Friday, July 1, 2016

Photos, paintings, performance

     The summer art scene is in full bloom. Here's a small sampling of exhibitions and events in Washington County and beyond:

Mettawee Theater

     I like running and biking on Dunnigan Road outside of Salem. Most of the time it's a peaceful backroad but in July you never know what you'll see there. That's because the Mettawee River Theater Company takes up residence in an old farmhouse during the summer and they might be rehearsing with their masks, giant puppets and stage wizardry on the front lawn. Ralph Lee and company are back for their 41st season of free outdoor performance (donations gratefully accepted). This years production is Before the Sun and Moon and it's a work in progress with only one Washington County show scheduled at the Georgi in Shushan. Details here.

Hubbard Hall
     For more outdoor theater there's Hubbard Hall's Shakespeare in the Park with five performances from July 7 - 16. This year it's Othello. Dates and locations here.

Salem Courthouse

     The Great Hall at the Courthouse features an exhibit of Leslie Peck's paintings thru August 5. Peck is noted for her striking animal portraits but she's also had a successful New York City career painting steamy covers for romance novels - think hunky guys sweeping buxom maidens off their feet. Meet Peck in person and the incongruity of her subjects seems perfectly normal!
     Peck's exhibit is a good starting point for a day in Salem. Get something to eat at Steininger's or Jacko's, stroll the grounds of the Salem Art Works and swing down by the Rexleigh Covered Bridge to cool off in the Battenkill.

Shelburne Museum

     How about a trip to Vermont to visit Grandma? The Shelburne Museum has an exhibit called Grandma Moses - American Modern. Moses was, and still is a much loved painter of folk art. She was born in Easton and lived much of her life in Eagle Bridge. The Shelburne show examines the "primitive" label she's sometimes tagged with.
     You could spend days at the Museum and weeks in the greater Burlington area taking in all the offerings. For the naturalist the ECHO Aquarium on Lake Champlain is a great destination probably deserving a separate trip. You might be able to combine a short hike up Snake Mountain in Addison with a Shelburne excursion. It's a pleasant climb up the Champlain Thrust to enjoy expansive views of the valley and its lake.

Cambridge by Grandma Moses

Middlebury Museum

     Also in Vermont, Middlebury College's Art Museum is displaying photographs by Paul Strand thru August 7. These were taken while he was in the Green Mountain State from 1943 to 1946. Strand was an influential contemporary of Alfred Stieglitz and Edward Weston, noted for establishing photography as an art form.
     Middlebury's a fun town and great for walking, both on campus and downtown. There's also a series of trails that encircle the whole town - the TAM. Work up an appetite and reward yourself at 
one of the great restaurants or craft breweries the city hosts.

     That's it for now. With so much going on who has time to blog?


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