June 11, 2007
By HARRIETTE BRAINARD
BRANDON — Warren Kimble makes it a point to walk as much as he can, and to say, “Hello,” to everyone he sees whether he knows them or not, to include them in the community. The Brandon artist also stresses the need to involve young in the process of making decision about what goes on in a community.
“It is important that they know that they matter, that they are an important part of the community,” he said.
Beginning Saturday the Paramount Center in Rutland will let Kimble know that he is an important part of his community by kicking off a weeklong celebration in honor of Kimble’s contributions to the arts and community.
Although art lovers all over the world may easily recognize Kimble’s distinctive folk life paintings, the evening of June 16 will be dedicated to Kimble’s unwavering support toward the artistic developments of others, as well as for the development of the larger artistic community in Vermont. Indeed, as leaders around the world expound on the importance of communities and a focus on local living, Kimble has focused much of his adult life on these issues while living in Brandon.
The week of events at Rutland’s Paramount Center, which includes the Paramount Theater and Brick Box cabaret space, get under way on Saturday with a special honors ceremony. This will include a selection of speakers involved in different areas of Kimble’s life. There will be a showing of a film on Kimble’s life and art made by Syracuse University in 2002, when the institution gave Kimble, one of its favorite sons, the prestigious George Arents Pioneer Medal.
There will also be a performance by fellow Brandon artist Fran Bull. Bull, who operates the Gallery in the Fields in Brandon, is also an accomplished singer and has showcased many local productions. She will sing three of Kimble’s favorite songs. Headlining the evening’s entertainment will be Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul and Mary, in his new ensemble with Bethany and Rufus.
There are number of state-wide and local sponsors for the events, and Kimble has also donated a folk painting specifically created for this gala, this painting will be auctioned off as part of the evenings events and already sparked the interest of many collectors. All proceeds will go to the continued renovation of the Paramount Theater.
This is the second year of this newly established gala evening honoring contributors to the arts at the Paramount. Last year U.S. Sen. Jim Jeffords was honored for his contributions and his support of Vermont arts.
“Following Jim Jeffords is a great honor for me,” Kimble said. “I want this to be about promoting the arts — not about me — and to promote the theater financially. Art is a way of invigorating the economic development of a community and Rutland has this potential, this should be about the importance of the arts to a community.”
There will be two different art shows of Kimble’s work going on at the same time. In the lobby of the theater, there will be a show of Kimble’s folk paintings. Next door, the Brick Box Gallery will debut Kimble’s newly finished works called the “The Widows of War.”
All next week, and as part of the event, Kimble will be hosting gallery talks called “Warren Whys.” Then on Friday, June 22, from 5 to 8 p.m., Brick Box will officially open “The Widows of War” during Rutland’s Art Hop — “a wonderful event promoting the arts in Rutland,” says Kimble. “The Widows of War” is scheduled to move to a gallery in New York City on the Oct. 6.
Kimble’s new works are something of a departure and none of this art will be for sale. One of these new works features an antique bust with a barbed wire necklace and a barbed wire skirt. Kimble uses new materials and a different color scheme than in his folk life paintings — there is more black.
Although Kimble still spends time painting beautiful folk life paintings, much of Kimble’s new work is vastly different — motivated from a new place within him — timely and intriguing.
Such an honor bestowed on Kimble is no surprise to the residents of Brandon. Kimble has devoted much of his time to reinvigorating his own community. A constant innovator, Kimble has helped to institute and continues to be a central figure in the many events that have been designed to raise Brandon’s profile, such as the Brandon Artists‘ Guild‘s summer community art shows, which this summer features hand-painted cats and dogs. Kimble has also succeeded in helping to make Brandon a destination for the artistic community, lending his support to the artists’ guild and to the restoration of the Granary, where many artists, including Kimble, have their workshops.
“Here in Vermont, we have the last vestiges of a community, where we can buy, sell and trade everything we need locally” Kimble said. “A town needs to have spokes like we do here, where people live within it and they can walk into town, where they can interact and see each other. In a larger community such as Rutland, the alternative is to have people living within the larger business community.”
A constant creator, Kimble is always thinking of new ways to invigorate a community — especially through the arts.
“That is what all this art is about, and why so many artists have moved here,” Kimble said, of Brandon. “We have created a community where artists want to live and work. We have brought Brandon back to where we feel good about ourselves, that is the trick — feeling good about yourself as a town — it changes everything.”
For more information on the Paramount Center’s tribute to Warren Kimble and the Brick Box gallery’s show of new art work by Kimball visit www.paramountvt.org.