A day of free art at Bennington Museum

Visit the galleries, attend a presentation on Community Day, May 11

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BENNINGTON — Bennington Museum will hold its Community Day on Saturday, May 11, offering free admission to all and a lineup of special events.

At 11 a.m., Eileen Travell, senior photographer for the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and Jamie Franklin, Bennington Museum's curator, will present an up-close gallery exploration of "Up Home: Hand-Colored Photographs by Susanne and Neil Rappaport." Minnie Griswold died in 1952, at which time her sons locked up their mother's house in Pawlet, Vermont and left all her belongings in place, untouched, unaltered. Thirty years later, Pawlet documentarians Susanne and Neil Rappaport were invited by Charlie, one of Minnie's sons, now 85 years old, into the home, and went on to produce a collection of hand-colored photographs of Minnie's home.

This exhibition brings together the best in documentary work and artistic expression. Between 1 and 4:30 p.m., museum visitors will have the opportunity to try their hand at hand-coloring in the Paresky Wing.

At 3 p.m., the museum will open "Color | Gesture: Early Works by Emily Mason" in the Works on Paper Gallery. For more than 60 years, Mason has been creating lyrical abstractions on canvas and paper, where strong gestural marks contrast with delicate washes of color and spontaneous splashes and drips. Mason attended Bennington College from 1950 to 1952 before immersing herself in the vibrant art scene of 1950s New York. Today, she divides her time between New York and Brattleboro, and "she freely recognizes that the work she creates in the two places is different," museum director Robert Wolterstorff said.

"Her painting studio in Vermont has one entire wall that opens to the view. She revels in the natural world she encounters in Vermont, but never illustrates it. Like the words and phrases she collects, she also gathers visual impressions: the particular look of the wind tossing a flowering shrub, the texture of moss, morning light," Wolterstorff said. This exhibition traces the development of the artist's distinctive style of abstraction through paintings on paper created in the 1950s and 1960s, and is on view through Sept. 8.

Visitors can also enjoy the opening of the museum's spring Trail Tale, titled "Call Me Tree/Ll mame rbol," by Maya Christina Gonzalez. This tale will be up along the George Aiken Wildflower Trail through July. The trail is open between dawn and dusk. Visitors can follow their creative impulses by creating tissue paper flowers in the Grandma Moses Schoolhouse, or add even more history to your visit by stopping in the museum's Research Library and exploring the volumes of interesting books and articles that reach back in time.

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Discounts will be offered in the Museum Store. Museum members receive a 25 percent discount and all others a 15 percent discount on their entire purchase.

In the galleries

In the Regional Artists Gallery, is "The Mind's Eye: Paintings, Sculpture, and Books" by Paul Katz. Closing on May 27, this exhibition features a variety of works, including paintings, sculpture and drawing books, mainly from Katz's Prelude and Interlock series. The Preludes includes paintings and everyday found objects with words painted on them as if on intertwined ribbons. The words are all taken from William Wordsworth's poem "Prelude." The look of the work was inspired in part by a photograph Katz saw in The New York Times in the days following 9/11. The image was of an office in which everything was covered by grey ash so that ordinary things like desks and computers took on the aspect of an ancient site exhumed.

Closing May 26 is the small but intriguing installation titled "Vermont Folk Sculpture: A Recent Acquisition." Unique works in this exhibition include a carved fence post created in 1900 by Russell Risley (1842-1927) of Kirby, Vermont. Risley spent his entire life on his family's farm where he went about painting on the walls of the house - inside and outside - as well as the out buildings such as the barn. He also carved fence posts, rock, and blocks of wood. The Carved Corner Post is one of the Museum's newest acquisitions which was purchased with the assistance of Lyman Orton.

Permanent exhibitions include Grandma Moses, Gilded Age Vermont, the Battle of Bennington Gallery, Bennington Modernism, and one of the newer galleries, Early Vermont.

About the museum

Bennington Museum is located at 75 Main St. (Route 9), Bennington. The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday through Tuesday, closed Wednesday February 2 through May. It is wheelchair accessible. Regular admission is $10 for adults, $9 for seniors and students over 18. Admission is never charged for younger students, museum members, or to visit the museum shop. Visit the museum's website www.benningtonmuseum.org or call 802-447-1571 for more information.


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