Celebrate Vermont Art during Open Studio Weekend

May 20, 2009 by  
Filed under Art events, Blog

laurence_coffin_open_studio_week-end_575Photo Courtesy: Emile A. Gruppe Gallery, watercolor from Laurence Coffin, displayed as part of the Vermont Watercolor Society Spring Show.

Vermont’s natural scenic beauty will be enhanced this weekend, as nearly 300 artists and craftspeople across the state open their studios to visitors. The 17th annual Open Studio Weekend, May 23-24, is a statewide celebration of the visual arts and the creative process.

Open Studio Weekend gives you access to the workshops of glass blowers, jewelers, printmakers, potters, furniture makers, weavers, ironworkers, painters, sculptors, quilt makers and wood carvers.

The Vermont Crafts Council publishes a free map booklet with directions to participating sites.
These maps make it easy to tour the state – and meet the people behind the artwork you may have admired in shops and galleries.

With hundreds of artists to exhibiting their work, it’s difficult to choose. Here are some ideas:

Southern Vermont:

The President Calvin Coolidge State Historic Site, in Plymouth Notch, opens for the 2009 season on Saturday, May 23, and will host several exceptional artisans as part of the Vermont Craft Council’s Open Studio Weekend.

Over the years, the President Coolidge Homestead has become an Open Studio “hub,” where Vermont artisans temporarily relocate their studios. This year, Irene Ames of Derby will demonstrate basket making in the Sweetser family tradition.

Also on site will be members of the local chapter of the Historical Society of Early American Decoration: Dolores Furnari of Brandon and Pat Lacy of East Wallingford will offer stenciling activities for children, and Mary Perry of Salisbury, New Hampshire will demonstrate reverse painting on glass.

More information on President Calvin Coolidge Homestead.

Central Vermont:

In Montpelier, The Artisans Hand Craft Gallery is a gallery showing sophisticated crafts, including prints, photographs, textiles, and some sculpture from a number of participating craftspeople.

One of the gallery’s best known artists is Lochlin Smith, whose bronze jewelry is popular throughout New England. Lochlin will be welcoming people to his studio in Montpelier.

Look, too, for Mary Stone’s clay whistles – hand-formed, musical clay sculptures – and fiber artist Karen Henderson’s weavings and fabric pieces. Yarn-maker Denise D’Abramo will hold an informal Natural Dye Workshop in her Plainfield workshop.

At the gallery, you can see who your favorite artists are, and get directions to visit their own studios nearby.

More information on its website: The Artisans Hand.

Northern Vermont:

Drive along the spine of the Green Mountains as you tour studios and galleries, beginning with the Emile Gruppe Gallery, in Jericho. This historic building hosts the Vermont Watercolor Society Spring Show, which includes local artists, as well as out-of-towners. More information on the exhibit: Vermont Watercolor Society Spring Show.

Pick up maps, directions and descriptions of area artists’ work at the gallery, and follow the festival’s yellow road signs onto roads with names like Brown’s Trace, Governor Peck, and Nashville.

Founded in the 1940s, the Shelburne Art Center (formerly known as the Shelburne Craft School) is a nonprofit institution offering dozens of art and crafts classes in a range of media, taught by some of Vermont’s most talented artists. More information on the Shelburne Art Center.

Finally, from the Shelburne Art Center, you can visit artists and artisans working on Lake Champlain – including oil painter Mary Ellen Manock’s Kingsland Terrace studio, and watercolorist Katharine Montstream’s Main St. studio. Both take in views of the water while making the most of Vermont’s largest city.

The 32-page Vermont Studio Tour Guide (with maps) is available at Vermont Information Centers, and at individual studios and galleries, or can be downloaded as a PDF at: Open Studio Week-End Guide.
More information and maps at: Vermont Studio Tour Guide.

Related article
: President Calvin Coolidge Homestead – Historic Site

Fourth of July Celebrations

Fourth of July celebrationsIt’s time to celebrate Fouth of July all accross the country. Here in Vermont, there will be parades and fireworks in a number of towns. But we have identified a few other Fourth of July events for you.
There are two events worth noting at State Historic Sites which we already mentioned in previous posts:
– At the President Calvin Coolidge Homestead, celebrations for the birthday of the only U.S. president born on the Fourth of July. There is chicken BBQ to enjoy for lunch there at the restaurant!
– At Hubbardton Battlefield site, it is the annual Battle of Hubbardton reenactment this week-end, July 5-6th, with the actual battle reenactment taking place Sunday morning from around 8AM to 10AM. The battle is the only American Revolution battle which took place in Vermont. The date was July 7, 1777. Interestingly, at 4PM on Sunday afternoon, at the Old Constitution House in Windsor, a messenger will arrive to announce the Battle of Hubbardton and the American withdrawal from Mount Independence and Fort Ticonderoga – just like the messenger did on that day of July 1777 when he announced the news to the constitutional delegates.
And…
– The Vermont Symphony Orchestra is at the Shelburne Farms tonight (July 4th) and if the weather is good, the program will end with musicians playing Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture while you enjoy the fireworks!
– For the very serious crowd, at the Bennington monument, like every year, an actor will read the Declaration of Independence at 1:00PM.
– Reading the Declaration of Independence is also part of the family celebrations at the Billings Farm and Museum today!
So, to all of you, have a very happy Independence Day!

President Calvin Coolidge House

President Calvin Coolidge Homestead
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Our Favorite State Historic Sites!

June 21, 2008 by  
Filed under Blog, Historic sites

Calvin Coolidge House - picnic
Picnickers relaxing at President Coolidge house

Last week-end – June 14-15 – Vermont Days were our excuse to drive around. The weather was gorgeous as we drove through the beautiful hills and farm lands of central Vermont. Every road seemed more of a “scenic drive” than the previous one! Aren’t all roads in Vermont “scenic drives”? On Saturday our exploration took us from Sharon (exit 2 on I89) to Woodstock, the President Coolidge House, in Plymouth (with a quick stop for a famous Vermont maple cremee!), the Eureka School House and finally to Windsor and the Old Constitution House. On Sunday, we enjoyed a long visit of the Justin Morrill Homestead, in Strafford and finally a nice trip back on the very, very picturesque Route 100 all the way to Montpelier.
We’ll describe our visits in the next couple of postings, but for now here is our traveler’s tip of the week: our favorite sites were first the President Coolidge House and second the village of Strafford and the Justin Morrill Homestead. In both places, you should plan to have a good 3 hours if you want to fully enjoy the place without feeling rushed.
The President Coolidge House has lots to offer: the visit of the buildings relating the history of the site at the time of President Coolidge; the gorgeous surroundings where you can enjoy a nice walk or picnic; its restaurant in an old brick house and finally the cheese factory which is still operating (on week days) and which you can visit (and where you can buy the local Plymouth cheese.
The Village of Strafford is no doubt one of the most picturesque villages in Vermont (and the most photographed it seems!). With its white Town Hall standing high above its green common, it has been frozen in time since the 19th century… no sign of any restaurant or gas station here! In the village, still stand the house where Justin Morrill was born, the store where he worked and made his fortune, and the cemetery where he is buried… and of course the homestead he built before becoming Senator Justin Morrill. There we can appreciate both his love for horticulture and farming as you walk the grounds and his love for architecture during a delightful visit of his house…
So make sure to read our next postings for more details on these sites!

Vermont State Historic Sites – Free!

June 11, 2008 by  
Filed under Blog, Events, Historic sites

Vermont days - historic sitesIllustration copyright – Sarah Dillard

Something to write down in your agenda: this week-end, June 14th and 15th, all the Vermont State Historic Sites and the Vermont Historical Society Museum offer free admission. Isn’t it the perfect excuse for a great road trip through the wonderful Vermont countryside? Weather should be collaborating: warm with just some isolated thunderstorms…Come on, get out, enjoy the sun and the fresh air, and take one of these wonderful scenic drives up and down the green Vermont hills (there are so many of them!)… President Coolidge House, the old Constitution House, Chimney Point, Mount Independence, and the other sites will be all waiting for your visit. State Parks are also free… with free ice cream! And on Saturday, it’s also free fishing.
So, if you see a little blue VW Cabrio driving around, it might be us… we’ll definitely be going from place to place! And we will report on our favorite visits next week… Psst! Don’t forget to tell us which was YOUR favorite place!
For a complete list of the Vermont State Historic Sites, visit: www.historicvermont.org/sites.