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Art Notes: A Club With a History to the Film Days Ends; Another Born Through Social Media Grows

For the past three decades or so, the Upper Valley Camera Club was the go-to source for photographers, most of them amateur, who wanted to build their skills and share their work.

But even a club with such deep roots can be uprooted by the digital revolution. This summer, the club’s leadership asked new leaders to step forward. The response wasn’t enough to provide a full slate of officers, and the club has since disbanded.

“It seemed to those of us who had been there for the last 10 years or so to be dying off,” said Ted Jerome, the club’s vice president for the past several years.

“There weren’t a lot of active photographers in the group,” said Maynard Wheeler, the club’s president. He and his wife had taken leadership roles from people who were in their 80s.

The Upper Valley once was a hub for photographers in Vermont and New Hampshire. The presence of ProCam, the White River Junction camera store, The Camera Shop of Hanover and Hot Shot Photo in Lebanon, among other retail outposts and professional studios, provided fertile soil in which photography could grow and thrive. The Upper Valley Camera Club was planted in that garden.

All those institutions are now gone. The digital revolution that has remade not only photography but most media has replaced those terrestrial concerns with virtual ones. A replacement for the camera club has already emerged.

In May 2012, Lisa Lacasse started the Quechee Area Camera Club with six friends from Quechee. She used the website Meetup.com, which caters to affinity groups. (Other Upper Valley Meetup groups comprise hikers, vegans, humanists, kayakers and entrepreneurs.) The club now has 175 online members, about 50 to 60 of whom are active members.

“That’s the beauty of Meetup,” Lacasse said. The social network allows people to participate at whatever level they want. If they want to post photographs, that’s fine. If they want deeper involvement, there are monthly meetings, weekly assignments, photowalks and workshops.

“I think that the format that those clubs online use, ... it’s an effective system,” Jerome said in a phone interview. He has joined the Quechee Area Camera Club, as have many other members of the UVCC.

The new club’s membership ranges from people who take pictures with their phones to professional photographers. Although a few members still have film cameras, participation is almost entirely digital, Lacasse said. The professionals often present workshops or tutorials at the club’s monthly meetings. The club has a supportive, friendly atmosphere, she added.

Lacasse has photography in her blood. Her father, Adrian N. Bouchard, was Dartmouth College’s first staff photographer. He worked at the college from 1937 to 1976, photographing student life, eminent guests, newly minted deans and other scenes of Dartmouth’s daily pageantry. Retired from a career as a sales rep for The North Face and other outdoor clothing brands, Lacasse now devotes a lot of her time to photography.

When the Upper Valley Camera Club disbanded, it divided its bank account between the Howe Library in Hanover and the Quechee photography club, providing $1,500 to each organization, Wheeler said. One loose end that hasn’t been tied up is the fate of the Howe’s annual Elden Murray Photography Contest, now in its 38th year.

“Right now we don’t have an answer to that,” said Mary White, the library’s director. Library officials are talking to members of Murray’s family and with AVA Gallery and Art Center in Lebanon. “We need another collaborator,” White said.

She wasn’t familiar with the Quechee camera club or Lacasse. “We’ll definitely reach out to her,” White said.

Lacasse said she’d love to have more members in the club. “It’s a pretty cool club and we have a whole lot of fun.”

Of Note

ArtisTree Gallery has issued a call for entries to for an autumn group exhibition, “Local Color-2013.” The show is open to Vermont and New Hampshire artists. The submission deadline is Sept. 20 at 4 p.m.

∎ The High Horses Therapeutic Riding Program hosts “Patterns Around Us,” photographs by Mary Gerakaris, on Sept. 20, from 5 to 8 p.m. Half the proceeds from sales will go to High Horses.

∎ The Utility Club of Lyme and Long River Studios are holding the annual Fine Art, Fine Food fundraiser on Sept. 28. The event features a silent art auction with wine and hors d’oeuvres, with the proceeds going toward scholarships and local charities. Tickets are $35 in advance at Lyme Country Store or at the door. Call 603-795-2904 with questions.

Openings and Receptions

“Field of the Stars: A Pilgrim Life on the Camino de Santiago de Compostela,” an exhibition that documents the recent walks by Kimball Union Academy students and staff and Upper Valley residents who have walked the pilgrimage route across northern Spain, opens Friday evening with a reception from 5:30 to 7:30 in KUA’s Taylor Gallery.

∎ “Inuverse,” sculptures by Brooklyn, N.Y., artist David Shaw, opens Saturday with a reception from 4:30 to 6 p.m. in The Picture Gallery at Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site in Cornish. Shaw will talk about his work at 5 p.m.

∎ “Landscape Reveries,” acrylic paintings that explore the elements of earth, air, fire and especially water, by Georgina Forbes, opens Monday at Norwich Public Library. A reception is planned for Wednesday evening, 5 to 7.

∎ Ledyard Gallery, in Hanover’s Howe Library, shows recent work in watercolor by Lynn Wiley.

Last Chance

Aidron Duckworth Art Museum in Meriden hosts “Service to the Birds: Meriden’s Bird Story,” which celebrates Meriden’s pivotal role in the effort to protect wild birds from commercial harvest, and an installation by Randolph artist Mark Goodwin that pulls together work in a variety of media to create “a study in collecting, paying attention and relationships,” through Sunday. Also at the museum: “Interiority,” large works on canvas from 1979-1981 by Aidron Duckworth and an outdoor exhibition of sculpture by Fitzhugh Karol, an Orford native now living in Brooklyn, N.Y., which remain on view into the fall.

∎ Windsor’s Cider Hill Gardens and Art Gallery hosts a mixed media exhibition featuring limited edition prints by Gary Milek, pottery by Susan Leader, Holly Walker and Stephen Procter, and sculpture by Patrick Johnson, through Sunday.

“A Garden Bestiary,” macro photographs by Peggy Richardson, is on view at the Hotel Coolidge’s Zollikofer Gallery through Wednesday.

Ongoing

AVA Gallery and Art Center opens “4 Artists, 4 Decades,” an exhibition celebrating the work of AVA co-founder Elizabeth “Lili” Mayor, and three other longtime AVA artists chosen by Mayor: Colleen Randall, Joe Keenan and the late Clifford West.

Springfield, Vt., native Jamie Townsend is the featured artist at Sculpturefest, the annual exhibition at the Woodstock home of Charlet and Peter Davenport and the nearby King Farm. Sculpturefest adds a third venue this year with a small exhibition of sculpture opening at the Woodstock History Center with a reception Sept. 12, starting at 5 p.m. Charlet Davenport will give a talk at 7 that evening on the local afterlife of sculpture from previous years’ shows. Directions to the Sculpturefest sites are available at www.sculpturefest.org.

Barnard-based BarnArts Center for the Arts is producing performances of ART , by Yasmina Reza in the King Farm Barn. For tickets and information call 802-332-6020 or go to www.barnarts.com.

∎ Dartmouth’s Hood Museum of Art is hosting a pair of exhibitions that examine Cubism. Foremost of the two is a show of Picasso’s “Vollard Suite,” a series of etchings made between 1930 and 1937, when Picasso was at his most fertile, along with prints by Rembrandt and Goya that inspired the Vollard prints. Accompanying the Picasso show is “Cubism and Its Legacy,” which features work by artists who developed cubism and others who followed their angled path. An opening party for the Vollard show is planned for Oct. 2. Also at the Hood: “Shadowplay: Transgressive Photography from the Hood Musem of Art,” an exhibition organized by Dartmouth studio art professors Virginia Beahan and Brian Miller, and “Evolving Perspectives: Highlights from the African Art Collection at the Hood Museum of Art.”

∎ “Chisel, Brush and Pen,” an exhibition of work by Winkie Kelsey, is on view in the stone carving studio at AVA Gallery and Art Center in Lebanon. The show is a benefit for AVA. Also, AVA has organized “A Celebration of Upper Valley Artists,” a group show at Pompanoosuc Mills in East Thetford, through Sept. 22.

∎ Tunbridge Library hosts an exhibition of photographs by Tunbridge native Emily Ferro.

∎ Giovanna Lepore shows “New Small Works,” recent oil and watercolor paintings at Galleria Giovanna Fine Art in Canaan. Sales benefit the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests. The gallery is located at 313 River Road, Canaan. For more info visit giovannalepore.com.

Gifford Medical Center in Randolph shows watercolors by Greg Crawford of Stockbridge, Vt., through Sept. 25.

∎ Scavenger Gallery in White River Junction shows recent paintings, sculpture and woodware by Ria Blaas, and jewelry and work in bronze by gallery owner Stacy Hopkins.

∎ BigTown Gallery in Rochester, Vt., exhibits “Folk Vision: Folk Art from New England and Beyond.”

∎ “Watercolor Stories,” paintings by members of the local chapter of the Vermont Watercolor Society, is on view at West Lebanon’s Kilton Public Library.

Art Notes appears in the “Valley News” on Thursday. Send email to artnotes@vnews.com.