Saturday, May 5, 2012

PRESS RELEASE: Art thefts motivate benefit for sculptor

A rash of art thefts occurred in central west Vermont between February 29 and March 20th. The first hit was the Ilsley Library, where a piece by Kerry Furlani was stolen from her Words to Stone exhibit in the library lobby. These heavy stone sculptures were sprinkled throughout the library rooms, as if to be found like Easter eggs. Attachment,  the piece that was stolen, was the only piece in the show that did not incorporate words, a 17” x12” bas relief of a mother and child. It had been on a shelf behind the magazine rack in the library, before it went missing. A reward for information leading to the recovery of the piece was posted in the Addison Independent by David Clark, the library’s director. The piece is valued at $1,200

On March 17 two paintings disappeared from the Chaffee Art Center, in Rutland, as reported by the Rutland Herald. On March 23 a sculpture was also discovered missing. The sculpture and the paintings were returned with a note of apology from the person who stole the artwork on March 28th. The third venue victimized was Artisans Gallery in Waitsfield. More than a few pieces were stolen there between March 12 and 15. These have not been returned. All this was reported in the Rutland Herald as well.

That’s enough to call a “rash of art thefts” but there has been one more recently. On March 20 two small paintings, a landscape and a still life valued at a combined total of $650 were stolen from the Edgewater Gallery on Mill Street in Middlebury.

These events have motivated members of the Middlebury community and the arts community to come forward in support of our artists and our public spaces. To this end a benefit for Kerry Furlani is scheduled for Friday, June 8, from 5-7 p.m. at the Ilsley Library to coincide with the Middlebury Art Walk. The art walk happens every second Friday of the month, May 11 - October 12 . The public is invited to not only come out and enjoy what local artists and our downtown has to offer during the seasons art walks but to also come out in support of Kerry Furlani, and all the people and places that make our community rich, on June 8 at the library.

There will be a silent auction of featuring donated items by local businesses and artists. The money raised will go to Kerry Furlani to help pay for the stolen piece. Any extra funds will go to the library and to create an organization to support artists and community rebuilding.

Something is wrong when trust that things won’t be stolen in the library, or that art won’t be stolen off a gallery wall is unrealistic. This fundraising benefit is an effort by people who care to make things better. There will be information available about how to help prevent such thefts from happening as well.

To show our thanks to participants who come to this benefit and make it a success we are offering a free raffle ticket to the first thirty bidders. 

For artists who donate artwork half of the money that your item brings in is returned to you. If you are an artist or a business and would like to donate Please contact the benefit organizer  Alice Eckles at or call 802-310-9364. Remember: June 8, 5-7 pm, at the Ilsley Library, light refreshments will be served.

Image: Kerry O. Furlani, Butterfly You Make Me Cry, slate-quartzite, Poultney, VT, 11 3/4 x 2 1/2"