Mixed media, crowds mark 14th annual Art Park exhibit

Sunday July 17, 2011

NORTH BENNINGTON -- The village of North Bennington has once again become one large art park.

An opening reception was held Saturday to kick off the 14th annual North Bennington Art Park exhibit. It runs through Oct. 9 and features works by 60 area artists.

Outdoor sculptures are located throughout the center of the village surrounding the post office and train station.

And for the second consecutive year, the North Bennington Train Station Gallery houses two floors of two-dimensional and smaller works of art.

Organizer Fred Brownstein said the feedback regarding the train-depot-cum-art-gallery had been positive.

"(The train station) changed the whole face of the art park," he said. "It allowed us to show more than just outdoor sculptures" -- which, despite the possibilities, had become a limiting factor for the annual summertime art exhibit, according to Brownstein. This year's art park features a greater number of works and artists than in the past.

Included are recognizable names like Pat Adams, Willard Boepple, and Phillip Wofford, and local sculptors including Joe Chirchirillo, Gary Humphreys, Elaine Witten, and Teru Simon. A number of new additions from neighboring New York, Massachusetts, and Manchester include Barbara and G.L. Sussman, Jon Recco, Leslie Parke, Evan Wilson, Amy Podmore, Andrew DeVries, and Susie Cronin.

"Everything -- the weather, the quality of the music, the quality of the show -- everything came together perfectly," for this year's opening, Brownstein said. He said that Saturday's attendance was up over last year's opening.

Glenn Campbell gave demonstrations of "lost wax" bronze casting during Saturday's opening, which also included live music, food, and good times.

For a donation benefiting the Norshaft Little League, Campbell would bronze cast trilobites. The demonstrations raised $185 in total for the local little league, according to Brownstein.

"It's a great venue ... (and) opportunity for local artists to show their work," said Campbell, who recalled some "wild performances through the years," including last year's motorcycle/air raid siren, created by John Umphlett of Bennington College.

Touring each sculpture Saturday, a couple from New Hampshire said that they had stayed the night at an area bed and breakfast, and received notice of the art park from the Bennington County Chamber of Commerce.

They said that they had enjoyed the detail of one wood piece in particular, "Willow," created by Bill Botzow, a repeat art park participant and state representative for Pownal and Woodford.

The art will remain installed through Oct. 9. The Train Station Gallery is open Saturdays from 4 to 6 p.m., and Sundays from 10:30 to 12:30 p.m., and also by appointment.


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