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Peterborough art gallery to reopen for first time since March

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Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 9/4/2020 11:40:45 AM
Modified: 9/4/2020 11:40:35 AM

It’s hard to know if people feel comfortable going to an art exhibit these days, but Pelagia Vincent knows there’s only one way to find out.

With the opening of “Bird’s Eye View” on Friday, Vincent is bringing a new show to the Gallery at the Offices at Depot Square for the first time since February.

In the present times, there is no clearly defined answers to the seemingly endless questions of how and when various entities of the arts industry should reopen. But Vincent figures at some point she has to find out.

“We’re hoping this new show might be the right time, we’re hoping it’s the right time,” Vincent said. “For people to come out and see an art show again.”

“Bird’s Eye View was supposed to open during the summer, but it was pushed back like most everything else over the last five-plus months.

“It just didn’t feel like the right time – nor were people really ready for it in my mind,” Vincent said. So she decided to hold off on the exhibit that features the work of April Claggett, Steve Lipofsky, Lindsay Holmes and Tom McHugh, Lauryn Welch and Swift Corwin. It was a serious conversation if the first week of September would bring people out to view the works.

“Someone’s got to be the first to do it,” Vincent said.

So far, the Jaffrey Civic Center has put together two shows, one opening in July and the other in August, and have another one set to open next Friday. But beyond that, the local art establishments have been quiet. Fry Fine Art in Peterborough and the Dublin Community Center have yet to open their doors and the Monadnock Center for History & Culture has not held a special exhibit since reopening.

Volkert Volkersz, program coordinator at the Dublin Community Center, said at this point they don’t know when they will begin hosting art shows. They have been holding outdoor events “but we’re still trying to decide if we want to let people inside.”

He said there’s a board meeting next week and the topic will once again be discussed. One thing they are working on is creating an online version of the Small Treasures Art Show held each December. With any luck, there will be “a live piece as well,” Volkersz said.

The Jaffrey Civic Center’s “Visions 2020” exhibit runs Sept. 11 through Oct. 10 and features 11 local artists, who are members of the EarthSong Artists group.

So “Bird’s Eye View” is somewhat of an outlier, but it is not opening without all the necessary safety protocols in place, COVID-style as you might say. For the opening, which begins at 5 p.m. on Friday, masks and social distancing will be required throughout the event. People will be let into the gallery in small groups, allowing for ample space. The artists will be stationed away from one another, so visitors can still ask questions and learn more about the work from a safe distance apart. Vincent pointed to the success of the annual Art Walk and weekly concerts in Depot Square as examples that things can be done safely, even those were all held outdoors.

“I’ve done enough things now that I feel very confident we could meet that challenge,” Vincent said. “Yes it’s inside, but it’s going to be in a controlled environment.”

The show will be open through Nov. 30 and is available for public viewing Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Vincent said “Art In Bloom”, which opened March 6, was left up “hoping (COVID-19) would be over soon.” That didn’t happen, which is why she wanted to wait until the timing worked out for “Bird’s Eye View.” The exhibit celebrates the artists perceptions and visuals of the subjects and emotions that inspire them.

Claggett, who lives in Dublin, paints the objects, people and environments of ordinary moments bathed in natural light. Lipofsky has been a professional photographer for over 30 years, and most recently, his work represents the creative art of photography capturing the surprising view point with a camera or drone.

Holmes and McHugh strive for innovation, creativity and genuine enjoyment in their work. Corwin, a local forester, became interested in the patterns of the land, whether they be in a bloom of a flower, the drape of roots over a rock, waves in a brook or the texture of trees. He is able to see new patterns of the land from above and seeing it at sunrise or sunset are so much more amplified by using a drone.

“It’s turning the natural environment into something incredibly artistic,” Vincent said. “It allows you to see things from a different perspective.”

Welch, from Peterborough, explores how color and pattern are used on the body in her paintings and installations. Her current body of work takes a split approach between figure and landscape, and is heavily influenced by naturally occurring patterns.

Several events are scheduled during the exhibit and are free and open to the public. For information on events, follow the gallery on Facebook or visit shoppeterboroughnh.com. Complimentary refreshments will be served at the opening with live music performed by Rhine Singleton and April Claggett.

For more information, contact Vincent at pelagiavincent@earthlink.net or (603) 547-8323.


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