By Dotty Kyle
Stick season is upon us and the lament that “there’s nothing to do” will be heard across The Valley. Not so! Readers of The Valley Reporter know that there’s a lot of activity here. We just need to be open to a little adventure and perhaps a little expansion of the mind from time to time. We need to get out and explore the venues that some locals think of as tourist destinations: the local art galleries, for instance.
Have you been to the Bundy Modern? It’s in between exhibits right now, but an internet search for Bundy Modern Vermont will take you to their website and current info. Have you seen the eclectic mix of art, sculpture and furniture at the Starving Artist Gang’s gallery? Find them on Facebook and next to The Butchery. How about the exhibits, the receptions and the talks at Valley Arts’ Festival Gallery? Internationally acclaimed Vermont artist Kathleen Kolb was featured at an opening reception last Sunday, October 29, kicking off her exhibit, Into the Woods, which will run Wednesdays through Saturdays until December 22. Do you know where any of these terrific galleries are? Look them up.
Three Mountain Cafe hosts a fun First Friday event from 5 to 6:30 p.m. to introduce their latest monthlong art exhibit – music and refreshments, too! The Bridges Resort’s art shows feature local artists and hang for a month or more. Mad River Taste Place, the Big Picture and the Madsonian Museum are worth a visit to see what’s on their walls aside from their usual offerings. Madsonian’s current exhibit of light sculptures by Bill Parker and holograms by Julie Parker are amazing and invite viewers’ interaction.
Quiet weekends between foliage and snow are the perfect time to explore and develop new interests. And, if you have house guests, they’ll love to explore with you.
The Mad River Valley is home to a large population of incredibly creative people, whose work is on display in shops, studios and exhibits from Warren to Moretown. Artists are often happy to open their studios to those who phone for an appointment. Did you know that there are three extraordinarily talented glassblowers here? And three award-winning stained glass artists? And then there are the potters, the weavers, the knitters, the rug hookers, the jewelry-makers; the list goes on and on. The holidays are coming up. Artwork of all kinds makes thoughtful and personal gifts – and helps the local economy, too.
Local arts organizations seem to have no trouble attracting the makers of art. When word went out that Valley Arts wanted to begin a new foliage season exhibit of works by artists and artisans – all in one show in the Red Barn Galleries at Lareau Farm/American Flatbread – the response was overwhelming. Instead of the 20 or so artists, potters, weavers, photographers, sculptors and painters expected to sign up, 62 people registered for the show which closed recently after a five-week run. The reviews of the exhibit were overwhelming, too. Everyone loved it and 25 pieces of art were sold.
A review of the guestbook, signed by most who came to the show, was informative. The vast majority of the visitors were from out of The Valley, most from outside of Vermont. The same was true of the June-July exhibition of watercolor paintings by some of the top artists in America. This nationally acclaimed exhibit, the Green Mountain Watercolor Exhibition, is simply amazing – yet a very small percentage of locals came to see it. The August event, the Big Red Barn Show is marginally better attended by Valleyites, mainly because the show is restricted to artists living full- or part-time in The Valley. Still, of the 2,000-plus visitors who signed the guestbook, fewer than 200 were from The Valley.
So, get up off the sofa and come out and explore the wonderful world of art that surrounds us in our Valley. And, if you feel creative yourself, join one of the groups that meet regularly and hone your own skills, be it painting, pottery, weaving, rug-hooking, photography, singing, acting or more. You can find a lot of information on the Valley Arts website, valleyartsvt.com, or give them a call at 496-6682. You’ll be happy you did!
Kyle lives in Warren and serves on the board of Valley Arts.