Archive - Sep 22, 2008
By KATHRYN FLAGG
CORNWALL — Klara Calitri is exactly the sort of woman you will, upon meeting, immediately wish were your own grandmother, or your own standing date for Sunday coffee and cake.
The 86-year-old Cornwall artist is compact and ebullient — and as full of stories as her house, which is packed to the gills with the results of her “painting and potting.” In places, the paintings are stacked three or four deep, leaning precariously against tables piled high with half-finished pots and brightly decorated fountains.
It’s something of a rotating collection — pieces of art are forever jumping in and out of the house for display. Calitri’s work is on display at the Brandon Artists’ Gallery, the Southern Vermont Arts Center and as far a field as California — and most recently, several of her paintings went up in the gallery space at the Bristol Dental Group on Exchange Street in Middlebury.
“I like to have people enjoy my pictures. I am not of the Ashcan School,” Calitri said, referring to artists creating work in the early 20th century that was serious and often dark in tone. “That’s not me. I want people to feel uplifted by what I’ve done.”
Remarkably enough, she’s produced the majority of this art in the 30 years since her retirement. She’s always been interested in art, Calitri said — but she certainly hasn’t always been an artist.
She emigrated from Austria in 1939 — “Hitler time,” Calitri notes. Her father was Jewish, her mother Catholic, and by 1939 she said it was “high time” for her family to leave. The affidavit — the $3,000 document required for emigration — came by way of a distant cousin the family had never known, who Calitri’s grandfather had helped during the First World War.
By KATHRYN FLAGG
MIDDLEBURY — Faced with the most serious global economic slowdown in recent years, Middlebury College is tightening its belt and searching out ways to cut operating costs.
In a memo e-mailed to faculty and staff earlier this month, Middlebury College President Ronald D. Liebowitz expressed the need to prepare for “what appears will be a prolonged period of low or no growth” with plans that will “extend beyond the current fiscal year.”
The memo initiated the first community-wide discussion of plans to trim operating costs, though according to Vice President for Administration and Chief Financial Officer Patrick Norton, college officials have been having internal discussions about financial challenges for “about six months, ever since we saw the downtown in the market.”
“This is going to be a very transparent and open process,” Norton said. “The president’s memo set the tone for that.”
These conversations took on additional urgency last week, when major financial institutions like Lehman Brothers and AIG stumbled on Wall Street. (Richard Fuld, who heads Lehman Brothers, a 157-year-old investment bank that declared bankruptcy on Sept. 15, also sits on the college’s board of trustees.)
Norton said that the college’s endowment had very little exposure to either institution, but that Lehman’s bankruptcy and the federal government’s bailout of AIG “really validate what our path needs to be.”
By JOHN FLOWERS
MIDDLEBURY — Middlebury leaders are pitching some modest changes they hope will have a big impact on the look of Main Street in front of the post office and on the safety of an increasingly used Merchants Row.
Middlebury officials originally drew up the Post Office plaza makeover last year, in concert with the repaving of Main Street and installation of some new downtown light fixtures.
Middlebury Town Planner Fred Dunnington said the makeover is designed to address some of the current deficiencies within post office plaza.
“One of the trees (in the plaza) has died entirely; the other was in terrible shape,” Dunnington said. “The pattern of the pavement in front is flawed, and there is grass growing through portions of it and there are puddles in it. We thought we could improve it with a new surface, of the type that was done at the Town Hall Theater plaza and Middlebury Natural Food Co-op.”
The plan calls for, among other things:
• Installation of new surfacing for the area fronting the post office building. That surface will include a small amount of granite leading up to the post office steps. Those steps are currently also made of granite. Dark-gray tinted concrete paving, with saw-cut score joints, will provide a pedestrian-friendly surface leading from the Main Street curb to the granite walkway/steps. An exposed aggregate concrete paving will round out the balance of the plaza.
• Placement of three, six-foot-long benches along two separate strips of perennial plantings in front of the post office building. Along with those perennial patches, the plaza will feature three trees — two honey locusts and a Japanese lilac.
• Relocation, to the border of the new perennial garden strips, of the outdoor mailboxes.
• Reservation of a spot, within the plaza, for the display of public art.