NORTH BENNINGTON -- The art is parked and on display in the center of North Bennington through mid-October.
This year representing the works of 67 local and regional artists, encompassing a wide scope of media in both two- and three-dimensions, the North Bennington Art Park is now in its 15th iteration. Throughout its run, the annual event has been a collaboration organized by village artists; supported by local residents. (The show began with artist Willard Boepple and Joe McGovern, of McGovern Masonry, who provided the space.)
"It brings the community together," said participating sculptor and this year’s curator, Fred Brownstein. "A lot of the (participating artists) are very well-reputed people, (in addition to) a lot of local artists."
"Here, all your neighbors are artists," said Brownstein, a village resident who tallied five artists on his block alone. For an annual exhibit in a community the size of North Bennington, "it’s really a nice event."
Fellow sculptor Joe Chirchirillo took a slightly different tack. Speaking to the small village setting, "it’s so small that things are possible."
The familiar layout for this year’s art park spills across the grounds surrounding the post office and train station, borrowing space from Bennington College, McGovern Masonry, David Aldrich, and Art Whitman.
The central location makes the exhibits all the more accessible, with art experienced every day "when people come in and go to the post office," Chirchirillo said.
The train station is utilized for the third year for (mostly) two-dimensional paintings and photography, on the first floor and upstairs. The station’s indoor exhibition space has gallery hours and closes in August ahead of the outdoor park.
Outdoor artwork includes truly mixed media, comprised of metals and wood, found objects and firewood stacks. Some pieces were on display ahead of time, like a 10-foot tall blue bicycle helmet-cum-bicycle rack, a cast concrete and steel piece by Zac Ward that stood out front the Greenwich (N.Y.) Free Library in recent months.
Happy to curate next year’s show, Chirchirillo said he would like to open the art park up to a slightly larger regional audience, drawing new artists and crowds.
"It’d be nice to get this a little more on the map," he said, spreading the word without trampling on the core participation from Bennington County and the immediate surrounding area.
For Saturday’s opening party, a performance piece by Glenn Campbell of West Rutland and Brownstein drew a crowd to watch as Campbell heated aluminum to its melting point (1,221 degrees Fahrenheit). The molten metal was subsequently poured on gunpowder trailing to a wooden effigy replete with fireworks. Once torched, the figurine revealed a metal skeleton underneath.
The 15th annual North Bennington Art Park remains on display outdoors through Oct. 13, along Buckley Road/Main Street.
The train station gallery exhibition is open through Aug. 19, with hours Thursdays and Fridays from 4 to 7 p.m., Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and Sundays from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Contact @Zeke_Wright at firstname.lastname@example.org