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Art Notes: Search Yields AVA Gallery’s New Leader

  • Paul N. “Trip” Anderson has been named the new director of the AVA Art Gallery and Center in Lebanon.

  • Barbara Newton's show "Landscape Collages of New England" is on display at the Osher@Dartmouth office in Lebanon, N.H., from August 3 to September 28, 2016.



Valley News Staff Writer
Thursday, September 08, 2016

After an eight-month search, the AVA Gallery and Art Center in Lebanon has named Paul N. “Trip” Anderson, a grants officer at the Worcester, Mass., Art Museum with an extensive background in art, architecture and art history, as its next executive director.

Anderson will succeed outgoing director Bente Torjusen, who retires on Dec. 2 of this year, after a 30-year tenure. Anderson begins his new job on Nov. 1.

Anderson, who has lived in Grantham since 1999, takes over an organization that will open a brand-new Sculptural Studies building in October, and has raised $1.8 million in its ongoing $3.5 million capital campaign. The operating budget for the next fiscal year, beginning Sept. 1, is $710,000, Torjusen said.

Since Torjusen became director, the gallery moved into the former Carter-Kelsey building on Bank Street, expanded its exhibition space, added a digital arts media lab, a resource library, seven teaching studios, administrative offices and 20 artist studios.

In addition, the gallery and art center has broadened its offerings in terms of art classes, after-school programming, and free or low-cost programs for such under-served populations as the elderly, and adults and children with disabilities and chronic medical conditions.

“I’m very excited to take on this job. In many ways it caps everything I’ve done in my career and brings it all together. It allows me to use the skills and experience I’ve acquired from different industries over the arc of a career,” said Anderson in a phone interview.

AVA Board Chairwoman Sloane Mayor said in a phone interview that Anderson was chosen from a short-list of four candidates.

The initiatives he spearheaded at the Worcester Art Museum, which included securing funding, attracting new audiences, and helping to establish a cultural district in the city, were the same kind of projects that AVA has undertaken — and wants to expand.

“We’re at a juncture where the organization is growing and we’re looking at some program build-out. (Anderson) wants to reach out more regionally as opposed to only locally. ... He is very mission-driven,” Mayor said.

“His interests and expertise are so well-aligned with what AVA is about,” said Torjusen. “He is eminently well-suited to bring AVA to the next chapter.”

Anderson grew up in western New York state, near Jamestown. He first came to the Upper Valley when he was in high school at Phillips Academy Andover in Massachusetts, and was invited by a friend to visit a family home in Enfield. He also has family in both Lyme and Norwich, he said.

Anderson went on to Harvard University, where he received a bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts. Art and architecture were already in his blood, Anderson said.

He grew up “drawing and sketching and sculpting. My three-dimensional skills were better than my two-dimensional skills,” he said.

Anderson was greatly influenced in his career choice, he said, by an uncle, the late J. Timothy Anderson, who also went to Andover and Harvard and trained in architecture under the eminent German architect Walter Gropius.

Tim Anderson, who received three National American Institute of Architects awards for historical renovation, was known for his advocacy of adaptive reuse, the practice of preserving old, abandoned urban industrial architecture by turning it into housing and commercial space.

He helped to begin the redevelopment of the Boston waterfront in the 1960s, and worked throughout New England and the South. (Anderson was also the father of the Rev. Jennie Anderson, the new pastor at St. Barnabas Church in Norwich.)

That kind of adaptive reuse, said Anderson, is what the AVA Gallery and Art Center has carried out in its own rehabilitation of the former Carter-Kelsey work clothes factory, and its adoption of sound environmental practices in energy use.

When Anderson heard that Torjusen was going to retire, and that the search for a successor was on, he made inquiries, he said.

The search and initial interviews were led by the Arts Consulting Group, a national firm with an office in Boston. (Pamela Pantos, former director of Opera North, is a vice-president of Arts Consulting Group in Boston.)

Torjusen is a “hard act to follow,” Anderson said. The job description for the executive director position was, he said “very daunting and appeared challenging at first glance.”

But as he researched further, Anderson said, he realized that at different points in his career he’d already carried out the duties called for in the AVA job description.

There will be a one-month overlap between Anderson taking on his new duties, and Torjusen’s departure. Anderson said that his first job is to “learn as much about AVA as I can as quickly as I can.”

Anderson has no intention of instituting sweeping changes when he comes to AVA.

“It has built up such an incredible reputation, it has such a great pedigree. I don’t want to tinker too much with success on the one hand but on the other, success breeds new opportunities to innovate and reach out,” he said.

“If there is change it’s going to come very slowly and for very good reasons,” Anderson said.

Openings and Receptions

Lyme artist Barbara Newton exhibits her collages of New England landscapes at the Osher at Dartmouth office at 7 Lebanon Street in Hanover. There will be a reception for the artist today from 3 to 5 p.m. The show is open Monday through Thursday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and on Fridays from 8:30 to 1 p.m. The exhibition runs through Sept. 28.

Art Classes: Gerald Auten, the director of the Studio Art Exhibition program at Dartmouth College, will lead a “Drawing Dimension” workshop this Sunday at the Aidron Duckworth Museum in Meriden, N.H. There is a registration fee of $45. Call the museum at 603-469-3444 to register, or go to the website, aidronduckworthmuseum.org/workshops.

Ongoing

Arabella, Windsor. The gallery exhibits works by local artists and artisans in a variety of media including jewelry, oils, acrylics, photography, watercolors, pastels and textiles.

AVA Gallery and Art Center, Lebanon. The 2015 Juried Art Show Award Winners exhibition ends Friday. “Take Another Look: Aging with Dignity” also ends Friday. A show of work by Upper Valley artists on view at Pompanoosuc Mills in Thetford continues through Sept. 24.

BigTown Gallery, Rochester, Vt. “Painting in the Neighborhood,” paintings by Celia Reisman and Peter Fried, is on view through Aug. 27.

Chandler Gallery, Randolph. “Boundaries,” a show featuring the works of numerous New England artists, continues through Sept. 5.

Cider Hill Art Gallery and Gardens, Windsor. Gary Milek exhibits his work in the gallery.

Converse Free Library, Lyme. Japanese nerikomi ceramics by John Quimby are on view until Sept. 30.

Aidron Duckworth Museum, Meriden. An exhibition of photographs by Ann Barlow, of Burlington, taken from her “Salt Storage Series,” runs through Sept. 11. “Developing Dimension,” works by Aidron Duckworth that show his ability to create depth in drawings and paintings. are up through Oct. 30. The sculpture of Terry Lund, on the grounds, is on view through Oct. 30.

Hall Art Foundation, Reading, Vt. “Landscapes After Ruskin: Redefining the Sublime,” curated by photographer Joel Sternfeld, continues through Nov. 27.

Hopkins Center, Hanover. The “POD Award Exhibition” in the Jaffe-Friede Gallery, featuring the work of Noah Joel Smith, Molly McBride and Jordan Craig, ends Sunday. Ending Sunday is the exhibition “Species: Jacob Strauss ‘22 Memorial Exhibition.”

Howe Library, Hanover. The Ledyard Gallery exhibits the work of Strafford artist Joshua Yunger through Sept. 28.

Main Street Museum of Art, White River Junction. The museum’s exhibition of memorabilia associated with the Cold War holds its annual Russian and Pan-Slavic Festival through Oct. 28.

Norwich Public Library, “Quotography: Photos by EM Reynolds” is on display until Aug. 30.

Kilton Public Library, West Lebanon. An exhibition of landscapes and cityscapes by Lyme painter and illustrator Meg McLean is on view through Sept. 30.

Library Arts Center, Newport. “The Landscape We Call Home” runs through Aug. 26.

Long River Gallery and Gifts, Lyme. “SKIN! (exposed)” includes works by Stephanie Reiniger, Betsy Derrick, Liliana Paradiso, Nils Johnson, Meredith Muse and Doug Masury. Through Sept. 6.

Roth Center for Jewish Life, Hanover. “White on Black: Images of Antigua,” an exhibition of photographs by Mort Wise, is on view through Sept. 13.

Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site, Cornish. Standing Lincoln is now on view. The work of minimalist artist Lynne Harlow is on view in the Picture Gallery: “SONG” continues through Aug. 30.

SculptureFest, Woodstock. The annual celebration of three-dimensional art, is on view at the farm of Charlet and Peter Davenport. This year’s featured sculptors are Judith Wrend and Joseph Chirchirillo. The show remains open for public browsing through foliage season. A second piece of the show, curated by Edythe Wright and Jay Mead, opens in September at the nearby King Farm. For more information, go to sculpturefest.org.

Tunbridge Library. “Quartets,” a show by artists Janet Cathey and Kristen Johnson, is on display until Sept. 3.

Two Rivers Printmaking Studio, White River Junction. A show of works by Carol Lippman, an artist from West Newbury, Vt., runs through Sept. 30.

White River Gallery, South Royalton. “Fully Involved,” a show of paintings by Bunny Harvey continues through Sept. 11. Hours are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. or by appointment (email dianparker9@gmail.com.) Call 802-498-8438 to make sure the gallery is open.

Nicola Smith can be reached at nsmith@vnews.com.