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Friday, October 2, 2020

Rokeby Museum Hires New Director

Posted By on Fri, Oct 2, 2020 at 8:56 AM

COURTESY OF LINDSAY HOUPT-VARNER
  • Courtesy of Lindsay Houpt-Varner
The Rokeby Museum, a historic farm and Underground Railroad stop in Ferrisburgh, recently hired Lindsay Houpt-Varner as its first full-time director. The Rokeby, which was the home of an abolitionist Quaker family called the Robinsons from 1793 to 1961, is dedicated both to preserving the story of the Underground Railroad and exploring modern-day issues of race and social justice.

Houpt-Varner, who is 34 and has a PhD in early modern British history, comes to Vermont from Carlisle, Penn., after four years at the Cumberland County Historical Society. She studied Quakerism and had worked to preserve another site along the Underground Railroad in Pennsylvania. The Rokeby job, she said, “combined all of the interests that I had been gathering up over the past decades.”

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Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Arts and Culture Nonprofits to Receive $5 Million in State Relief Grants

Posted By on Tue, Jul 7, 2020 at 1:00 PM

"Youth Triumphant" sculpture in Barre - FILE: SUE HIGBY
  • File: Sue Higby
  • "Youth Triumphant" sculpture in Barre
The Vermont Arts Council and the Agency of Commerce and Community Development will distribute $5 million to arts and culture nonprofits, as part of legislation signed by Gov. Phil Scott last week to provide $96 million in emergency economic recovery grants to Vermont businesses.

Applications opened Monday on the ACCD website for all the agency’s Economic Recovery Grants. Arts and culture nonprofits are eligible for up to $50,000 in funding. The arts council will partner with ACCD to review the applications.

“It’s an incredible boost for the nonprofit cultural sector,” said Karen Mittelman, executive director of the arts council. “It’s important as a recognition of the economic stress our sector is experiencing … And we also know it will not be enough. That’s true across the board [in every sector].”

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Friday, July 3, 2020

Vermont Arts and Culture Organizations Awarded $600,000 in Relief Funding

Posted By on Fri, Jul 3, 2020 at 3:26 PM

'Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?' at the Weston Playhouse in 2019 - COURTESY OF ALEX PERRY
  • Courtesy of Alex Perry
  • 'Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?' at the Weston Playhouse in 2019
Ten Vermont arts and culture organizations received more than $600,000 in direct grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities, as part of the federal coronavirus relief package.

The NEA awarded $50,000 grants to Kingdom County Productions, Dorset Theatre Festival, the Vermont Folklife Center, the Community Engagement Lab,  the Yellow Barn and the Weston Playhouse Theatre.

The NEH awarded $133,512 to the Vermont Historical Society, $69,263 to the University of Vermont, $29,362 to the Henry Sheldon Museum of Vermont History, $53,036 to the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum and an additional $97,017 to the Folklife Center.

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Friday, May 1, 2020

FourScienceVT Provides Educational Support for Vermont Students

Posted By on Fri, May 1, 2020 at 3:21 PM

The Fairbanks Museum & Planetarium - FILE: MARGARET GRAYSON
  • File: Margaret Grayson
  • The Fairbanks Museum & Planetarium
Four Vermont-based science museums have teamed up to create FourScienceVT, an association of likeminded organizations aiming to provide STEM education for homebound students during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The organizations are the Fairbanks Museum & Planetarium, the ECHO Leahy Center for Lake Champlain, the Montshire Museum of Science and the Vermont Institute of Natural Science.

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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, 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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Friday, February 16, 2018

Museum of Everyday Life Announces New Season, Invites Participation

Posted By on Fri, Feb 16, 2018 at 3:02 PM

The Museum of Everyday Life in Glover - COURTESY OF THE MUSEUM OF EVERYDAY LIFE
  • Courtesy of the Museum of Everyday Life
  • The Museum of Everyday Life in Glover
Each spring since 2011, a humble barn in the Northeast Kingdom comes to life — not with buds and blooms, but with a riot of ordinary things. Under the direction of artist and veteran Bread & Puppet performer Clare Dolan, Glover's experimental Museum of Everyday Life dedicates itself every year to a quirky and spirited exhibition that sprouts from a mundane but thematically potent object.

Last year's exhibit was on bells and whistles; the year before that, mirrors. Other previous exhibits have focused on such prosaic items as pencils and dust. Dolan has just announced the theme for the coming season at MoEL: locks and keys.

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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, August 2, 2016

Major Gift Paves Way for New Gallery at the Hyde Collection

Posted By on Tue, Aug 2, 2016 at 4:59 PM

"Liz (F. & S.7)," lithograph by Andy Warhol - COURTESY OF THE HYDE COLLECTION
  • Courtesy of the Hyde Collection
  • "Liz (F. & S.7)," lithograph by Andy Warhol
The Hyde Collection in Glens Falls, N.Y., announced today that it has received an institutional gift valued at $11 million in funds and artworks. The donation by Schenectady architect and collector Werner Feibes, 86, will be used to open the new Feibes & Schmitt Gallery, named for Feibes and his late husband and business partner, James Schmitt.

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Friday, May 6, 2016

The Hood Museum, Closed for Renovations, Loans Works to Fleming

Posted By on Fri, May 6, 2016 at 6:31 PM

"Supper" by Alex Katz, gallery view - COURTESY OF FLEMING MUSEUM OF ART
  • Courtesy of Fleming Museum of Art
  • "Supper" by Alex Katz, gallery view
Vermonters dismayed by the Hood Museum's long-term closure will be happy to know there's an upside to the situation — and not just a bigger, shinier Hood when it reopens in 2019.  Three contemporary American paintings from the Dartmouth College institution's permanent collection have been relocated and are now on view at the University of Vermont's Fleming Museum of Art in Burlington. 

The Hood has shut its doors through 2018 in order to add, according to its website, "three object-study rooms, a sweeping public reception space, and a number of stunning new galleries." The  museum is also renovating its current gallery spaces. Much of the collection has been relocated to nearby storage, but 50-odd artworks have been temporarily adopted by other institutions for the mutual benefit of the Hood and museum-goers around New England. 

The works on loan at the Fleming are Ivan Albright's "The
"The Vermonter (If Life Were Life There Would Be No Death)" by Ivan Albright - COURTESY OF HOOD MUSEUM OF ART
  • Courtesy of Hood Museum of Art
  • "The Vermonter (If Life Were Life There Would Be No Death)" by Ivan Albright
 Vermonter (If Life Were Life There Would Be No Death)," Alex Katz's "Supper" and  Georgia O'Keeffe's "Taos Mountain, New Mexico." 

"These were so perfect for us, on a number of levels," said Fleming Museum executive director Janie Cohen in a telephone conversation. "They fit so beautifully into the collection the way they’re currently hung." 

"The Ivan Albright was selected because of the subject," Cohen explained. Albright (1897-1983) spent the majority of his life in Chicago, but moved to Woodstock, Vt., in 1965. He painted his oil "The Vermonter"  between 1966 and 1977. The portrait depicts his neighbor, Kenneth Harper Atwood, who, as it turns out, was a UVM alumnus.

This was the first work Albright began in his new home.  Because of its subject, it currently hangs in the Fleming's New England Gallery. Cohen noted that "Albright's style was influenced by European painting and his work as a medical draftsman in WWI." So, his style is "so not New England," she said. 

In 1997, the Art Institute of Chicago hosted a retrospective of the painter's magical-realist works. Albright was also the father-in-law of former U.S. secretary of state Madeleine Albright. 

"Supper" by Alex Katz - COURTESY OF HOOD MUSEUM OF ART
  • Courtesy of Hood Museum of Art
  • "Supper" by Alex Katz
"Supper" by Katz (1927-) is a 1974 acrylic point-of-view painting that uses crisp lines and simple light to show an ordinary scene of friends and family congregated at the dinner table. The figure on the right is Katz's wife, Ada. At approximately five by eight feet, the work is the largest work in the Fleming's European and American Gallery, noted Cohen. 

The oil landscape by O'Keeffe (1887-1986), also placed in the European and American Gallery, was painted in 1930, during the early years of the artist's love affair with the American Southwest. "Taos Mountain, New Mexico" is an example of the simplified forms and juicy palette for which O'Keeffe would become famous. 
"Taos Mountain, New Mexico" by Georgia O'Keeffe - COURTESY OF HOOD MUSEUM OF ART
  • Courtesy of Hood Museum of Art
  • "Taos Mountain, New Mexico" by Georgia O'Keeffe
 The Fleming is not the only museum to benefit from the Hood's need-induced lending. A fragment of an Egyptian sarcophagus is at the Middlebury College Museum of Art. Regionally, other institutions that have received works include the Currier Museum of Art, the Williams College Museum of Art and the Yale University Art Gallery

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