Saturday: Family paint class with Katie O’Rourke

We’re hosting a special family version of our Mocks and Smocks event tomorrow at the T.W. Wood Gallery with local artists Katie O’Rourke. This class is perfect for families with children ages 8 and up. Look at this nighttime owl painting we’ll be working on together!

Owl and full moon, painting by Katie O'Rourke
Get into the Halloween spirit with this painting!

The class is on Saturday, October 23rd from 2 – 4 PM. This is the only family class we will have in this winter’s series.

One parent/child ticket is $40 and covers supplies for one painting. Additional children and canvases can be added to your ticket purchase. RSVP your canvas(es) today!

5 Questions with Emma Norman

This Friday’s Art Walk will feature Emma Norman’s work in our first floor studio gallery. Emma is one of CAL’s studio artists. We recently had a chance to ask her a few questions to better know her and her work. You’re invited to meet the artist at the reception: Friday, October 1, 2021, 5-7 PM.

Image from Emma Norman's exhibit at CAL
from “In the Night of Day”, currently on exhibit at CAL through December.

What is your background? 

I was born in Hawaii in 1988 and grew up in Vermont and Washington, D.C. I went to Pitzer College in Claremont, CA, and completed a Master’s in Visual Arts from Vermont College of Fine Arts in Montpelier in 2017. In addition to photography, I have also spent many years working in the coffee industry. I recently moved back to Vermont after a decade of living in the San Francisco Bay Area.

When and where did you start pursuing your art? 

My dad is a novelist and my mom is a poet, and they encouraged me to explore the arts from a young age. I took my first photography class at 11 years old in a repurposed Maryland amusement park called Glen Echo. I had a great photography teacher in high school named Karen Keating, who also ran the Glen Echo darkroom. She encouraged me to attend the Maine Photographic Workshops (now the Maine Media Workshops) where I learned darkroom techniques and alternative processes from the talented cyanotypist Brenton Hamilton. When I was 15, I began a mentorship with East Montpelier photographer and master printer Andrew Kline.

Who and what has influenced you the most ?

In addition to my teachers, my early influences were photographers Sally Mann, Francesca Woodman, and Claude Cahun. I cast a wide net of inspiration, from writers to musicians to other photographers and visual artists.

How would you best describe your style? 

I try to strike a balance between the formal and intimate. I like to explore narrative, memory, historicity, queer representation, and everyday life. Someone once told me I have a “promiscuous sensibility” which I took to mean that my influences are very eclectic. I have also been described as a magpie- I guess I am a collector and a maximalist! I tend to think of my work as pretty straightforward, though, and not overly reliant on concept.

Do you have any dreams or inspirations you are currently pursuing or would like to create?

I am getting ready to launch a small commercial portraiture business here in Montpelier and looking forward to becoming more immersed in our local arts scene. Please contact me if you’d like to have a portrait made!

I am currently working on a long term photography and oral history project called See My Heart, about a friend of mine from San Francisco. I met Morgan when I was working as a barista at Pinhole Coffee in Bernal Heights, San Francisco. I soon realized that my new friend was exceptional in myriad ways, and I became interested in helping to share her incredible life stories with the public through the form of an artist book. 

 Morgan has performed comedic autobiographical storytelling since the 80s, and has a successful woodcraft business. While she has entertained countless audiences with vulnerable (and hilariously rendered) stories of her gender transition from male to female, See My Heart explores the stories which haven’t made it onto the stage. This book offers a glimpse beyond Morgan’s gender and into the untold personal experiences of a talented woodworker, an important community member, and a cherished friend.  

Morgan in Her Element, Emma Norman

See My Heart is also the story of a friendship between two queer people of different generations (I’m 33 and Morgan is almost 70!) who’ve come together to ensure that her stories of adventure, survival, addiction, recovery, transition, love, loss, and triumph are not lost to history. Rather, we want to uplift and amplify these unique memories and present them in the timeless, fine-art medium of an artist book. I have a GoFundMe set up if you would be interested in helping me to complete this exciting project.

Our first floor Studio Gallery is sponsored by The Drawing Board, Montpelier’s arts supply and framing shop.

The SHARE Room is open!

Located in B5 (basement level), the SHARE Room is open for public use. It’s a self-serve swap room for usable art materials. The room is open any time the CAL building is open: Monday – Friday from 8 am – 5 pm and on the weekends from 10 am to 4 pm.

As the Surplus Hub for Artistic Resource Exchange, the SHARE Room is designed with these goals in mind:

  • Divert reusable items from the waste stream: please share your art materials with others.
  • Offers low-cost access to materials: art supplies can be expensive and hard to find. It’s FREE to use the SHARE Room
  • Easy and convenient swapping: come by when it’s convenient for you. No appointments needed. Take whatever you want to use.

Today’s items include: frames, ribbons, scrap wood, magazine and more. Every day is different. We only ask that items left behind are useable for the next person. No trash, please!

We can also host a swap event for your group! Please email us to schedule one: info@cal-vt.org

We are grateful for the general operational support of the Vermont Arts Council, Vermont Humanities Council, and the City of Montpelier for their support of our work, including the SHARE Room.

Mocks and Smocks Fall/Winter 2021

Painting by Cindy Griffith

In collaboration with the T.W. Wood Gallery, we’re excited to present Mocks and Smocks to the Central Vermont community. This is an alcohol-free paint and sip event held every 3rd Friday at the T.W. Wood Gallery. These run from 6 to 8 PM and are appropriate for ages 14 and up.

A special family event will be held on Saturday, October 23rd as well. This is great for groups with multiple children and geared for ages 8 and up.

Teachers include Katie O’Rourke and Cindy Griffith. All classes include paints and canvas, and refreshments. To see the schedule and to purchase tickets, click the button below.





Jess Quinn, CAL’s new facilities coordinator

Jess Quinn headshot

We are pleased to announce that artist Jess Quinn has agreed to join the Center for Arts and Learning as its new facilities coordinator. Starting this August, Jess will work to address building needs as we transition from summer into fall, as well as attending to general maintenance of our home, 46 Barre Street. She’s already been unclogging sinks, checking on heating systems, and caulking up windows. Please introduce yourself when you see her.

Jess Quinn headshot

Jess Quinn is a native to the Northeast and recently returned to Vermont from Maine. She is a graduate from Eckerd College in Environmental Studies, holds a Fine Arts degree from MWPAI/Pratt Brooklyn and is currently pursuing a certification in Botany. She has been managing properties and caretaking estates since graduating college and has pursued many of her passions such as working as a private chef, artist. farmer and sailor. She is excited to team-up with Phayvanh at the Center for Arts and Learning. Her email is: jess@cal-vt.org

Center for Arts and Learning Reopens for Montpelier Art Walk, June 4th

Art Walk Map for June 2021.

MONTPELIER, VT  — June 1, 2021 —  The Center for Arts and Learning (CAL) is reopening to the public starting June 4th to coincide with Montpelier’s Art Walk program, beginning at 4 PM. CAL is located at 46 Barre Street (number 6 on the map)

Featured during this one-night event is Chris Jeffrey, whose new glass works will be on display. He’ll be available for a meet and greet during Art Walk. CAL’s in-house artists that will open studios also include Liz Le Serviget and Michelle Kessler.

From the T.W. Wood Gallery’s contemporary archive, five artists will be on display in the second floor gallery. They include: Ray Brown, Claire Van Vliet, Phil Osgatharp, and Geneva MacDonald.

The first floor gallery features artwork currently for sale as part of a fundraiser for the T.W. Wood Gallery. They include works by: Dennis Lucas, Kari Meyer, Sue Stukey, Michelle Lesnak, Caroline Tavelli-Abar, Lois Eby, Joy Spontak, Roger Erikson, and Carolyn Ann Steward

Both exhibits will run through August 27th, with an opening reception during the June Art Walk. They are curated by CAL’s exhibits committee, led by Phillip Robertson. The public is invited to return throughout the summer to view these works. The Center for Arts and Learning will now be open 8 AM to 5 PM Mondays through Fridays, and from 10 AM – 4 PM on the weekends. 

A full listing of all the Montpelier Art Walk participants can be found here.

Montpelier Art Walk ad for June 2021.

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About the Center for Arts and Learning

The Center for Arts and Learning is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit 22,000 square foot facility at 46 Barre Street, Montpelier, Vermont where arts nonprofits and independent artists of any medium or modality can draw inspiration, create, perform, and connect with a larger artistic community.

Founded in 2012, CAL houses more than 25 studios — in addition to the founding partners, the T.W. Wood Gallery and Museum and the Monteverdi Music School.

CAL is supported by the founders and artists renting the studios, donations from the general public, and various municipal and state grants. 

Phayvanh Luekhamhan to Helm Center for Arts and Learning

For Immediate Release: March 26, 2021

Montpelier, Vt. – March 26, 2021 – The Center for Arts and Learning (CAL) Board of Directors today announced that Phayvanh Luekhamhan will step into the role of executive director starting April 1.

In this role, Luekhamhan will oversee the operation of the 22,000 sq. ft. arts facility located in Montpelier’s Barre Street District and seek to create new resources for artists and cultural opportunities for the Central Vermont community.

“In touring the CAL facility, I saw a lot of potential for new programs and initiatives,” said Luekhamhan. “I’m excited to work with the board, member artists/organizations and the community to make this place where everyone can connect with art and engage their own creativity.”

Phayvanh Luekhamhan

A practicing poet, Luekhamhan previously held roles of director of operations at LION Publishers, a nonprofit member-based organization focused on supporting digital news publishers, director of business development, finance, and administration for the award-winning online publication VTDigger.org, and executive director at Montpelier Alive. She and Rachel Senechal co-founded Poem City a monthlong, city-wide celebration of poetry that has been adopted by three other Vermont communities.

Luekhamhan also holds a certificate in nonprofit management from Marlboro College Graduate School.

Founded in 2012, CAL houses more than 25 member artists, writers, nonprofits, and makers — along with founding members, the T.W. Wood Gallery and Museum and Monteverdi Music School.

“The board believes that CAL is poised to grow into a more active role as one of the anchor community arts institutions in the Central Vermont region,” said CAL Board President Elliott Bent. “Phayvanh is the person to take us there. She’s a practicing artist with extensive nonprofit management experience and a track record of getting things done. We’re absolutely thrilled that she’s joining the organization.”

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About the Center for Arts and Learning

The Center for Arts and Learning is a nonprofit 22,000 square foot facility in Montpelier, Vermont where arts nonprofits and independent artists of any medium or modality can draw inspiration, create, perform, and connect with a larger artistic community.

River Rock School Closing

It is with great sadness that we say goodbye to River Rock School, which is closing its doors this summer. They were one of our founding partners, and have been instrumental in developing the Center for Arts and Learning as a place where students, artists, and our whole neighborhood can come together. We’ll miss their plays, their exuberance, and their laughter. We hope all River Rockers know they will always have a home here at the Center for Arts and Learning, and will continue to be an important part of our community.

We’ll be hosting a mega-yard-sale, with social distancing, on Saturday, July 11th (rain date July 12th) to help spread the River Rock love to all our neighbors – drop by (in a mask, please) to pick up everything from awesome kids’ books to skis and skates to furniture; proceeds will support River Rock.

If you would be interested in becoming a partner in the Center for Arts and Learning, or have a nonprofit program that would be interested in space for the fall, please get in touch. We are excited for our next chapter, and we want to wish everyone from River Rock all the best.

Studios available!

Several private studios are available now for artists, musicians, and writers available in a community of creative people. Our building is currently closed to the general public, but accessible by studio tenants. Most spaces are about 8’x10.5′. Limited parking, wifi, utilities included, starting at $220/month. Please note our shared facilities are currently closed, and we’re asking visitors to wear masks. We’d love to have you join us – contact us for details!

Black Lives Matter.

Our doors have been closed to the general public since mid-March, and we miss all of you. In this time of grief and unrest following the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and far too many others, we want to reiterate that everyone is welcome at the Center for Arts and Learning. We stand with the Black community and support calls for equity, justice, and an end to systemic racism.

If you are an artist of color looking for studio space, practice space, or exhibition opportunities locally — or would be interested in becoming more involved with CAL — please let us know. We want to help, and we’re listening.

If you are an artist of color looking for resources, or are an ally interested in learning more and working in solidarity, these resources may be helpful: