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ART FOR THE PUBLIC : South Burlington Art Scene Is a Must–See

09/13/2022 03:25PM ● By Jessica Wilmes
Whether you’re a Burlington local or a visitor in the area, to experience local art and beyond a trip to the South Burlington Public Art Gallery is a must. Occupying the main hall in the South Burlington Public Library and City Hall, the Gallery hosts shows throughout the year featuring artists from the local Burlington area, throughout Vermont, and the Northeast. “The shows do not always feature local artists, but there is an emphasis on giving artists or organizations from South Burlington preference when appropriate or feasible,” says curator Jessica Manley. “The curator is charged with selecting artists and putting together shows with the Public Art Committee’s approval.” Shows typically range from six weeks to three months in duration, giving viewers time to visit and take in each art installation.

 Kate Longmaid, "Pink Tulips" (n.d.), oil on cradled wood panel, 14" x 11"

The most recent show on display, called In the Garden, was curated by Jessica and hosts nearly 50 paintings, drawings, prints, and mixed-media works. “In the Garden features work by multiple artists and looks at the their connections to nature, whether they live in rural or more urban areas, something that many Vermonters can identify with,” said Jessica.

Jessica, who lives on a small suburban plot in South Burlington, was inspired to curate a show about gardens based on her own experience in Burlington as well as that of many locals. On her property, she grows vegetables, fruit trees and shrubs, and enjoys numerous perennial gardens that she has planted over the last four and a half years. “I remember when friends of mine from down South visited last July and we were driving them around the area, they kept exclaiming about all the gardens around here – even on corners of the busy roads,” recalls Jessica. “I think our connection to nature, to the land – wild or cultivated – is something that Vermonters appreciate and value.”

 Gregg Blasdel, "Carp" (2018), aquatint etching, 24" x 18"

 Sara Katz, "Cactus Flowered" (2022), oil on board, 24" x 18"

Coming in mid-September is a new show featuring three artists from South Burlington: painter Michael Strauss, photographer Jeffrey Pascoe, and Gin Ferrara, who works in mixed media. The show, called South Burlington Showcase, will run through December. When it comes to selecting artists to display at the Gallery, Jessica notes it’s a mix of artists reaching out to her, responding to open calls, and artists she knows or meets along the way. “These three all responded to an open call for artists that the Public Art Committee put out a few months ago, but I have worked in the arts for years in the region and know many, many artists,” says Jessica, referring to the upcoming South Burlington Showcase show. “For [In the Garden], I approached the artists in response to a theme I wanted to present.” 

Located at 180 Market Street, the Gallery is free and available to the public whenever the Public Library, City Hall, or Senior Center are open: Monday–Thursday, 8 am–7 pm; Friday, 8 am–5 pm; and Saturday, 10 am–2 pm.

South Burlington Public Art Gallery 

180 Market Street

South Burlington, VT 05403

[email protected] 

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