Art Notes: It’s Fundraiser Weekend at Three Local Organizations

For those of you who need further evidence that art resists central planning, consider that three substantial arts organizations are holding major fundraisers this weekend, two of them on the same night.

Since they are all worthy of support, let’s hope the events at AVA Gallery and Art Center, the Main Street Museum and Randolph’s Chandler Center for the Arts don’t step on each other too much.

The big dog among these fundraisers is AVA’s annual Silent Auction Party, scheduled for Saturday evening at AVA in Lebanon, from 5:30 to 8. The art and other goodies available at auction are on view now for early bidding.

The same night, the Main Street Museum in White River Junction holds a reception from 5 to 8 p.m., followed by writer, actor and comedian David Schein, who will perform Out Comes Butch, his celebrated one-man show examining the fluidity of gender and sexuality, at 8. Schein performed another of his shows at Main Streeet Museum a couple of years ago and expressed a willingness to do a benefit.

Schein, a Burlington native who now lives back in his home city, toured with and wrote with and for Whoopi Goldberg during her rise to fame in the 1980s and ’90s. He developed Out Comes Butch, in which he plays a cast of characters who are exploring gender roles, in the late 1970s and the early 1980s, and has performed it all over the world.

“It started as an improvisation with costumes,” Schein said in a phone interview. He had to codify it when it was published in 1981, but that didn’t change his intuitive approach to performing it. “I never do it the same way twice,” he said.

Schein spent the ’70s and ’80s in the San Francisco Bay Area, a time and place where nearly all traditional gender identities were up for debate and modification, at least among a subset of the population.

“Some people were really changing identity every minute,” Schein said.

When he revived Out Comes Butch a few years ago, Schein was concerned that it might seem dated. But nothing has really changed since then as far as people questioning their gender identities, he said.

Schein was unstinting in his appreciation of the Main Street Museum. “It’s just an elegant, wonderful place,” he said. “I don’t think there’s another place in the world that’s quite like it.”

The museum is hosting a reception from 5 to 8 with food provided by Crop Bistro in Stowe and the New England Culinary Institute. Schein performs at 8, and Aporia, a collaboration between Spencer Lewis and Robert Craig Baum, plays live music. They will be followed by members of the What Doth Life Project.

The accident of timing that puts the two fundraisers on the same night is about as unfortunate as it gets. AVA and the Main Street Museum are mainstays of the Upper Valley’s arts community.

There is a way to get to both. The museum is charging $45 for the reception and Schein’s show, and $15 for the 8 p.m. show alone, so a nimble art-lover could get from Lebanon to White River Junction to enjoy both events.

Tickets for AVA’s Silent Auction Party are available now at a cost of $25 for AVA members, $35 for nonmembers. At the door, tickets are $40, no matter who you are.

Also this weekend, Randolph’s Chandler Center for the Arts is holding an art auction fundraiser Sunday evening, 5 to 8. The aim of the fundraiser, aside from having a good time, is to pay down the cost of the Chandler’s recent renovation. The auction offers art, fine furniture, dinners out, even vacation weeks in Florida and the Cayman Islands. Admission is $10 and includes a chili dinner. Seating is limited. Call 802-728-6464 for more information.

Of Note

Entries are due by 4 p.m. today for the second annual Peeps Diorama Contest at Newport’s Library Arts Center. Winners will be announced at a “Peeps party” tomorrow evening, 5 to 6:30. The party’s festivities includes a Peeps s’more roast in the parking lot. The dioramas will be on view through March 30. It costs $5 to enter the contest, but the reception is free. See the LAC’s website,, for more information.

∎ ArtisTree Gallery in Woodstock has issued a call to artists for the third annual installment of “Unbound,” an exhibition that encourages entrants to reimagine the book. The show is open to all artists 18 and older working in New England and New York. Submissions must be postmarked or emailed by June 15 with a $30 entry fee.

∎ Visitors to the Jay DeFeo retrospective at New York’s Whitney Museum of American Art will be interested, as I was during a trip last weekend, to learn that DeFeo was born in Hanover. Mary Joan DeFeo was born in March 1929. Her parents divorced the next year and she moved with her mother to California, where she lived most of the rest of her life.

A handful of her sculptural, monumental and heavily layered oil paintings were included in MOMA’s landmark “Sixteen Americans” show in 1959, along with the likes of Jasper Johns, Ellsworth Kelly, Louise Nevelson and Frank Stella, which brought her national and international attention. She was often associated with the Beat generation, but her art, which included some truly astounding drawings and jewelry, painting and printmaking, seemed to me more resilient and, at times, uplifting than what I know of the Beats.

Openings and Receptions

Two members of Two Rivers Printmaking Studio, Rachel Gross and Sheri Tomek, have work on display at McGowan Fine Art in Concord. A reception is planned for tomorrow evening, 5 to 7. Call 603-225-2515 for more information.

Last Chance

“American Wilderness and Habitats: Oils and Watercolors,” an exhibition of paintings by South Royalton artist Joan Hoffmann, is on view at the Tunbridge Public Library through tomorrow.

∎ Hanover’s Howe Library hosts the 37th annual Elden Murray Photographic Exhibition and Competition through March 28.

∎ Bigtown Gallery in Rochester, Vt., continues a show of small works by the impressive roster of artists the gallery represents, through March.


Two Rivers Printmaking Studio in White River Junction exhibits work by its non-member faculty, a roster of artists from as far away as Boston who teach workshops at the studio.

∎ Newport’s Library Arts Center opens an exhibition of art by Newport Middle School and High School students with a reception tomorrow evening, 4 to 6.

∎ Norwich Public Library hosts an exhibition of photographs by Elizabeth Dean Hermann and traditional and contemporary textiles from India.

∎ “Underwater,” an exhibition of recent large oil paintings by Strafford artist Micki Colbeck, is on view at the Vermont Supreme Court in Montpelier.

∎ Scavenger Gallery in White River Junction shows prints by Lois Beatty, jewelry by Scavenger owner Stacy Hopkins, and work by Toby Bartles, Ria Blaas, Ben Peberdy and David Powell.

∎ e_SDLq How People Make Things,” an exhibition that looks at how all sorts of objects are made, is on view at the Montshire Museum of Science in Norwich through June 2. Admission to the Montshire is $12 for adults, $10 for children ages 2 to 17.

∎ Kimball Union Academy in Meriden continues its series of bicentennial art exhibitions with a show by graduates Emilie Bosworth-Clemmens, Tony Bragg and Nat Voss in the school’s Taylor Gallery. Through April 6.

∎ Nuance Gallery in Windsor hosts “Resiliency,” featuring work by Joyce Harden and Nance Silliman.

∎ Cafe 232 in South Strafford is showing paintings by the late Harlow Lent through the winter.

∎ Hartland Library hosts “Sundrenched Color,” paintings by Katheryne B. Sharp.

Art Notes appears in the “Valley News” on Thursday. Send email to