Elsie Lynn Parini


TWO-YEAR-OLD IDA AND mother Elsie are excited to meet that new addition to their family. Photo by Oliver Parini
I’ve never felt much like one of those beautiful, glowing pregnant people. I hear they exist, but as far as I’m concerned those folks are unicorns. It’s hard work growing a human, and if some days I’m a little dull — oh well.  At 38 weeks pregnant in the middle of April, what I’m thinking about is less if I’m glowing or dull and more about the swirling vortex of virus germs spreading violently around the globe. As if there’s not enough to worry about — thanks raging hormones — add in COVID-19 and pregnancy gets pretty interesting. Gone are the beautiful birth plans we made with our doula. The...

EILEEN GOMBOSI IS the art teacher for Ripton and Salisbury elementary schools — she’s also an artist herself. Recently she’s been feverishly working on a new series of paintings, drawings and pastels that concern the balance of the planet and how climate change is affecting creatures large and small.
RIPTON — Right from the start, Eileen Gombosi knew her next art series was going to be a statement on balance in the ecological world, and now amidst the COVID-19 pandemic it feels more timely than ever.  “I’ve been on fire,” she said in a remote interview earlier this month. “I have more time to be working at home in my studio. Those times of working and intense creativity are the same for me.” When she’s not doing her personal work in her studio, Gombosi is online with her art students from Ripton and Salisbury elementary schools. “My work teaching is very different these days,” she said....

LILLIAN KENNEDY IS hosting a Staycation Art Series on her blog weeklyartlesson.com. Every Friday through the coronavirus crisis, she posts a new tutorial intended to “refresh your spirit with fearless drawing and painting.”
When the coronavirus hit, Lillian Kennedy knew she wanted to help. But how? “I didn’t want to sew masks, and I’m not a healthcare professional,” she said over a video interview last week. “So I started the Staycation Art Lessons series as my way of volunteering during the crisis.” Kennedy is posting weekly art lessons every Friday on her blog weeklyartlesson.com.  “Refresh your spirit with fearless drawing and painting” is Kennedy’s tagline for the series because, well, she believes that.  “The very simple act of drawing is a gift to give yourself,” she said. “Join in, build your skills and...

JUDITH GIUSTO HAS worked in fiber arts for 25 years, but these days she’s turning more to her interest in jewelry making. She will be one of the many artists featured at Town Hall Theater’s “A Toast to the Arts” fundraising event that’s been rescheduled for May 21 (though that’s subject to change). Independent photo/Steve James
MIDDLEBURY — For the second year in a row, Town Hall Theater is planning “A Toast to the Arts” — a fundraising party that celebrates 27 of Vermont’s visual artists and gives guests the opportunity to buy art and support the local theater. This year’s event was originally scheduled for Thursday, April 16, but due to the coronavirus has been rescheduled for Thursday, May 21, from 5:30-7:30 p.m.  While we’re all furiously washing our hands and trying to stay healthy, we can still get excited for this upcoming exhibit and sale that will showcase artists’ carefully curated works in paint, pastel,...

“60s PINK,” MIXED media.
WEYBRIDGE — Like most events these days, Victoria Blewer’s upcoming exhibit at the Vermont Supreme Court Gallery has been postponed indefinitely. The Weybridge artist was excited to hang her work in Montpelier.  “It’s a huge space,” said Blewer, describing the gallery. “Since it’s so large, I was planning to take advantage of the space and show some of my photos that I’ve been taking of grain elevators all these years… that are never going to see the light of day.” She was also planning to have her newer collage and encaustic work on display; and, of course, a good representation of her hand-...

ARTIST AND ANGLER Courtney Allenson is showing her artwork in an exhibit at the Jackson Gallery in Middlebury through April 12. The gallery is open until further notice.
For Courtney Allenson, making art really isn’t an option — it’s something she has to do.  “There’s not a day in my life that I don’t make things,” she said during a recent interview. “Whether that’s knitting, making quilts, kids clothes, canvas bags, or prints.”  Not to mention the crafts she might make in one of the many creative classes she leads at The Residence at Otter Creek in Middlebury, where she is the Senior Reflections and Engagement Director.  “Basically, I do all the fun stuff,” she said, naming a few, “like art, music, exercise, parties and events… The Reflections art group we...

VANESSA DUNLEAVY, LEFT, and Miranda Ferriss Jones had planned to present their first collaborative musical, “Showing Up,” at Town Hall Theater in Middlebury next week.
MIDDLEBURY — The old adage “write what you know,” may be a little cliché, but it didn’t fail Vanessa Dunleavy and Miranda Ferriss Jones when they set out to write their first musical together. “What we know is our relationship,” said Ferriss Jones, who’s known Dunleavy since they were kids growing up in the Middlebury area. So that’s exactly what they used to craft “Showing Up” — a story of how two women hold on to what’s important: their passions, their values, and, most importantly, each other. The two-woman show is loosely based on the lives of the creators, and was scheduled to take the...

JEFF PIDGEON, FAR left, holds his 25th anniversary award with a couple of his colleagues, Mark VanDewettering and Mark Adams, at Pixar Animation Studios in California._ Courtesy of Jeff Pidgeon
For as long as Jeff Pidgeon can remember he drew. Constantly. “My goal was to be able to make a living doing it,” said the 1983 Vergennes Union High School graduate in a recent interview. Um, check. This animation artist now lives in California’s San Francisco Bay area, close to the Pixar studio in Emeryville — where he’s worked since the early ’90s. His work has been recognized in Academy Award-winning films such as “WALL-E,” “Up,” “Toy Story 3,” and, at the Oscars just last month, for “Toy Story 4.” “It’s always a huge thrill to have your work recognized in such a prominent way,” Pidgeon...

KAITLIN BUERGE, A 2013 graduate of Middlebury College, worked with Rebekah Irwin, the director and curator of special collections and archives at Middlebury, to curate the exhibit “Under the Covers: The Hidden Art of Endpapers,” on view through May at the Davis Family Library. Pictured here, Irwin holds a copy of Dr Seuss’s “The Lorax” with illustrations by Seuss himself, and Buerge holds “The Republican Court” by Rufus W. Griswold, New York: 1855. Independent photo/Steve James
MIDDLEBURY — Daylight Savings Time is only a little more than a week away — get ready to spring forward. Spring… ha! It sure doesn’t feel like springtime yet. In fact, many of us may still be hunkering down under our covers during these chilly nights. While you’re under there, consider a new exhibit at the Middlebury College library called “Under the Covers: The Hidden Art of Endpapers.” This new, visual treat in the atrium and lower level of the Davis Family Library, showcases the sheets of paper that were pasted onto a book’s inside covers. The exhibit will be on view through May. Endpapers...

MARIA PADIAN, A 1983 graduate of Middlebury College and resident of Maine, will return to town for a reading and book-signing-event at The Vermont Book Shop next Thursday. Her latest novel, “How to Build a Heart,” was published in January of this year.
MIDDLEBURY — Sometimes (especially when interviewing an author) it’s best to let someone describe their own story. Maria Padian — born in New York City, raised in “rural” New Jersey — now lives in Brunswick, Maine, where she writes, and texts her grown kids, who have gone off to college, jobs, etc. Padian is coming to The Vermont Book Shop on Thursday, Feb. 27, at 7 p.m., to read from her fifth and latest novel “How to Build a Heart.” The event is free and open to all. A book signing will follow. Padian grew up with her nose stuck in a book, and was the first in her family to attend college....

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Addison County Independent