Art of Action

Location:  Montpelier, VT
Project Description: 

Produced and delivered by the Vermont Arts Council in collaboration with philanthropists Lyman Orton and Janice Izzi, the Art of Action project commissioned visual artists to create suites of artwork that addressed issues identified by Vermonters as essential to their state’s future. Informed by research conducted by the Council on the Future of Vermont (CFV), the artwork created for Art of Action was designed to inspire Vermonters to attain their vision for the state’s social, cultural, and political landscapes. The artists’ thematic choices and explorations were guided by elements of the CFV’s Final Report. In February 2009, the Project Review Committee awarded commissions to 10 artists of 300 applicants. Starting in September, two concurrent exhibitions toured Vermont. The suites of artwork created for the project were displayed in galleries and museums, as well as in non-traditional venues – including an automobile dealership showroom, libraries, town halls, empty storefronts, an American Legion Hall, and the Burlington International Airport. An estimated 30,000+ visitors came specifically to see the artwork or join in local celebrations during the touring exhibitions. Due to its prominent installation at Burlington Airport for the entire month of December and the first half of January, many additional thousands of airport visitors conceivably ‘happened upon’ the exhibition during the course of their travels. As well, four PSAs received significant airplay (both audio through local radio stations, and video through a media partnership with Comcast) throughout the state. Through this combination of live interactions and print and electronic media outreach, including social networking platforms, it is estimated that more than 85,000 people experienced the project. In addition to the statewide exhibitions, selected pieces were showcased in Washington, DC at Russell Senate Office Building Rotunda in April 2010 in an exhibition hosted by Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy. Forty pieces were on display for a week, during which time they were seen by more than 8,000 Congressional staff and visitors. The entire collection of 105 pieces was reunited in July 2010 for a final exhibition, held at Main Street Landing’s Union Station in Burlington, Vermont. Following the exhibition 26 artworks from the collection were donated to community and cultural organizations in Vermont in order to secure the legacy of the project on a local level. The balance of the collection was sold or auctioned off to private collections across the country to help seed a future commissioning project for Vermont artists. Artists commissioned to create artwork for the Art of Action include: Susan Abbott, Gail Boyajian, David Brewster, Annemie Curlin, Phillip Godenschwager, Curtis Hale, Valerie Hird, Kathleen Kolb, Janet McKenzie, and John Miller.