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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.