Yasmeen Abdallah is an interdisciplinary teaching artist, curator, and professor, exploring socio-political issues within contemporary culture, and utilizing discarded/found objects, images and text as source material. She said, “I think (artists) have a privilege of doing what we love, and I think it’s our responsibility in a way to think about the issues that are facing people all around the world and how we can use our art as a platform to bring to light these issues and to spread awareness and education. I believe I try to make my art a very democratic way of art-making and experiencing, so I try to do a lot of work that focuses on social justice and issues of agency and activism to get people from all different generations engaged and actively attuned to the things that are happening, and getting them energized in order to create movement and change because we really need it, no matter what your station in life.”
RH: Are you a long-distance hiker? Do you like to go on the trails?
AVE: I do — I like to do a few trails. Sometimes I like to go find some waterfalls.
RH: Well, a lot of people are saying summer’s over, this is it, but you know there’s at least another month, technically, officially, another month, and beyond that — October, parts of November are pretty gorgeous here in Vermont.
AVE: Absolutely. I feel like our seasons have shifted a little bit, so we’ll have a little of bit of time before that first snowfall, I feel like.
Jonathan Glinski, Rutland
All summer, it’s got to be the Vermont State Fair at the Rutland Fairgrounds. I live right across the street, and if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.
RH: What was your favorite event, favorite experience this year out at the fair?
JG: Definitely Willie T’s Barbecue.
RH: So summer ain’t over. There’s still plenty more to go. Still a lot of big fun to be had out there. Do you have any plans for the rest of the season? What kind of adventures do you want to get into in the next couple of weeks?
JG: In the next couple of weeks, I’m definitely going to find a little bit of water and do some camping — might go up to Chittenden Brook and just enjoy the fall weather coming ahead.
Sarah Robles, Castleton
Vacation, of course. We just went to Wisconsin. We lived there for 10 years before we moved here in October.
RH: Oh, so you’re a recent transplant from Wisconsin to Vermont. What’s the difference?
SR: The mountains. Everything else is pretty much the same.
RH: Wisconsin don’t got no mountains?
SR: Nope. Completely flat.
RH: But you’ve got cows.
SR: Oh, yes! And cheese. And snow.
RH: So that’s similar. We’ve got cows. We’ve got snow. What kind of geological features does Wisconsin have that Vermont doesn’t have?
Debbie Boyce, Brandon
RH: Ticks! Now, we should be vigilant about this. What do you do when you’ve been in the woods and you get home and you think you might have some?
DB: The first thing you should do is to stand next to your dryer, and take off your clothes, and throw everything into the dryer. Turn it on to the hottest heat, full cycle, and that will kill the ticks. That does the trick. You should not jump into the dryer yourself. Have your significant other, your mom, your dad, check your body for ticks, a little speck on your body, jump into the shower. You get it right away before it starts sucking your blood. That’s what they want. And right now, ticks are coming back alive because they’re looking for warm bodied hosts to jump on into your body, into your pant leg. So when you’re walking, you should tuck your pants into your socks, and you should wear long-sleeved shirts, not only for ticks, but for mosquitoes. The other thing you should do if you’re an avid person as a hiker, an outdoors person, you should be washing your clothes in permethrin. One wash will last six to eight wears and that will keep the ticks off. The other thing is to spray with 40% DEET. There is homeopathic remedies, whichever brand you like, please go ahead and do that. We do a once a month TV show, “Be Aware To Be Prepared,” on PEG-TV. You can google that for video on demand, and you can get information year ’round.
Shannon Flynn andKara Bronson
RH: Ladies, what’s the most fun you’ve had all summer?
SF: Grey Fox.
KB: Grey Fox.
SF: Yeah. It’s a bluegrass festival in New York, and we were there spinning crepes. It’s a big dance party, a big festival, a fun crowd.
KB: Definitely a very family friendly, homey vibe. People say that every year, whether you’ve been there for your first year or 20 years, it’s like going back home, and you definitely feel that as soon as you get there.
SF: Oh, my God, yeah. It’s great.
Heather Case, Rutland
Probably all of the place where you can go swimming, from White’s Pool to Northwood Pool, to a variety of state parks.
RH: What state parks did you go to this year?
HC: We went to Echo Lake, to Emerald Lake — I work with a group of kids, so we went to whatever state park is the closest.
RH: What’s your favorite way to swim? Australian crawl? Is it breast stroke, back stroke, dead man’s float?
HC: Floating on your back!
RH: In the sunshine, on a summer’s day.
Kim Wortman, Rutland
Probably, I had a lot of fun downtown at Friday Night Live, and concert in the park was great as well.
RH: What was you favorite concert this summer?
KW: Aaron Audet Band. Yeah. They were great.
RH: There’s still plenty of fun to be had. Do you have any plans for the rest of the summer?
KW: I don’t have any plans yet because I go back to school Monday. My summer’s basically over, so I came here to enjoy this, to kind of go out with a bang. I work at Northeast School, so I go back to my job.
RH: You work there — you’re not a student. I was going to ask what are you studying.
KW: I studied psychology when I did go to school.
RH: Uh-huh. Did that help you?
KW (chuckling): I’m not quite sure yet! Still working on it!
Nanci Gordon, Rutland Town
For me, the very most fun would be going to see Ringo Starr in New York City this weekend. This past weekend.
RH: The last time I talked with you —
NG: I know!
RH: A year ago, you were on your way to see —
NG: Ringo Starr! I did that.
RH: You just can’t get enough.
RH: Peace and love. Who’s playing with him this year?
NG: Peace and love. This year it’s Hamish Stuart of Average White Band and Colin Hay of Men at Work, and Greg Rolie of Santana and Steve Lukather of Toto.
Visit bit.ly/0218LasHistorias to see and hear the Talking Pictures video, produced in Puerto Rico, in February 2018
Talking Pictures visited Puerto Rico in February 2018, with residents there, survivors of two of the historically most intense hurricanes in the past 60 years, las tormentas Irma, on Sept. 7, 2017, and Maria, on Sept. 20, 2017. While recovery is well underway, there are still parts of the island without electricity or running water. Even in the capital, San Juan, electrical power remains unstable in places. Outside the cities, the countryside and the economy remains devastated, most especially the agricultural sector. Despite the problems, Puerto Rican people remain hopeful, upbeat and friendly, ready to celebrate the miracle of survival on a stricken island.
Play the audio to hear Sam Eckert’s story in her own words.
East Barre artist Samantha Eckert says, “They’re Popsicle sticks that I first lay out, and I scorch them with a propane torch. Before I build the towers or the sculptures, they’re all scorched. … They’re all chaotic, but they do have a sort of symmetry as well.” Eckert’s sculptures are not tabletop miniatures. She says, “The first time I made them for my thesis exhibit, I made 10 and they ranged from about 8 feet to 12 feet, and clustered together they sort of evoke city ruins.” The towers represent ancestors as well. Eckert says, “My older sisters were all artists of some kind. My mom studied art, and she had her degree in art education, so she always used to sketch us when we were little.” She says she can’t help but be conscious of her family and her ancestors’ blood within her, which is why she feels compelled to make artworks. “I’ve always been a maker,” she says.
Video: Click here bit.ly/XingzeLi to see and hear Xingze Li tell the story in his own words.
Xingze Li, of Brooklyn, New York, was artist in residence during August 2019 with 77Art in Rutland, Vermont. He earned his master of fine arts degree at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. About the process of making his paintings, he says, “Sort of, it’s a torture doing the work. You never know what is the end point, and you never liked it, and also things never did go as well as you planned. There are all kinds of issues or accidents during the process. And when you finish it, you actually are not sure is that actually completely finished, so you’ve left it there in the corner and after a month, and you look back, oh, it actually looks not bad. So then, it’s my work.”
Video: Click here bit.ly/ChampTaylor to see and hear Taylor tell the story in his own words.
Champneys Taylor, of Washington, D.C., was an August artist-in-residence with 77ART, living, working and engaging with the community from his studio in Rutland’s Opera House on Merchants Row.
“As far as I’m concerned, painting for me sort of runs the gamut of anything involving putting paint on some kind of surface. I very much like to set of some series of rules that I can follow while I’m making a series of paintings. While I’ve been here, I’ve done these monochromes, and then I have these other things that I did where I had a different set of rules, and these just allow handles into the act of painting. It’s kind of through that process that different visual themes or ideas can kind of emerge.”
“The thematic material is color and paint. … I don’t have a polemic as far as what my art is about. It’s not a question that I feel is on me to provide. I’m not saying there’s any great mystery to it. I’m not saying there’s not a meaning there. For me it’s the act of engaging and engaging with color, with paint, with the media and with any sort of array of physical objects out existing within the world.”
Originally from northern Virginia, Lizzy Lunday lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. In August 2019, Lunday was an artist-in-residence with 77ART in Rutland, Vermont. Lunday says, “The imagery that I use for my paintings right now for the series that I’ve in for most of the past year … all come from images I take from reality television.” She says, “I’m sort of thinking about how these images … inform and decide how we as a culture view people specifically like femininity, what it means to be a woman, like relationships, etc., we all view through reality television.”
Sarah Stefana Smith, from Washington, D.C., was artist in residence in August 2019 with 77Art in Rutland, Vermont. She works in photography, sculpture and installation. In her artist’s statement, Smith talks about how art as a political endeavor enables the creation of possibility in light of inequality and violence.
She uses bird and deer netting on which to project her photographs, adding physical dimension and depth to the presentation. It serves a metaphorical purpose as well.
Smith says “For me, the material that I use functions as a broader set of questions that I get to explore around what does it mean to think about space and place, what does it mean to think about African-American presence in space and place, and kind of what are some of the ways that people think about belonging in community.”
Smith received her doctorate from the University of Toronto (2016) and her master of fine arts degree from Goddard College (2010). She is a postdoctoral fellow at American University where she teaches in the Critical Race, Gender and Cultural Studies Collaborative and in studio art.
Bob Eberth, of Whitehall, New York, a U.S. Air Force veteran, a native of Queens, New York, says, “I’ve was writing for about six or seven years, and then I stopped writing for 10 and just picked up two years ago.” He says, “Some bad things happened, and I just kind of got burned out and just needed to get back in a situation where things were right again.” His medium is poetry, the metered line. Many of his poems are about a woman called Matilda, born right around the turn of the 20th century, orphaned at a tender age, living “in a little fishing village somewhere close to the Canadian border but still on this side.” The Matilda poems chronicle her life through more than a century and are framed from her point of view.
what happens at o’dark thirty
when midnight is hours past
and save for the light of a single lamp
the house is all dark and quiet
it’s the time when you sit reading long into the night
and the words on each passing page fills your mind
with ideas images & thoughts that will last a lifetime