Since its launch in 2007, Spruce Peak Performing Arts Center (SPPAC) has been a landmark venue for live music, dance, theater, and spoken word. But over the past four years, it has quietly expanded into a haven for visual arts, as well, with work from acclaimed local artists stretching across the walls of the bright, airy lobby. “So many people were coming in and out already to see performances,” says curator Kelly Holt. “We wanted to engage public on another level.”
Now, SPPAC organizes four exhibitions a year. “We choose artists who have a lot of creative energy and a collaborative spirit,” Holt says. “We have a network of artists that we know and love, and bring them together on a thematic level.”
This summer’s show, “Exploring Earth,” reflects on the intersection of spirituality and art, celebrating earth magic, spirit animals and plants, and transcendence. “The work examines our connection to Mother Earth, reaching into our spirit as artists, and rituals that feed creative practice,” Holt says. Here’s a sneak peek at some of the boundary-breaking artists and artwork featured.
Harlan Mack is a Vermont born multidisciplinary artist based at the Vermont Studio Center. He employs blacksmithing, steel fabrication, painting, and oral storytelling to build an expanding, constellated narrative that invites viewers and listeners into an elaborate imaginary future timeline. This world is generated and inspired by Mack’s life experience, exploration, and thoughts around identity, labor, perception, contemplation, fiction, community, emergence, and afrofuturism.
A Long Awaited Conversation
Acrylic on Canvas, 2018
Jennifer Herrera Condry was born and raised in Harlem, New York, the daughter of Dominican immigrants. During her 18-year tenure as a student affairs professional at Middlebury College, Jennifer led efforts for the retention and care of first-generation college students and students of color, and developed co-curricular programs to support student success, identity development, and sense of belonging. She left to focus on building Juniper Creative Arts, a family-run, community-based arts collective.
Condry, Jennifer Herrera and Will Kasso
Kelis the Afronaut: Unapologetically Black and Free
Mixed media, 2020
Will Kasso Condry of Juniper Creative Arts was born and raised in Trenton, New Jersey. Condry is a renowned visual artist, graffiti scholar, and educator. For over 20 years, Condry’s public art initiatives and civic engagement have helped vulnerable and fractured communities come together to creatively solve issues that affect their neighborhoods and everyday lives. A visionary and afrofuturistic artist known for his use of bold color and layers, Condry’s work centers on using mural arts as a vehicle for communitybuilding, activism, beautification, and healing.
Condry, Will Kasso, The Waterbearer
Acrylic on Canvas, 2021
ISIAS is an international muralist and eclectic artist who travels with his family to diverse parts of the world to collaborate with like-minded families. Together, they listen, learn, remember, and share methods to align with the harmony of humans, animals, and Mother Earth. They use the vehicle of multidisciplinary project-based learning—including breathing techniques, freeform dance, singing, music, theatre, art, storytelling, science, mathematics, communication media, nutrition, gardening, exercising, and many other experiential practices—to cocreate harmony with others.
ISIAS, Everything We Do Is in Prayer
Acrylic on Canvas, 2019
Holt takes us through some recent highlights displayed at the SPPAC Gallery.
Ric Kasini Kadour
“This work, by the founder of Vermont Art Guide and Kolaj Magazine, is part of a series called Portraits on Arrival. I admired the artist’s social statement: ‘I imagine the men portrayed [in the series] are on the verge of expanded consciousness and, to commemorate the moment, have their picture taken. The swirl of color conveys the ecstatic joy that comes with new ideas and fresh thinking. This is not typically a moment we commemorate in our culture. Perhaps it should be.’”
I Have Accomplished Much, But I Have So Much To Do
Mixed Media, 2018
John D. Moyers
“This artist has a wonderful talent for black and white portraiture, and his process and practice centers around urban street photography. His images always tell a story.”
Delight in the Light
Commercially Printed on Dense Fiberboard, 2018
“Tupper’s work bridges the whimsical and the weird, creating a cast of characters who are joyful and comfortable in their own skin. A Burton snowboard designer by day, he gives a nod to skateboard, snowboard, and hipster culture with his humorous sensibility and graphic use of color. Tupper’s popular show drew a younger, Burlington-based audience, and SPPAC accompanied his paintings with an animation projected out onto the snowbanks.”
Acrylic on Panel, 2018
“Salerno’s mastery of color, light, and abstraction brings trees and the varying darkness of the atmosphere of woods to life. He is known for depicting nature with quiet elegance.”
Woods Edge 2-5-15
Oil Paint on Arches, 2015
Kathryn Lipke Vigesaa
"From the Meadow's Edge, containing delicate treasures from nature with wonderful layers of interaction, was a favorite amongst kids. The bottom righthand drawer reveals the sound of spring peepers and an elegant video of butterflies."
From the Meadow's Edge
Antique Wooden File Box with Handmade Paper, Bird Eggs, Nest, Bee, Beehive, Honeycomb, Hawk Feathers, Sound, and Video
Rural Noise Ensemble
“These artists take things from nature and transform them electronically, adding ‘glitches’ or sound. They are known for their conceptual and experimental practice.”
“Greenlee develops her photos of Lake Champlain in the lake itself, working outside along the shoreline in all weather, from ice to snow to rain. I admire her intense exploration of water and fearless experimentation with many materials.”
Water Lines and Life Rafts 2
“Corp is known for his experimental art, from printmaking to painting, and use of colors that are pure and uplifting.”
Photo Transfer and Acrylic on Canvas