Elevator construction begins!

Eric of Lajeunesse Construction, unfazed by the snow!

After years of planning, we’re finally beginning construction on our LULA elevator! The elevator will allow us to serve all visitors, and to offer all kinds of new concerts, exhibitions, readings, camps, lessons, and other programs – it will more than quadruple the accessible space in our building, and will reach five levels. For the first time, all visitors will be able to explore shows at the T. W. Wood Gallery, participate in rehearsals and performances with Monteverdi Music School, and take part in River Rock School activities throughout the building.

Building temporary walls around the construction site

We are deeply grateful for all those who have supported the project so far – including the State of Vermont, Vermont Arts Council, and National Life Group – but we are still in need of help to complete construction by June. We hope you’ll check back here for updates, come visit us, and help us make so much more possible at the Center for Arts and Learning!

Marking the center of the elevator shaft with a tiny hole that runs all the way up!

Learn more about the LULA project…

Ned Richardson

First Floor Gallery, Center for Arts and Learning, May 3 – July 6, 2019
Receptions May 3rd, 4-8pm and June 6th, 4-9pm

Image of microglass painting
Ned Richardson, untitled [glass micro jan31_2300]

Ned Richardson’s work explores landscape – envisioning the natural world as it connects and intersects with the digital landscape we now inhabit. Both have a presence in Richardson’s paintings and drawings, as do both traditional and extremely non-traditional art processes.

For his glass micro paintings, Richardson experimented with Generative Adversarial Networks. A GAN is a neural network-based ‘deep learning’ system, with open-source code widely available on the internet; these are systems set up in pairs to learn to identify and generate specific kinds of images through input of a massive data set. The networks work off of each other to ‘learn’ to generate their own versions of the images fed to them – for example, making their own image that looks like a landscape – based on feedback and critique from a second network. Here, Richardson input several of his own images and had the system generate work ‘like’ his to use as source material for the paintings (which are then manipulated not through Photoshop, but painstakingly by hand).

Richardson’s series of mesh-dot drawings explore imaginary datasets, drawn by hand. If you can describe a landscape scientifically through an accumulation of data points, a drawing of that data is, in a sense, a description of the imagined world it measures. These very analog pen-and-ink drawings are abstract, but suggest the emergent mathematical patterns in a flock of birds or the growth of wildflowers.

Ned Richardson lives and works in Moretown, and his work can regularly be seen at the Front gallery in Montpelier. He has been making art since the 1990s, and has explored media ranging from egg tempera painting to digital and video-based work influenced by conceptual art.

Noam Hessler: Searching for Connection

Second Floor Gallery, Center for Arts and Learning, May 3 – July 6, 2019
Receptions May 3rd, 4-8pm and June 6th, 4-9pm

Noam Hessler, The Lonely Spirit

Noam Hessler’s intricate, beautiful and grotesque creatures provoke empathy and introspection by inviting viewers to engage with a world that may at first seem alien. Eyeballs, teeth, and hair form creations like bezoars, repugnant because they are familiar but monstrous. Hessler asks the viewer instead to expand their view of what is beautiful, and to consciously seek connection and understanding with that which seems off-putting. On closer inspection, these creatures tell complicated stories. The intricate nuance and attention with which they’re rendered show that they are, above all, deeply loved.

Noam Hessler has been drawing for the past fourteen years, since he was one year old. His work has been largely influenced by his fascination with creatures of all sorts, from microorganisms to mythical beasts. He often creates stories or loose narratives with his drawings, and has also been exploring writing and sculpture. He has exhibited his work at Studio Place Arts, VCFA, and the Myles Court Barber Shop.

Call to Artists: Show at CAL during ArtsFest on June 6!

This year, the New England Foundation for the Arts is holding its Creative Communities Exchange conference in Montpelier – and we want to showcase excellent art from around the region while they’re here. Montpelier Alive is sponsoring an ArtsFest during the conference on Thursday, June 6th – an expanded version of Art Walk.

Thanks to everyone who has let us know they’re interested – we’ll be posting more info, including a full artist list, just as soon as we confirm everyone. See you June 6th!

Geof Hewitt Poetry Events

In conjunction with the Kellogg-Hubbard Library andPoemCity, we’ve got two poetry events coming up at the Center for Arts and Learning:

Introduction to Poetry Slams for Kids

Wed April 10, 2019, 3 p.m.

Ever wonder what a poetry slam is? Join Vermont’s reigning slam master, Geof Hewitt, to learn about slams and write your own slam poem! Then sign up for the poetry slam at the Center for Arts and Learning on April 13.

Youth Plus Poetry Slam

Sat April 13, 2019, 4 p.m.

Join slam master Geof Hewitt for an afternoon of poetry performed by participants ages 8 and above, including adults. This is a traditional slam with original writing only and a three-minute time limit. Participants should come prepared with two pieces of writing.

Both events will take place at River Rock School, which is accessible to all.

Mindy Fisher: Smirking Serpents Seizing Spaceships and Other Secretive Scenes

First Floor Gallery, Center for Arts and Learning, Feb. 1 – Apr. 27, 2019
Reception during Feb. 1st Art Walk, 4-8 pm

Mindy Fisher, Squid and Bunnies

Mindy Fisher calls her series of fantastically loud, cataclysmically calligraphic abstract paintings ‘ornaglyphs’. As the name suggests, there is an almost-language of symbolic characters in them – her marks seem like a system of writing lost to the world, and her colors suggest the chaos of a jungle of birds taking off all at once. They are abstract, but funny and full of personality, an all-over pattern that refuses to stay still. They call to mind the garish palette and crazy aliens of late-night cartoons, but when you look at them the colors create unlikely sophisticated harmonies. Mindy describes them as battle scenes, but not from earthly wars: these are how a bubbly six-year old, armed with a golden cape and a pink sword, might imagine her path to glory.

Mindy Fisher grew up in a small town in New Hampshire. In 1998 she moved to Chicago to study set design at Columbia College. She stayed in Chicago and focused on painting, cartooning, and self-taught animation. She taught at Right Brained Studio in Oak Park, Il. She now lives and works in Vermont. She has shown work all over the country, including Chicago, Cincinnati, Portland (Oregon), and Rutland, Vermont. Last year she participated in Vermont Studio Center’s Vermont Artists Week residency program.

Alexis Kyriak: Anima

Second Floor Gallery, Center for Arts and Learning, Feb. 1 – Apr. 27, 2019
Reception during Feb. 1st Art Walk, 4-8pm.

Image of a nude form and space
Alexis Kyriak, Seated Moon

Medieval people made pilgrimages, walking across entire countries to visit specific religious sites that held relics – parts of the bodies of saints. Though the reliquaries holding these objects were highly decorated, the important part was inside – you could often open a tiny door to reach in and hold the relic while praying. People believed they had to have this physical connection in order truly commune with the spiritual.

Alexis Kyriak’s work shares this sensibility. Her forms are never whole; they are not bodies carrying identities, but instead embody a perception of the elements, the seasons, the divine, the mythic. The spirit and body are almost one and the same, but there is a tension between weight and emptiness, light and darkness. Kyriak sees them as representing a concept of the feminine, but they are not women. She never gives them heads.

Alexis Kyriak lives and works in Northfield, Vermont. She has studied at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, the Art Students’ League, the National Academy of Fine Art & Design, the Brooklyn Museum School, and elsewhere. She has shown work locally at various venues including the Helen Day Center in Stowe, Studio Place Arts in Barre, and Artful Things in Lebanon, New Hampshire, among others.

James Secor: As Not Seen

First Floor Gallery, Center for Arts & Learning, Dec.7, 2018 – Jan. 26, 2019

James Secor, Units M-Q (Mickey D's), acrylic on paper, 2018
James Secor, Units M-Q (Mickey D’s), acrylic on paper, 2018

James Secor’s work often features that which you don’t see, or rather, what you don’t typically look at. Vermont tends to create landscape painters, and many of them focustheir view on our breathtaking hills and valleys, sunsets and lakes. Secor,instead, makes you look at a highway median, a no parking sign, the alley between buildings, the storage units you drive past on your morning commute. He is interested in the parts of the landscape that fall away as noise between views, that get glossed over.

Recently, Secor has been attracted by the strangeness of storage units. Their geometry and repetition can give them a formal, minimalist beauty, made all the stranger because of what may or may not be inside. They speak to hoarding and consumerism; they’re the last resort for when the stuff you have – owned,inherited, acquired by accident – becomes overwhelming. They are calm containers for the emotions we can’t bear to throw away.

Fill your storage unit at http://jamessecor.com/asnotseen

Through My Eyes: Digital Photography from the Montpelier Senior Activity Center

Second Floor Gallery, Center for Arts & Learning, Dec.7, 2018 – Jan. 26, 2019

Diana Celia, digital print

Through My Eyes is about new ways of seeing. Each of the artists has been pursuing a photographic approach to looking at the world, carefully framing or constructing a momentary perspective. The show is made up of works by students from the MSAC Digital Photography class and the Photo Walk Group, both led by Linda Hogan. The show includes works by Diana Ahern, Amy Davenport, Leyla Khasiyeva, Linda Hall, David Healy, Don Hirsch, Margot Lasher, Tracy Loyson, Sam Matthews, Erika Mitchell, Laura Morse, Susan Ritz, and Susan Stukey.

Saturday: Liz LeServiget Open Studio

Saturday, December 15, from 10-5, Liz LeServiget will have her studio open as a holiday pop-up store – paintings, hand-painted objects, prints, and more. Liz’ studio is on the first floor at CAL – down the stairs and to the left.