made it back in the day. He brings his tales to Vermont on Friday, October 20, for two events at the McCarthy Arts Center at St. Michael's College: an afternoon bass summit with Mike Gordon of Phish and an evening presentation/performance based on his book, Music Lessons: A Musical Memoir. Both events are free and open to the public.

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Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Buyer to Rescue, Restore Modernist House II in Hardwick

Posted By on Tue, Aug 8, 2017 at 11:21 AM

  • Courtesy of Geoffrey Gross, NYC
  • House II in Hardwick
Not many house hunters are in search of an experimental, white, modernist home built in 1969-70 that one listing described as a “live-in artwork.” But, after four years on the market, as Seven Days reported earlier this year, architect Peter Eisenman’s House II in Hardwick finally found its ideal caretakers.

The New England-based couple who purchased the iconic house would prefer to remain anonymous. Andrew Ferentinos, the architect they hired to make the house both truer to Eisenman’s original drawings and more livable, describes them this way: “They are the rare people who are deeply and passionately interested in architecture, and in being stewards of modern architecture.”

That’s fortuitous, for only pure love was going to save this building.

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