North Bennington Outdoor Sculpture Show begins

NORTH BENNINGTON — Strolling through North Bennington, you may have noticed a bevy of unique sculpture popping up in preparation for the 20th anniversary of the North Bennington Outdoor Sculpture Show, which kicks off this weekend.

Local artist Joe Chirchirillo will be curating the show for the fifth year in a row, which will remain on view to the public 24 hours a day, seven days a week throughout the summer and fall, concluding on Oct. 29.

"I took the show over about five years ago, and it's interesting for me because it's a way to meet new sculptors, and I'm a sculptor myself," said Chirchirillo. "For me it's about doing something for the community in North Bennington, but it's also somewhat about making contacts and expanding my world and getting to know new people."

Over the past 20 years the show has become a staple of the North Bennington community, adding a unique artistic flair according to Chirchirillo.

"Every year that we do it it's changing a little bit. We have ten less pieces in the show this year, last year I think it was too crowded and pieces were too close together," said Chirchirillo. "I'm trying to make the show look better this year by having more space between things."

Also new this year are signs donated by Bennington's GVH studios, and the shows listing on the Otocast App which includes information, audio, and photographs from outdoor sculpture shows across the country.

Michelle Post is another new addition to this year's festivities, as one of the many artists entering the show for the first time.

"I knew a sculptor that was in the show two years ago, so I called him up and he put me in touch with Joe," said Post. "Lo and behold, he accepted my work and here we are installing."

Post is new to the area, having recently purchased property in Whitingham, though she has visited for many years.

"Now that we have a little bit more of a presence we're starting to get into the art scene and find venues for sculpture" said Post, whose installation titled "The Oligarchs" can be found at the entrance to the North Bennington Depot.

In contrast to Post is artist Stephan Fowlkes, a teacher at the Vermont Art Exchange (VAE) who participated in the show's early years and even curated in the early 2000's. After over a decade living in Brooklyn, Fowlkes has returned to the area and rejoined the Outdoor Sculpture Show.

"I just got back this year, so I'm really excited to be part of it for the 20th anniversary," said Fowlkes, working away on a yet-to-be-named sculpture on the lawn of the VAE. "It's a work in progress, I started on Saturday so I had a week but no idea what I was going to do. I had a lot of lumber and tools and a week."

For Fowlkes, the show provides an entryway into the world of art for the North Bennington community.

"I think it's an amazing opportunity to show locals what's going on in the larger art world, and in a lot of ways it's out of their wheelhouse, so you get a lot of really fun commentary," said Fowlkes. "For kids it's amazing, because it offers them a great venue for their imagination to develop."

According to Chirchirillo the show presents unique "variations on the visual experience."

"I think a lot of people have a fairly narrow point of view about what art is," said Chirchirillo. "An outdoor sculpture show is a perfect way to expand your point of view, because there's so much variety in the work."

"It gets people engaged," said Post. "What better than to go strolling the town and looking at sculpture?"

The 2017 North Bennington Outdoor Sculpture show will feature over 30 artists from the region, including Michael Biddy, Kristen Blaker, Bill Botzow, Fred X Brownstein, Tom Longtin and Gregory Smith.

To celebrate these artists, and the shows anniversary, the North Bennington Outdoor Sculpture Show will be hosting an opening party for the exhibition on Saturday, July 8. The reception will take place from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Vermont Arts Exchange campus, and will feature music by local band Ransom Notes.

For further information and updates, visit the North Bennington Outdoor Sculpture Show at

Reach Cherise Madigan at 802-490-6471.


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