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Art Notes: This Sale Isn’t Final: Lyme Studio Lives On With New Management

  • David Celone of Lyme will take over Long River Studios in Lyme, N.H. twenty two years after Peggy Little, of Lyme, founded the gallery for crafters and artists. Ownership will transfer on March first from Little and her business partner Barbara Newton of Lyme to Celone.<br/>(Valley News - James M. Patterson)

    David Celone of Lyme will take over Long River Studios in Lyme, N.H. twenty two years after Peggy Little, of Lyme, founded the gallery for crafters and artists. Ownership will transfer on March first from Little and her business partner Barbara Newton of Lyme to Celone.
    (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Purchase photo reprints »

  • David Celone, of Lyme, left,  shares a book of visual poetry with Peggy Little, of Lyme, middle, and Barbara Newton, of Lyme, right, at Long River Studios in Lyme, N.H. Tuesday, February 11, 2014. Celone will take over the store from Little and Newton on March first.<br/>(Valley News - James M. Patterson)

    David Celone, of Lyme, left, shares a book of visual poetry with Peggy Little, of Lyme, middle, and Barbara Newton, of Lyme, right, at Long River Studios in Lyme, N.H. Tuesday, February 11, 2014. Celone will take over the store from Little and Newton on March first.
    (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Stained glass by Greg Gorman is on display at Long River Studios in Lyme, N.H. Tuesday, February 11, 2014. Long River Studios was founded 22 years ago by sheep farmer and knitter Peggy Little and a group of fellow crafters. The store now sells works by about 100 artists and crafters. <br/>(Valley News - James M. Patterson)

    Stained glass by Greg Gorman is on display at Long River Studios in Lyme, N.H. Tuesday, February 11, 2014. Long River Studios was founded 22 years ago by sheep farmer and knitter Peggy Little and a group of fellow crafters. The store now sells works by about 100 artists and crafters.
    (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Purchase photo reprints »

  • David Celone of Lyme will take over Long River Studios in Lyme, N.H. twenty two years after Peggy Little, of Lyme, founded the gallery for crafters and artists. Ownership will transfer on March first from Little and her business partner Barbara Newton of Lyme to Celone.<br/>(Valley News - James M. Patterson)
  • David Celone, of Lyme, left,  shares a book of visual poetry with Peggy Little, of Lyme, middle, and Barbara Newton, of Lyme, right, at Long River Studios in Lyme, N.H. Tuesday, February 11, 2014. Celone will take over the store from Little and Newton on March first.<br/>(Valley News - James M. Patterson)
  • Stained glass by Greg Gorman is on display at Long River Studios in Lyme, N.H. Tuesday, February 11, 2014. Long River Studios was founded 22 years ago by sheep farmer and knitter Peggy Little and a group of fellow crafters. The store now sells works by about 100 artists and crafters. <br/>(Valley News - James M. Patterson)

For the past few years, David Celone has lived a few doors down from Long River Studios, the small, friendly art and craft gallery in Lyme.

Despite his proximity to Long River, he hadn’t really heard much about it until recently. A post on one of the many listservs in the Upper Valley alerted him to the gallery’s possible closing and he set out to investigate.

A few short weeks later and it’s Celone who will take over management of the gallery from a trio of partners who are ready to step aside. His first order of business: Raise the gallery’s profile a bit.

“Here I was, three doors away and I didn’t know anything about it,” Celone said in an interview at Long River.

Celone’s involvement is a reprieve for Long River, which has quietly been serving a community of artists, most of them from Lyme or surrounding towns, for the past 22 years. For most of the winter, Peggy Little, the most active of the three partners who operate the gallery, was concerned that Long River might not survive. She was ready to hand it off, but until Celone appeared no one seemed ready to take it off her hands.

“Everybody wanted to help, but nobody wanted to take on the responsibility of it,” Little said.

That would have left a void in the Upper Valley’s art scene. There’s nothing else quite like Long River. Though it accepts work from artists and crafters from around the region, most of the 90 to 100 artists with work at the shop are local.

And unlike a traditional gallery, Long River has no owner, as such. It was started and is still run as a partnership, currently comprising Little, Barbara Newton and Charlotte Bimba. Since no one owns it, no one takes a profit. The gallery takes a 45 percent commission on work sold, not far from the 50 percent that standard galleries keep, but drops that to 35 percent for artists willing to “shop sit” for a few hours a week. The gallery pays its bills and sends the rest back to the artists and craftspeople whose work sells.

“It’s great ’cause it’s such a local and intimate kind of place,” said Matt Brown, a Lyme artist whose woodblock prints are a regular feature at Long River.

The only reason for the change at Long River is Little’s desire to step away. She turns 80 later this year.

C elone said he isn’t planning any big changes. “For the foreseeable future, I think this is going to run pretty much the way it’s been run,” he said. His wife, Lisa Celone, will join him in the partnership.

David Celone grew up in New Haven, Conn., and came to the Upper Valley in 1988 to enroll at Vermont Law School in South Royalton. After practicing law for a few years in White River Junction and Norwich, he worked in fundraising and alumni relations at Vermont Law, then at Dartmouth College. He’s currently taking a sabbatical to pursue a master’s of fine arts degree in poetry at Vermont College of Fine Arts.

He called Long River Studios “a hidden gem” that deserves wider appreciation. Most years, the gallery holds just three shows, in spring, late summer and fall. There might be room for more, Celone said.

He’d also like to see artists come in to talk about their work. Celone also runs a regular poetry reading series in White River Junction and said he could envision bringing writers into Long River for readings. All of this could make Long River into more of a hub for the arts, Celone said.

First, though, he said he would like to hear what artists think, and is talking to Lyme residents and business owners as well.

“In terms of my short-term vision, it’s not to make dramatic changes here,” Celone said. “It’s to make sure more people know this place exists” and to listen to people. “There’s a world of possibilities, but it’s going to remain true to its roots.”

Long River Studios is holding an inventory sale through Saturday. The prices on objects the gallery owns are discounted. After Saturday, the gallery will be closed for a week to take inventory.

Of Note

The Hood Museum of Art continues a slate of activities surrounding “In Residence: Contemporary Artists at Dartmouth” with a tour of the exhibition on Saturday at 2 p.m. On Wednesday, museum Director Michael Taylor will give a talk about the artist-in-residence program at Dartmouth at 5 p.m. in the museum’s auditorium. And a pair of lunchtime gallery talks are planned for the coming weeks, one by studio art professor Colleen Randall on Feb. 25 and one on March 1 by Taylor.

Last Chance

AVA Gallery and Art Center in Lebanon shows work in cardboard by Gil Scullion, recent paintings by Enrico Riley, collages, assemblages and video by Rich Fedorchak and abstract paintings by Galen Cheney, through Friday. Chaney was to give a talk in the gallery today, but weather has forced a cancellation.

Ongoing

Scavenger Gallery in White River Junction is showing “bikepots,” ceramics by Norwich artist Jim Walsh that replicate bicycle sprockets and cranks

The Main Street Museum in White River Junction hosts “Written in Stone: Voices of the GLBTQ Community,” the museum’s first show consisting solely of work on the expression of gender and sexual identity.

Newport Library Arts Center hosts “Selections 2014,” featuring the work of artists chosen from last year’s juried regional show, Rosemary Conroy, Shawna Gibbs, Christine Hawkins, Bea Jillette, Hal Shukovsky and Rick Stockwell.

The Chandler Gallery in Randolph hosts “Making an Impression,” works by 18 printmakers from around Vermont, including Upper Valley artists Jeanne Amato, Brian Cohen, Victoria Herzberg, Judith Lampe, Sue Schiller, Marilyn Syme and Sheryl Trainor , through March 9 . Also at the Chandler: paintings by South Royalton artist Joan Hoffmann, through Feb. 19.

The arts program at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center exhibits mixed media by Donna Allen, woodblock prints by Matt Brown, photographs by Cathy Cone, acrylics, watercolor and colored pencil by Amy Fortier and photographs by Carla Kimball and will continue through March.

The annual Elden Murray Photographic Exhibition and Competition is on view in Ledyard Gallery in Hanover’s Howe Library.

“Lemurs Will Follow You Home,” recent work by Strafford artist Cecily Herzig, is on view in the Hotel Coolidge’s Zollikofer Gallery in White River Junction through March 19.

The Norwich Historical Society is exhibiting six recently acquired portraits of members of two of Norwich’s earliest families, the Hutchinsons and the Lovelands, into late June. Visitors are welcome Wednesdays and Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., or by appointment. Call 802-649-0124 or email info@norwichhistory.org.

Recent artwork by Jo Levasseur is on view through February at South Royalton Market.

“Penguins, Polar Bears and Kodiak Cubs,” wildlife photographs by Rochester, Vt., resident Barb DeHart, are on view at Gifford Medical Center in Randolph through March 26.

“Houses, Barns and Bridges of Tunbridge,” photographs by retired architect Alec Frost, is on view at Tunbridge Public Library.

Norwich Public Library exhibits paintings by local members of the Vermont Watercolor Society through Feb. 27. The show includes paintings by Sue Bridge, Jennifer Brown, Cynthia Crawford, Nancy Dean, Jennifer Dembinski, Kathy Finnigan, Rebecca Gottesman, Nan Green, Debbie Hamilton, Owen Hamilton, Vickie Herzberg, Judy Miller, Kate More, Kate Reeves, Deborah Rice and Jo Tate.

BigTown Gallery in Rochester, Vt., hosts “Juice Bar,” a colorful winter group show.

“Observing Vermont Architecture,” an exhibition of photographs by Curtis B. Johnson at the Middlebury College Museum of Art, is a companion to the publication of Buildings of Vermont , which features Johnson’s photographs and text by Glenn Andres, a longtime Middlebury College art professor. The exhibition remains on view through March 23.

Alex Hanson can be reached at ahanson@vnews.com or 603-727-3219.