While The Bennington Center for the Arts opened its doors on to the original two art galleries and 300 seat theater in 1994 with shows such as the Society of Animal Artists, the Plein Air Painters of America and Women Artists of the West, it was 2000 when Gallery Director Shirley Hutchins organized the first Impressions of New England. “The show was very successful from the first year with artists and patrons,” noted Hutchins. “Visitors to the area as well as residents love seeing the beautiful scenery and iconic images portrayed in the art selected for the show. Each year we have had a wonderful selection of what we love about the area – covered bridges, beautiful rolling mountains, sail boats, even lobster pots.”
This year is no exception. Fishing villages and shorelines will be exhibited next to snowy country roads leading to bucolic farms in the show that opens August 2nd. Now in its fourteenth year, Impressions of New England, a show curated by the staff at The Bennington, will include scenes in and of New England and will be on exhibit and for sale until the middle of December.
Another sales show that also opens August 2nd is Portraying the Human Spirit. In the past the center curated a show called Women – The Artists View. This year they have decided to widen the subjects to include men and women, young and old. “ We are hoping not to exhibit formal portraits but rather those pieces that capture the joys and sorrows of everyday life,” said Hutchins, when asked about the new show. “ Many emotions are portrayed in this exhibition – joy, sorrow, weariness, tenacity, pride. We feel the group of artists selected did a great job of capturing those feelings and that is a very difficult thing to do, to capture those personal, fleeting thoughts.”
In both shows, artists from around the country submitted work. Many pieces chosen are by nationally recognized artists while other work is by relative newcomers.
A final show for the fall season at The Bennington will open August 30. The Laumeister Fine Art Competition is a respected competition juried in the past by such talented and respected artists as Sherrie McGraw, Albert Handell and Scott Christensen. This year the show will be selected by Brian Blood of California, signature member of the Oil Painters of America and the California Art Club. The exhibition will not be limited in theme but include landscapes, figurative work, still-lifes and city-scapes. $7,000 in prizes will be selected by Blood and announced at the opening of the show.