All posts by Patrick Black

Lisa Viles and painter Sharon Kinney Biddle with Lady's Mantle True Color from The Art Connection
NEK Council on Aging Executive Director Lisa Viles accepts Lady’s Mantle True Colors painted by Sharon Kenney Biddle of West Barnet as the first non-profit organization to receive artwork through The Art Connection, a Boston-based program affiliated with Catamount Arts that places visual art with public-service agencies that might not otherwise afford to buy it.

Council on Aging Receives First Painting From New Catamount Arts Program

The Council on Aging recently became the first mission-driven, client-directed association in the Northeast Kingdom to receive artwork through ArtsConnect@CatamountArts, a new and innovative program facilitated by Catamount Arts.

Established in 1995 to expand public access to art in social-service settings, The Art Connection is headquartered in Boston, and supports Catamount Arts in its efforts to promote visual outreach throughout northern New Hampshire and Vermont, according to Katherine French, who came on board as Catamount’s new Gallery Director last year after retiring as Director Emerita of Danforth Art, a museum and art school located just outside of Boston.

“I grew up in the Northeast Kingdom,” said French who now resides in Barton.  “I know from personal experience how meaningful art can be.  It allows us to see the world through the eyes of others and can have a profound effect on our lives.”

Social-service organizations that might not be able to buy art are invited, at no cost, to select works donated by New England artists for placement in public meeting places in their offices. The Council on Aging, which is reconfiguring how it uses its administrative headquarters in the historic Summer Street School, has opted to place Lady’s Mantle True Colors by West Barnet painter, Sharon Kenney Biddle, in its large conference room.

“We’re grateful to Sharon for donating a painting that brings lightness to often serious conversations we’re having about how best to meet the needs of an aging population,” commented Lisa Viles, the Council’s Executive Director.  “This beautiful painting connects to the natural beauty we all enjoy here.”

Kenney Biddle, a well-regarded art teacher in the Peacham and Danville schools before her retirement, chose to depict Lady’s Mantle—a flower with soft, cup-like petals that capture water droplets after a rain and grows well in shady locations, including the painter’s garden.  The frame for the painting was crafted by Frame Dames of St. Johnsbury, who generously donated their services.

The Council on Aging is now considering acquiring additional art for its ground-floor lobby, a smaller conference room, and for its offices in Newport and Island Pond.  Other human service agencies interested in acquiring original art by regional artists through this new civic-wide initiative can contact Katherine French at kfrench@catamountarts.org.

St. Kieran Community Center for the Arts

Linda Pouliot to perform at St. Kieran Community Center for the Arts

linda pouliotBERLIN – On Sunday, July 17th, starting at 2:00 pm, St. Kieran Community Center for the Arts will be welcoming Berlin native, singer/songwriter, Linda Pouliot! Tickets are $12.00 (adults) and $8.00 (those under 18) and are available at the arts center office or via our website, www.stkieranarts.org for a small service fee. This event is being sponsored by a grant from the NH State Council on the Arts.

Accompanied by some of the Seacoast area’s best musicians, the trio will present; Edith Piaf’s, “ La Vie En Rose,” Charles Aznavour’s, “Parler Moi D’Amour,” songs of Lucienne Delisle, Charles Trenet, Lucienne Boyer, Nana Mouscouri and an array of original songs as well. If you do not speak French; no worries, songs will include an English translation and beautiful melodies which are sure to please!

From the time of her first professional jazz/blues performance in 2009, Ms. Pouliot has been inspired by the response to French songs. Growing up in Berlin, New Hampshire, Ms. Pouliot’s Sunday mornings included listening to WMOU, the local radio station, broadcast songs by such artists as La Bolduc and Edith Piaf. Memories from those days inspired her to write the song, “La Tradition Du Beau Dimanche.” She is thrilled to have performed at the Franco Americaine Center for the Arts in Lewiston, Maine and at La Kermesse Franco Americaine in Biddeford where she is scheduled to perform again this year.

With the help of Seacoast Jazz Society President, Charlie Jennison, Ms. Pouliot is happy to be involved in the preservation of Classic French songs. “I’ve never been to Paris, but Paris lives in my heart. My father served a tour of duty there during World War II, and although he brought back with him tragedies of war that affect so many of our soldiers and their families, he brought back something very special too“, Pouliot explains. “My mother had a deep appreciation for the arts. I learned Edith Piaf’s music from her and my brother and I inherited the love for a culture, rich in music, art and tradition, which makes us who we are.” Ms. Pouliot is dedicating this performance to her family and is anxious to share her love of French Heritage with everyone in this community; a community she quickly claims as her “hometown.”

For more information about this concert, to purchase tickets, a membership or loyalty cards or to make a donation to the annual or capital improvement funds in support of our Seven to Save project, please contact the Arts Center at (603) 752-1028; visit www.stkieranarts.org or www.facebook.com/stkieranarts.

Upcoming Events:
Saturday, August 6th at 7:00 pm – Chicago Total Access, High-energy, band covering the music of Chicago
Saturday, September 10th at 7:00 pm – Zostak, Classic Rock by a Class Local Band

Programming at St. Kieran Community Center for the Arts is made possible by the support of community corporate sponsors, the National Endowment for the Arts, the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, The Neil and Louise Tillotson Fund, The NH State Council on the Arts, Plum Creek, The Wyman Family Fund, The Rydin Family Fund and The Doris Benz Trust.

Judy Collins

Judy Collins to Perform at Randolph, Vermont’s Chandler Music Hall Sunday, May 15 at 7pm

Judy Collins, the endlessly prolific singer, songwriter, author and activist, will celebrate her newly released studio album with an intimate concert at The Chandler Center for the Arts in Randolph, Vermont on Sunday, May 15 at 7p.m.  Tickets,starting at $30, can be purchased online at www.catamountix.org or by calling Catamount Arts at (802) 748-2600. This event is presented by The Rutland Herald and A&R Entertainment.

Heralded as the “Ageless Wild Angel Of Pop” by The New York Times, Judy Collins is known for her sublime vocals, personal life triumphs, and firm commitment to social activism. An award-winning singer-songwriter, her iconic rendition of Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now” was entered into the Grammy Hall of Fame and “Send in the Clowns” won “Song of the Year” at the 1975 Grammy Awards.

The new release ‘Strangers Again’ (Wildflower/Cleopatra), her first studio work since 2011, was released in September of 2015 and climbed to #1 on Amazon’s music chart. In this album, Collins is golden voiced and soaring over fresh interpretations of songs by Leonard Bernstein and Sondheim, Randy Newman and James Taylor. She invited a number of special guests to join her: Jackson Browne, Jimmy Buffett, Don McLean, Jeff Bridges, Glen Hansard, Willie Nelson and more.

Collins began her impressive music career at 13 as a classical piano prodigy but the hardluck tales and rugged sensitivity of folk revival music by artists such as Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger seduced her away from a life as a concert pianist. Her path pointed to a lifelong love affair with the guitar and pursuit of emotional truth in lyrics which has influenced so many artists. Recently, contemporary and classic artists such as Rufus Wainwright, Shawn Colvin, Dolly Parton, Joan Baez, and Leonard Cohen honored her legacy with the album Born to the Breed: A Tribute to Judy Collins.

Collins, now 76, is as creative as ever, writing, touring worldwide, and nurturing fresh talent. She has appeared everywhere from Sesame Street to HBO’s Girls, performed at a presidential inauguration and released two live DVD/CD specials in the past three years which were also broadcast on PBS. She performs over 100 shows a year.

Oil Paintings of Terry Ekasala in the Dylan’s Annex Gallery

Catamount Arts is pleased to announce a new exhibition of abstract oil paintings by artist Terry Ekasala, on view through May 21 in Catamount Arts’ Annex Gallery in Dylan’s Restaurant.  Located right beside Catamount Arts Center on Eastern Avenue in St. Johnsbury, Vermont, the Annex Gallery at Dylan’s Café offers patrons an opportunity to enjoy original art as part of their dining experience during the restaurant’s open hours: Monday-Tuesday, 11-3 pm and Wednesdays-Saturdays, 11-9 pm.

About the Exhibition:  The current show contains 25 abstract paintings and one mixed media work by local artist Terry Ekasala completed between 2011 and 2013.  Featuring such poetic titles as Breath In, Breath Out (2013) and Heart and Soul, World Time Over (2015), the paintings are an expressive reflection of personal and artistic experience.  All are for sale.

ABOUT THE ARTIST: Born in Weymouth, Massachusetts, artist Terry Ekasala received her undergraduate degree the Art Institute in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and began work as a freelance graphic designer. Drawn to fine arts, she set up her first studio in the Clay Hotel and Youth Hostel on Espanola Way in Miami Beach in 1983, which was at then a broken down palace of art deco dreams inhabited by refugees, addicts, and unsuspecting youth hostel who all contributed to the creative activity of the young artists who had begun to gather in the area.

Inspired by the rich diversity of the scene, Terry began working representationally, but quickly expanded her practice.  She became a member of the Artifacts Art Group, who staged weekly events at  the Miami nightclub “Fire and Ice” and organized exhibits in their own gallery.  She was also part of a group of grapffiti artists who took to the streets to cover the boarded up and abandoned buildings.  This work was eventually featured on the cover of the Sunday edition of the Miami Herald and as background in major advertising commercials on television.

In 1987 Terry visited Paris moved to Paris and worked as a cook in a tea salon while continuing to paint in her tiny apartment.  In 1990 she set up a studio in Belleville, the colorful 20th Arrondissement at La Forge where she was part a diverse community that included  artists of many nationalities.  With others, she organized the first artist’s “squat” or reclaimed space to become legal in Paris, where she painted until 2001.  During this time, her style underwent many changes, moving from figurative to abstract and she was able to sell directly through annual open studios in Belleville, as well as participate in group exhibitions in Paris, Berlin and New York.

In 2001 Terry moved to Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom, where she set up a studio in the small village of Lyndonville, but continued exhibiting—notably in a solo exhibition of large abstract oil paintings in NYC’s Metalstone Gallery in 2003.  After the birth of her son Zack in 2004, she created smaller acrylic on board works that were shown at the Metalstone Gallery in 2005.  Terry Ekasala now resides in East Burke, VT with her family, continuing to work on large and small abstracts in what she calls a dream studio in nearby West Burke.

PBS Preschool Film READY JET GO! at Catamount

Ready! Jet! Go!READY JET GO! is coming to Catamount Arts! Come see this month’s free PBS preschool film on Friday, March 18 from 10:30 to 11:30 am at the Catamount Arts Center, 115 Eastern Avenue in downtown St. Johnsbury, VT.

READY JET GO! takes viewers on a journey into outer space, building on children’s curiosity about science, technology and astronomy. The series follows two neighborhood kids: Sean, who has an all-consuming drive for science facts, and Sydney, who has a passion for science fiction and imagination. They both befriend the new kid on their street, Jet Propulsion, whose family members happen to be aliens from the planet Bortron 7. Together, they explore the solar system and the effects it has on the science of our planet, while learning about friendship and teamwork along the way.

Catamount Arts is grateful to Vermont PBS for providing free children’s films each month. Free popcorn is provided at each screening in Catamount’s comfortable movie theatre. Childcare centers and families with small children are invited; grandparents too! Please register by contacting Sharon Marshall at smarshall@catamountarts.org or 802-748-2600 ext.108.

GOAT: Gartel Original Art & Technology Workshop

GOAT: Gartel Original Art & Technology
Click image to purchase.

Monday-Friday, August 10-14, 10:00am-4:00pm

Instructor: Laurence Gartel

Location: Catamount Outback Artspace

Workshop fee: $249
(2 scholarships available: one for a St. Johnsbury Academy Student and one for a Lyndon Institute student – call 802-748-2600 ext. 108 for details)

Registration deadline: August 1

Internationally-acclaimed digital media artist Laurence Gartel will offer GOAT: Gartel Original Art & Technology, a week-long workshop for high school students. Students will develop a body of work using existing digital tools such as smart phones, laptops, tablets, and downloaded apps which can be used to manipulate, change and alter images to articulate a personal point of view.

The workshop is for high school students who are energetic about technology and have no fear. They will be given an overview of digital art over the past 40 years, and will go into the field to take pictures and develop these images into digital works of art, both still and moving. They will also learn to brand build their creativity on social media, such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and blogs and will develop their own GOAT websites. Students might create their own e-books or publish images as a class project using online book publishing software such as Blurb or Lulu.

Laurence Gartel is a globally acknowledged pioneer of the Digital Art movement with family ties to the Northeast Kingdom. Born and raised in New York City, he had the opportunity to teach Andy Warhol how to use the Amiga computer. He attended School of Visual Arts with graffiti artist Keith Haring, and earned his BFA in Graphics. He started his electronic career working side by side with Nam June Paik at Media Study/Buffalo in upstate New York.

Gartel is considered the father of the Paintbox Era (circa 1986), because he started this technique 10 years prior to any software being written for painting and photo-manipulation. His work has been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, Joan Whitney Payson Museum, Long Beach Museum of Art, Princeton Art Museum, PS 1, Norton Museum and in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of American History and the Bibliotheque Nationale.

Gartel has created artwork for Coca Cola, Absolut vodka, and pop culture stars such as Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears. He also created the artwork for the 2015 Grammy Awards.

Edvard Munch – Free Film and Lecture

The ScreamSaturday, May 9, 2015, at 2:30 pm

A free lecture and screening of the film “Edvard Munch: Paintings” will be held at Catamount Arts at 2:30 pm Saturday, May 9. The film and lecture, which focus on Munch’s most famous painting “The Scream” are free and open to the public.

The 40-minute film was produced, directed and filmed in 1968 by Clifford B. West. Through extensive use of a hand-held camera, the film focuses not only on Munch’s best-known masterpieces, including The Scream; it also offers a particular insight into works from his later years, which, until recently, have rarely been shown. The narration is based exclusively on Munch’s own writing. Bente Torjusen, the executive director of the AVA Gallery and Art Center in Lebanon, New Hampshire, will also give a lecture on the film, one of thirty documentaries on art and architecture made by West, her late husband.

Publicity surrounding the work of the Norwegian artist Munch (1863-1944) has escalated considerably in the past few years, not least because of the then-record auction price fetched in 2012 for the sale of one of the four painted versions of his reverberating Scream. December 12, 2013, marked 150 years since Munch’s birth and worldwide exhibitions throughout his anniversary year gave testament to his significance as a pioneer of modern Expressionism.

Clifford B. West (1916 – 2006), painter, muralist, teacher, photographer and documentary filmmaker, lived and worked throughout the Unites States, in Guatemala, in Norway, and, for almost two decades, in Italy. He spent the last 25 years of his life in New England, where he was particularly involved with the Lebanon, New Hampshire-based nonprofit organization, AVA Gallery and Art Center, both as an exhibiting artist and as a senior faculty member. His work, which includes large-scale murals in the United States and Guatemala, has been exhibited nationally and internationally. West received numerous awards for his paintings and films, including three Cine Golden Eagle Awards.

Bente Torjusen has been AVA Gallery and Art Center’s Executive Director since 1986. An art history graduate from the University of Oslo (Norway), her scholarship centered on the art of Edvard Munch. As Curator of Education for Oslo Municipal Art Collections, of which the Munch Museum is a part, she has written extensively on the art of Edvard Munch, including for the catalogue of the major Munch exhibition at the National Gallery in Washington, DC, in 1978. Her monograph, Words and Images of Edvard Munch was published in 1986 by Chelsea Green Publishing. She has also written narrations for several of the 16mm documentary films on art created and produced by her late husband, artist and independent documentary filmmaker Clifford B. West.

Out Late with Diana DiGioia

Diana DiGioia

Smart, sexy, funny and irreverent all describe the songwriting of Diana Di Gioia. Based on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and raised here in the Northeast Kingdom, Diana and her band Out Late are delighted to be returning to Catamount Arts on Saturday, May 2 at 7:30pm.

The Cape Cod Times calls her songs “Finely honed narratives with telling details sung with confidence and determination”. Together with family members Keith and Maura Leon and wife Melody Masi, Diana displays “sharp lyrical skills and smart songcraft” in styles from acoustic rock, to blues to folk. Selections from their 2 CD releases can be heard here on their web page (http://www.reverbnation.com/outlatewithdianadigioia).

Several of Di Gioia’s tunes describe the landscape and culture of rural Vermont, including the autobiographical “Family Scrapbook”, which sketches her family’s 1970’s era life in a 200-year-old Sutton farmhouse. Out Late’s first CD garnered praise in the lesbian and gay community, where it was chosen for a featured spot on the nationally-syndicated American Public Radio program “This Way Out”. The band’s second disc, “Either or World”, features eleven tightly-crafted songs, varied in topic and style and written with a diverse audience in mind. At their core, they are heartfelt stories of love, life and authenticity, full of courage and free of inhibitions.

Tickets: $12 Adults, $10 Members