Art Notes: Sendoff Celebrates White River Junction Mainstays

Valley News Staff Writer
Thursday, May 10, 2018

In their 37 years in the Upper Valley, Margo and Ian Baldwin have made their mark on White River Junction’s creative ethos, particularly that which flows out of the Tip Top Building.

The downtown working space is home to Chelsea Green Publishing, now a leading publisher of sustainable-lifestyle books, which the Baldwins founded in 1984. It’s also home to Two Rivers Printmaking Studio, which Ian Baldwin founded after becoming enamored with printmaking on a trip to Mexico in the late 1990s.

But, as they say, all good things come to an end, including the Baldwins’ run in the Upper Valley. They recently sold their house in South Strafford and moved to Craftsbury Common, Vt., but will return for a goodbye party Friday night from 5 to 8:30, in the American Legion building at 129 South Main St. There will also be a pop-up exhibition of work by Ian Baldwin and other local artists, including those from Two Rivers and the Center for Cartoon Studies.

“Of course, after so many years, it’s a big change,” Ian Baldwin said in a phone interview Monday. “Like with anything like this, there’s some ambivalence.”

He is already missing, for example, the Upper Valley birding network, “which is really just a gossip place. I saw this, I heard that,” he said. “Now I’m out of that ecosystem.”

To his surprise, he also became part of the Upper Valley’s art ecosystem. When he and Margo first moved to the area, he wasn’t very interested in art. But one day in the late 1980s, he walked into the Hanover Inn for a lunch meeting with Bente Torjusen, who was then just starting her long tenure as director of AVA Gallery and Art Center in Lebanon, and a mutual friend of theirs.

“We discussed a book project, and oh, nine months later, Chelsea Green published its first and only art book,” Baldwin said. The book, by Torjusen, was Words and Images of Edvard Munch, “and if I say so myself, it was one of the best art books, certainly published by a small press, and I think published period. We got it done and published in nine months.”

In those nine months — quite a short turnaround in the publishing world — Baldwin thinks he put some 2,000 miles on his car, commuting between Chelsea, where and he and Margo were living at the time, and Norwich, where Torjusen lived with her husband, the artist Clifford West, and their two young daughters.

Also over those nine months, “I got very interested in art,” he said, and started taking classes with West at AVA. “That story really is the origin” of his artistic life, which led to Two Rivers — also by chance.

Though he initially favored oil painting, Baldwin fell in love with printmaking while vacationing in the Mexican city of Oaxaca. He was walking down the street and came upon the studio of the great Zapotec artist Rufino Tamayo. The studio and courtyard were open.

“You could come in and do art. You could draw, paint, do etching, lithography …,” Baldwin trailed off. “The machines were really old, they were these 19th-century machines, but the spirit of sitting under the sun in an open patio, and chatting and having fun with other artists and doing your own work, was a very inspiring experience,” one he wanted to take back home when he returned in 1999.

Today, Two Rivers enjoys a rich schedule of exhibitions and workshops, and has been the chosen site for such well-known Upper Valley artists as Sheri Hancock-Tomek, Lois Beatty and Elizabeth “Lili” Mayor, among many others.

But in the past few years, Baldwin hasn’t been doing much art.

“I will be getting back to that when I’m ready, which I’m not now,” he said. Lately, he’s been writing. He became interested in the subject of geo-engineering, or counteracting the effects of climate change through large-scale intervention projects. He now researches and publishes articles on the subject for the Vermont Independent, an online Vermont-secession publication.

As much as the Baldwins loved their life in the Upper Valley, it was time for them to find an even quieter place, Baldwin said. After a fire in their detached garage in November 2013 — no one was hurt — “we said to ourselves, ‘We’ve got to downsize.’ ” Maintaining their 20 acres of land, on which they grew dozens of kinds of fruits and vegetables, and their 3,500-square-foot home was getting to be “just too much. … I mean, I’m 79.” Margo, 68, also keeps a condo in Wilder while she continues to run Chelsea Green, he said.

Baldwin paused to look out the window of his house on the Craftsbury Common green, where “a guy with a stick and two oxen is walking down the road,” he said, and had a long laugh. “It’s a little bit of a throwback here. … We like it.” He looks forward to friends coming to visit.

The party on Friday is open to everyone, free of charge. The pop-up exhibition will continue through Sunday.

Openings and Receptions

Meg McLean, of Lyme, shows oil paintings and charcoal drawings at Chew & Co. Design, in Hanover. A reception will be held Saturday afternoon from 1 to 5. McLean’s work will show through mid-June.

Call for Art

In celebration of the 250th anniversary of Sunapee’s town charter, the Sunapee Historical Society and Sunapee Heritage Alliance are calling for art submissions for a show planned in mid-August at the Livery in Sunapee Harbor, on the theme of “Scenes of Sunapee Through the Years.” Artists of all levels are invited to submit paintings, drawings, pastels, prints, collages and sculptures depicting some aspect of Sunapee. The call is also open to those with historical artwork of Sunapee, so as to juxtapose past and present. The application deadline is July 20.

Tuesday is the last day to submit to the Chelsea Arts Collective’s inaugural Arts on the Green Market & Festival, which is planned for late August.

For more information about the event and how to apply, visit chelseavtarts.weebly.com/arts-festival.html or email chelseaartscollective@gmail.com.

The Randolph-based Clara Martin Center is seeking submissions for an art and poetry show on the theme of “Abundance: Celebrating Creativity in Mental Health, Wellness and Recovery.” For applications and instructions on how to submit, go to claramartin.org/art-show. The deadline is July 31. The exhibit will open Sept. 10 at the Chandler Gallery, in Randolph.


Barrette Center for the Arts, White River Junction. “VoxSomnium,” an exhibition of mixed-media work by Norwich artist Laura Di Piazza, is presented in conjunction with the Vermont Pastel Society’s group exhibition and Northern Stage, the theater company that calls the Barrette Center home. Through May.

BigTown Gallery, Rochester, Vt. “Dartmouth Influence,” which exhibits art by 11 women from Dartmouth College’s Studio Art Department, shows through June 30. A reception is planned for May 19, from 5 to 7 p.m.

Center for The Arts, New London. Work is shown in three micro-galleries: at New London Inn, showing paintings by Vicki Koron, of Sunapee; at Bar Harbor Bank and Trust, featuring work by Newport, N.H. oil painter Ludmila Gayvoronsky; and at Whipple Hall Gallery, which displays the work of Proctor Academy students.

Chelsea Public Library. “Common Objects and Uncommon Places,” a show of acrylic paintings by the Chelsea artist, and founder of the Chelsea Art Collective, Carrie Caouette-De Lallo, shows through June.

Converse Free Library, Lyme. Kathy Swift, of Lyme, shows “Japanese Ink Paintings on Paper” through June 30. Ten percent of sales will go to Friends of Lyme Library.

Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Lebanon. The D-H Arts Program’s spring exhibit features work by two Upper Valley oil painters, Ludmila Gayvoronsky of Newport, N.H., and Rae Newell of Bridgewater Corners. The other artists are watercolorist Diane Bell of Weston, Vt.; Evelien Bachrach of Hancock, N.H., who works in multiple mediums; acrylics painter Laura Ewing of Cambridge, Mass.; and photographer Ira Gavrin of Marlborough, N.H.

Kilton Public Library, West Lebanon. Artwork by Mount Lebanon Elementary School students will be shown through May.

Library Arts Center, Newport, N.H. The Selections Exhibit 2018 shows work by the seven winners of the Library Arts Center’s annual juried regional exhibit: Shari Boraz, Cyn Cooper, Betsy Derrick, Stacy Friedman, Elizabeth R. Moore, Gail Smuda and John Teti. The juror was Doris Nelson, former director of the Library Arts Center. Through June 14.

Long River Gallery, White River Junction. Work by Hartland photographer John Lehet shows through May 31.

New London Hospital. The spring art exhibition features Garrett Evans, a South Sutton, N.H.-based photographer; Bow, N.H., photographer Charles S. “Whitey” Joslin, Jr.; and Enfield painter Penny Koburger.

Norman Williams Public Library, Woodstock. The West Windsor painter Lynn Van Natta shows work in “Impressions of New England in Oils” through Tuesday.

Norwich Public Library. “Miss Match — Pixels to Paint: Photos Re-Imagined,” a collaborative exhibition between Norwich artists Becky Cook and NatEliBoze, shows through June 30.

Osher at Dartmouth, Hanover. Norwich painter Jo Tate shows work through June 28.

Scavenger Gallery, White River Junction. Owner Stacy Hopkins shows recent work in “Rebirth,” made during her recent residency at Vermont Studio Center in Johnson, Vt.

Steven Thomas, Inc. Fine Arts & Antiques, White River Junction. Work by Upper Valley “vintage” artists, such as Alice Standish Buell (1892-1964), Arthur B. Wilder (1857-1949) and Ilse Bischoff (1901-1990) is on view, along with other antiques and collectibles.

Tunbridge Public Library. Jan Fowler, of Randolph, shows paintings in “Reverence” through June 28. A reception is planned for May 20, from 2 to 4 p.m.

Two Rivers Printmaking Studio, White River Junction. “Momenta IV,” a juried exhibition of prints created by artists from New Hampshire, Vermont and Massachusetts in the past 12 months, shows through May 31. James Stroud, noted printmaker and founder of Center Street Studios in Cambridge, Mass., was juror.

White River Gallery, South Royalton. Betsey Garand of Hancock, N.H. shows a variety of printmaking techniques in “Petroglyphs, Flora and Frenzied Encounters: The Hand-Pulled Prints of Betsey Garand.” Through June 15.

Zollikofer Gallery, White River Junction. “Birds of the Bayous,” an exhibit of watercolors by Norwich resident Judith Miller, shows alongside “Lichen,” photography by her son Scott McClure Miller. Through June 30.

EmmaJean Holley can be reached at ejholley@vnews.com or 603-727-3216.