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Addison/Rutland Arts Excursions | Fall 2020

A whale mural in downtown Rutland.

A whale mural in downtown Rutland. Photo credit Brian Sylvester.

The largest town in the Addison/Rutland Creative Zone is Rutland, with a population of 16,495, making it the third largest city in Vermont. Rutland’s art and culture scene is doing its best to thumb its nose at Covid, in a safe and socially distanced way of course. There’s still plenty of art and culture to discover.

A stroll through the historic district of downtown Rutland brings you to several works of art from local, national and international artists. Murals, sculptures and galleries are aplenty. Take a mural scavenger hunt downtown to spot a peregrine falcon, a whale, a giraffe, elephants and more on several of the more 100 buildings in downtown that are listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Also watch for “Rutland Art Ramble” signs on windows along the way. The signs point to art exhibitions throughout the city through Nov. 15, a sort of “outdoor museum,” designed to enliven, challenge and entertain residents and visitors with sculpture, painting, video and other installations.

What’s with all the marble? Rutland County was once the center of the world’s largest marble manufacturers. You’ll find plenty of notable marble sculptures on the downtown streets on the Rutland Sculpture Trail. New pieces are added periodically. The most recent is a bust of Rotary International founder Paul Harris. Next up is a tribute to Martin Henry Freeman, a Rutland native who was the first African American college president in the country. A variety of outdoor sculpture is also available for viewing in the Sculpture Garden at the Carving Studio and Sculpture Center in at 636 Marble St., West Rutland.

The work of juried artist members and featured member artist Alexis Kyriak are showcased in the upstairs galleries of the 1890s historic mansion that is Chaffee Art Center, through Oct. 30, at 16 S. Main St., Rutland. The Vermont Watercolor Society fall award-winners show in the downstairs galleries, and the new Gallery Shoppe features juried artist members. Hours are noon to 4 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays, and by appointment.

The Carving Studio and Sculpture Center's sculpture garden in West Rutland.

The Carving Studio and Sculpture Center's sculpture garden in West Rutland. Photo courtesy of the Carving Studio.

Have you worked up an appetite? Head over to Roots, 55 Washington St., Rutland, where during prime dinner hours, from 5:30-8:30 p.m., Thursdays through Sundays, one or two artists paint mural-sized art on the walls of this industrial space. Each artist paints for a total of twelve hours over the course of four nights. With 3,000 square-feet, there’s also enough room to listen to live music from soloist musicians. It’s Covid time, so be sure to make reservations at or by calling 802-747-7414.

A little farther south from Rutland, head to River Road in Pawlet to view the “drive-by, quarantine-friendly, art-in-a-Vermont-hayfield” series from EveNSteve. The exhibit includes several large standing screens featuring photography and artwork of best-selling author Eve O’ Schaub and art photographer Stephen Schaub. The exhibit’s intent is to provide visitors with hope in a time of uncertainty. You can drive by or park and walk the mown pathways in the field, for free. Visit their website for more information and directions.

Outdoor art is on display in Middlebury. The Bridges 20/20 Outdoor Architecture Exhibit takes place through Oct. 16. Explore five inventive bridge-inspired structures placed around downtown Middlebury, presented by Town Hall Theater.

Also in Middlebury at Henry Sheldon Museum,1 Park St. is “A Sculpture Haven,” works of three Vermont sculptors in the museum’s garden, which is open from sunrise to sunset. The museum is temporarily closed in accordance with Covid-19 restrictions.

The Sheldon Museum is also offering 2020 Road Trip Scavenger Hunt. Drive through different parts of Addison County while you follow clues to locate approximately 10 landmarks along the route. The organizers are hoping that people will all hunt on the same day, Oct. 18, and if you sign up before Oct. 18, you’ll receive an email with the routes and landmark clues. While supplies last, the Sheldon will present an Addison County poster from the Museum. The $10 fee includes the routes. Sign up at the Sheldon’s website.

Happy Valley Orchard in Middlebury.

Picnic Pairing: Happy Valley Orchard, Middlebury. Pick your own apples through October. The Honeycrisp is said to be better to none. Fresh made cider donuts everyday, and apple cider pressed at the orchard. Open everyday from  to 5:30 p.m.                                                             

A short drive from Middlebury, you’ll find the Robert Frost Interpretive Trail where you can enjoy the woods, fields and poetry. Frost’s poems are mounted along this easy 1.2 mile loop. The first 0.3 mile is along a wheelchair-accessible boardwalk. Directions from Middlebury: travel south on Route 7 to where it intersects with Route 125. Travel east on Route 125 for 5.8 miles. The parking area is on the right.

If it’s Sunday, head to Poultney for Stone Valley Arts at Fox Hill, 145 E. Main St.,. and its exhibit of contemporary painters, “Painters Choose Painters,” through Nov. 22. Also featured is artist Sarah Elworthy and author Kara Beste in an exhibit of orginial batiks created by Elworthy with text by Beste from their book, What Leads Her, highlighting 23 women who lead in multitude of ways. The book aims to inspire and empower girls ages 8 and up. The number of visitors are limited inside the building to 10, and face masks and social distancing are required. Gallery hours on Sundays are 1-4pm or by appointment.

In Brandon, the Brandon Artists Guild gallery exhibits “A Space Within,” a solo show of ceramics by artist-member Dasha Kalisz. Dasha’s newest work features organic wheel-thrown and altered forms based on the human body. The show continues through Nov. 1. The galley also showcases a selection of fine art and crafts from more than 30 member artists. Media include painting, sculpture, printmaking, ceramics, glass, jewelry, metalwork and more. Brandon Artists Guild is located at 7 Center St. Hours: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday; 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Covid-safety protocols must be followed here as well.

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Last updated October 20, 2020.