Friday, May 15, 2009

The Art of Vermont Exhibits

by Theodore Hoppe

"Art of Vermont" is a celebration the 170- year evolution of the Vermont State Art Collection, as well as 20 years of commissioned work created through the Art in State Buildings Program. In 1837, the Vermont Senate vote to purchase a painting of George Washington by artist George Gassner for the newly constructed statehouse. The State of Vermont has been collecting art ever since. With the creation of the Vermont Arts Council in 1964, the state art collection begin to expand beyond the walls of the capitol itself. Throughout the 70' and 80's the Arts Council continued to install art in public facilities like the Pavilion State Office Building. In 1988, the General Assembly passed the Art in State Buildings Act "in recognition of the need to encourage Vermont artists." As David Schutz, the State Curator, explains," is (this) public art program which has allowed the placement of a wide assortment of works of art in facilities all over the state."The State collection includes the work of hundreds of artists, and can be found at twenty-eight state facilities across Vermont

The Department of Buildings & General Services, with the help of Paul Gruhler, working with the Vermont Arts Council, has created a show of paintings and photography from the collection by some of the best artists in Vermont. The first of four 2009 exhibits will be at the River Arts Center in Morrisville from May 8-July 5. The River Arts Center is proud to host a version of the "Art of Vermont" exhibition that features the works of many Lamoille Valley artists.

Another version of the tour travels to St. Michael's College in Colchester, from June 5, 2009 until August 8,2009 with an opening reception on June 5, 5-7 PM. Since the dates of these two exhibits overlap they will feature different works from the collection. There are shows planned for the Brattleboro Museum and at Catamount Arts in St. Johnsbury later in the year, with more dates planned for 2010.

There is also a beautiful glossy catalogue developed by Paul Gruhler, for "Art of Vermont" that presents a sampling of the State Art Collection. In it, David Schultz says, "Art helps define who we are as people. As we look back over the works that constitute the State Art Collection, we cannot help but be struck by the amazing messages that are conveyed about Vermont and its people."

Top: Alden Bryan,
Cambridge, VT, c. 1955
Middle: Mickey Myers,
Night Falls on Jericho Street, 2004-5
Bottom: Peter Miller, Fred Tuttle, 1987