Art Notes: The Starving Artist and Manual Labor

The starving artist is more or less a myth: discuss. People who head off to art school often have resources at their disposal, but more importantly, living a creative life means conjuring subsistence in ways that most people wouldn’t think possible. If an artist goes hungry, it’s because he’s chosen work as sustenance.

If there’s an exception to the statement above it’s the young, the hopeful, the beginners, those brave souls just building up the store of guile and guts that will either establish them as artists or find them more pedestrian careers as gravediggers, car thieves, knife sharpeners or night watchmen.

The new exhibition opening this weekend at White River Junction’s Main Street Museum is titled “Survival Soup.” It sounds messy and vital. It features the work of Travis Dunning and Matt Riley, who live in Stockbridge, Vt., and Seth Tracy, a Randolph native, along with White River Junction artist Drew Peberdy, and perhaps his brother Ben. All are in their 20s. A reception is planned for 6 to 8 Saturday evening, followed by music from Final Frontier. The reception is free, the band is $8, but no one is ever turned away for lack of funds.

The museum also has Reckless Breakfast and Green Room on stage tomorrow night.

∎ If manual labor is your means of survival, AVA Gallery and Art Center in Lebanon opens “The Way We Worked,” a traveling show from the Smithsonian Institution, on Saturday with a reception from 3 to 5 p.m.

Adapted from an exhibition developed by the National Archives and Records Administration, “The Way We Worked’’ traces the changes that have affected the workforce and the environment over the past century and a half. Historical photos, archived accounts from workers, film, audio and interactive components tell the story. AVA is a fitting locale, since the building was until 1985 the home of the Carter clothing factory. It will be on display through Jan. 27. AVA also holds a “Holiday Salon,” with works clustered on the gallery walls.

Holiday Shows

People make art because they’re driven to do so, without thought for what it’s worth or whether it will sell. But artists need to make a living, and the proliferation of holiday shows that feature small, portable, wrappable, relatively inexpensive fine art and craft present an opportunity to connect with and support local artists.

∎ Two Rivers Printmaking Studio in White River Junction holds a group show for the holidays that features small matted works by the studio’s artist-members.

∎ BigTown Gallery in Rochester, Vt., is exhibiting small works by the impressive roster of artists it represents, including several Dartmouth studio art professors.

∎ Woodstock’s Artistree Gallery hosts “Fine Works in Miniature,” a holiday show, through Dec. 22.

∎ Scavenger Gallery in White River Junction is hosting an Artist’s Bazaar through Dec. 24. Participating artists are Stacy Hopkins, Ria Blaas, Toby Bartles, David Powell, Robin Mix and Ara Cardew.

∎ Randolph’s Chandler Gallery opens its Holiday Bazaar, a yearly exhibition of fine craft, tomorrow. The bazaar is open to the public Thursdays and Fridays, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., through Dec. 21.

∎ Newport’s Library Arts Center holds its annual “Gallery of Gifts.” It features work by more than 80 of the area’s artists and artisans, and is open through Dec. 22.

∎ “The Holly & the Ivy,” a holiday group exhibition, is on display at Windsor’s Nuance Gallery.

Last Chance

∎ Kimball Union Academy in Meriden hosts a “Bicentennial Art Exhibit,” featuring work by faculty members Ursula Fries-Herfort, Julie Haskell, Jim Schubert and David Stern, in the school’s Taylor Gallery, through tomorrow.

∎ Colby-Sawyer College in New London holds an exhibition of work by its fine arts faculty in the college’s Marian Graves Mugar Art Gallery through tomorrow. The show features work by Loretta S.W. Barnett, Debbie Campbell, Lucy Mink-Covello, Nicholas Gaffney, Brandy Gibbs-Riley, David Ernster, Jon Keenan, Michael Lovell, Mary Mead, Hilary Walrod and Bert Yarborough.

∎ Well-known artist Gary Milek is donating 20 percent of the proceeds from his exhibition at Cider Hill Gardens and Gallery in Windsor to the Lucy Mackenzie Humane Society. Gary and Sarah Milek adopted their dog Jebbie from Lucy Mackenzie 12 years ago. The show is up through Sunday.


Works by illustrator and artist Charley Harper, best known for stylized wildlife prints, posters and book illustrations, are on display at the Montshire Museum of Science in Norwich through Feb. 3. The show, “Beguiled by the Wild: The Art of Charley Harper,” salutes his lifelong love of nature. Harper, who died in 2007, called his style “minimal realism.’’

An added element to this exhibit: students and instructors from the Center for Cartoon Studies in White River Junction have done a series of one-page comics about the natural world, incorporating Harper’s techniques.

∎ Vermont Special Arts exhibits “Seeing With New Eyes” at Mt. Ascutney Hospital in Windsor, which features work done by participants in a recent photography program for people with disabilities.

∎ “Oil Paintings by Myra Hudson,” a solo show from the Royalton artist, is on view at the Tunbridge Public Library. It includes landscapes and figure paintings and is Hudson’s first solo show.

∎ Ledyard Gallery in Hanover’s Howe Library exhibits Bernard Trumpower’s photographs of Dartmouth’s Brout Orchids, through Dec. 26. The orchids themselves, 1,000 plants donated by Dartmouth alum Alan P. Brout, can be seen by the public on the fourth floor of the Life Sciences Complex on the north campus, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

∎ “Light and Space,” an exhibition of large-scale prints by East Barnard artist Sabra Field, and work by fiber artist Karen Madden of Poughquag, N.Y., sculptor Pat Musick of Manchester, Vt., and Springfield, Vt., painter Dan O’Donnell, is on view in the Great Hall of the renovated Fellows Gear Shaper factory in Springfield, Vt.

∎ “The Past Meets with the Future,” paintings, drawings and mixed media by West Lebanon artist Fiorella Tasca Buck, is on view at West Lebanon’s Kilton Public Library.

∎ Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center exhibits four new works by fabric artist Joan Morris, who uses a proprietary printing process to place thin layers of precious metals onto dyed silk, through Jan. 21. The new works hang in the niches at the south end of the hospital’s East Mall.

∎ The Hood Museum of Art exhibits “Crossing Cultures: The Owen and Wagner Collection of Contemporary Aboriginal Australian Art at the Hood Museum of Art,” which offers a survey of Australian Aboriginal work since the 1960s, and “Stacey Steers: Night Hunter House,” a recent Hood acquisition by the Denver multimedia artist.

∎ The Main Street Museum exhibits “Green Mountain Graveyards,” photographs by Scott Baer and Dan Barlow, through December.

∎ “Healing With Art,” an exhibition that seeks to aid the healing process for cancer patients, is among the exhibitions on view at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. Fall shows include mosaics by Susan Whelihan, paintings by Richard Widhu, photographs by Stuart DuBoff, paintings by Shelli DuBoff, drawings by Kathleen Swift, mixed media by Karen Kamenetzky and work from the Global Children’s Art Program.

Art Notes appears in the “Valley News” on Thursday. Notices must arrive two weeks prior to the Thursday before an event. Send email to