Art Notes: Summer brings diverse events


Valley News Staff Writer

Published: 06-05-2024 3:23 PM

After Memorial Day, the arts start to emerge, just like their orthographically similar cousins, ants. It’s warm, occasionally sunny, and the woodwork has grown confining.

Arts events seem a bit weirder in the summer, more experimental and free form. Odd, even. So in no particular order, here are a few things that caught my attention.

Meet me in theparking lot

Planning an outdoor event in northern New England is a dicey business. In years past, I’ve alerted readers to Revolution’s  Parking Lot Party, a shindig with DJs and foo d behind the White River Junction vintage and sustainable clothing store.

Sometimes, though, it rains, or threatens to. Last June, at the start of a miserable, damp summer, Revolution founder Kim Souza was forced to cancel. The end-of-summer party, which celebrated Revolution’s 20th birthday last September, went on as planned after the clouds miraculously parted.

“It has rained a few times,” Souza said in a phone interview. But “we’ve only had to cancel one time. I’ve been doomscrolling the weather.”

As of Wednesday morning, it looks like there’s only a 20% chance of rain on Friday evening. The event, which starts at 5 p.m., is all shine, no rain.

“I’ve thought about renting a tent from Blood’s,” Souza said, but she resists because it wouldn’t be in keeping with the party’s origins. “It’s pretty DIY and gritty ... in a very White River Junction style,” she said.

It is, after all, a party in a parking lot behind Revolution, where DJ Skar will likely set up on the building’s loading dock to spin funk and soul. Fulla Flava will be there selling Jamaican food, Scavenger Gallery will hold a pop-up and RePlay Arts will lead a re-use craft project.

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And there are lots of other First Friday events nearby, including a performance by Upper Valley musicians Lisa Piccirillo, Jes Raymond and Alison Fay Brown at JAM (Junction Arts & Media) and an opening reception for “Colors, Cats and Other Things,” acrylic paintings by Upper Valley artist Jill Ketay, who grew up in Malawi, in central Africa, in the Hotel Coolidge’s Zollikofer Gallery. The Main Street Museum will open a show of watercolors by David Libens, and ringmaster David Fairbanks Ford will operate the museum’s player piano. (For info about Kishka Gallery, see below.)

First Friday has been going on for a while now. Souza estimated that it goes back to around 2007, when she reopened Revolution 2.0. It has busy months in spring and fall, and slack ones in the dead of winter and midsummer, she said. She and others are in the process of reviving the Downtown Business Association; one aim will be to build up a critical mass of First Friday participants. With the closings in the past two years of Piecemeal Pies, Trailbreak Taps and Tacos, and Juel, there are some holes in the downtown.

The twice-yearly Parking Lot Party has been a part of it for maybe five years, Souza said. It’s “as White River Junction as it gets,” she said, noting that it’s held “out by the dumpster.”

“I hope it doesn’t rain and it’s fun.”

Also in the WRJ

Kishka Gallery is holding what sounds like an innovative exhibition and auction to celebrate the Gates Street gallery and library’s third anniversary.

Starting with a reception from 5 to 8 Friday evening, Kishka will show work from more than 30 artists. The art will be up for auction on Instagram, which, for you ink-on-paper readers, is a photo-sharing social media site. Bidding on each piece starts at $100, and runs through 5 p.m. on June 22, when the show closes. Proceeds will be split 50-50 between the artists and the gallery. The works are viewable at the gallery and at the auction website, and there’s more information on Kishka’s website,

And on Saturday, the Norwich Bookstore will set up a book fair for grown ups at Putnam’s Vine/Yard, in the former Engine Room space near Elixir from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. The aim is to furnish adults with a welcoming place to pick up books for summer reading. Putnam’s is unique among Upper Valley third spaces. It’s a leafy, plant-filled oasis, designed as a kind of hangout, restaurant, bar and winemaking education center. (It will also have food trucks and music on First Friday, starting at 4 p.m.)

Art yard sales

AVA Gallery and Art Center holds an “Art and Art Supply Yard Sale” from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday behind the nonprofit art center’s global headquarters at 11 Bank St., in Lebanon, just off Colburn Park. The yard sale turns into a giveaway on Sunday from 10 to 2.

And Northern Stage will hold a yard sale from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on June 15 to thin its collection of props, clothing, furniture, artwork, toys and other items featured in the White River Junction theater company’s plays over the years.

Alex Hanson can be reached at or 603-727-3207.