“Spirit of place refers to the unique, distinctive and cherished aspects of a place; often those celebrated by artists and writers…” (as defined in Wikipedia)
The Westport Heritage House, summer home of the Champlain Valley Spirit of Place, invites all artists who live, work, or visit in the Lake Champlain Region, to take part in this 2014 three-part summer arts happening.
Plein Air Painting at Ballard Park
Sunday morning, July 6, begins the Spirit of Place series of events with a Plein Air paint-in at Ballard Park. Yellow balloons mark a number of people working on canvases with paints spread out on picnic tables or individuals with easels set up around the park. Not just for adults, children actively fingerpaint their impressions as well. Artists select something of interest, then work quickly to capture its essence in only a few hours. Meanwhile, they may dodge raindrops, or need to put their canvas on their laps due to wind. Always fascinated by the changing quality of light and shadow, motion, color, and texture, they find that these challenges make out-door painting fun! Artists have about ten days to add the finishing touches before the next event.
To kick off the Plein Air experience, Champlain Valley artist Linda Smyth will conduct a workshop by doing a demonstration of how to select then proceed with a plein air painting. She will offer comments to others as they work. Known for her street murals in Port Henry, Linda holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from SUNY-Albany and has taught art for 25 years in Saratoga and the Capital District of New York. See her work online at artistlindasmyth.com.
Spirit of Place Art Exhibition
The opening reception for the 7th Annual Spirit of Place Art Exhibition takes place on Thursday, July 17, from 5 to 7 pm, at Westport Heritage House. Artists may exhibit up to three works. Traditionally known for its diversity, the show offers watercolor and acrylic paintings, ink drawings, tapestries, weavings, rugs, pottery, sculpture, collage, photographs, and mixed media by all ages. Participating in a truly democratic expression of art, Champlain Valley artists enjoy discussing their work with friends and each other, over liquid refreshments and hors d’oeuvres. The reception initiates a silent auction, in which artists share a portion of their sales with the Westport Heritage House to provide heat for the following winter.
When the party is over, guests are invited to cross the street to Ballard Park for the 7:30 pm evening concert. The Thursday evening free concert series, now named Soundwaves, is organized by Westport’s own Grammy-award winning trumpeter, Taylor Haskins. Barika is the featured performance that evening. Scheduled to play at the 2014 Burlington Jazz Festival, Barika is described as creating “Captivating polyrhythmic soundscapes that meld the sound of Mali with fine Western jazz-funk-Afrobeat compositions,” by WRUV-FM, Burlington.
The silent auction continues until Westport Festival Day, August 9, 2014, at 3 pm, when auction winners are announced and buyers may purchase and claim their selections.
Artist Studio Tour
The final Spirit of Place event, an Artist Studio Tour, is the weekend of July 19 and 20, from 10 am to 4 pm. Maps, available at the Westport Heritage House, guide visitors to the artists’ own work places. Weavers, painters, and potters look forward to sharing their creative space and to answering questions with guests who come to view or purchase their work.
Art lovers, please mark your calendars for these exciting events. Artists with known email addresses will be contacted. For all artists, who wish to find the Spirit of Place entry form and guidelines, located on the Westport Heritage House website, please click here: www.westportheritagehouse.com.
- CATS Grand Hike Promotes Region (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Spirit of Place Art Exhibit at Heritage House (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Spirit of Place Art Show (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Defining the Champlain Valley (northcountrypublicradio.org)
- Film shot locally is released (pressrepublican.com)