GREENSBORO — An art show opening for a glimpse of original paintings created while aboard a sailboat on Lake Champlain this summer will open Sunday for a short run — through Oct. 31 — at the Highland Center for the Arts (HCA). A concert will grace the event an hour into the opening.

The event is a fundraiser for a scholarship for young Vermont artists, said David Kelley, the vice-chair of the HCA board.

In an interview at the arts center on Wednesday, Kelley said the event will highlight more than a dozen artists whose work will be featured to support a wildlife education fund.

Masks are required, as well as proof of vaccination to attend the opening and concert.

Kelley said the event will see both beautiful art made in Vermont over the summer on idyllic Lake Champlain enjoyed, funds raised for a good cause — a scholarship down the road for a young Vermont artist inspired by the landscape — and a unique concert featuring the music from New England with the Mallett Brothers Trio and dad, Dave Mallett of Maine (he raised his sons in Nashville, Tenn.), and Tish Hinojosa, a songwriter and musician from the Southwest.

The event will feature seven artists who “… sailed the length of Lake Champlain this summer and painted scenes of Vermont wildlife and wildlife habitat,” according to a press release announcing the show.

The artwork will be sold to support the Vermont Wildlife Coalition’s education fund.

The art exhibit opens at 2 p.m and the concert will begin at 3 p.m.

All proceeds from the concert go to the education fund.

HCA Executive Director Keisha Luce said this week that the arts center is very excited to host both the art show and the concert featuring divergent musical inspirations and traditions, from the North Woods to the American Southwest.

In the announcement about the event, it stated, “Rob Mullen and Luke Mallett may not seem at first glance to have all that much in common. Mullen, of West Bolton, is an artist and outdoors enthusiast who has led numerous canoe expeditions for artists into the wilds of Canada with a focus on producing paintings depicting wildlife.”

“Mallett is a Maine-based musician, son of famed singer-songwriter Dave Mallett and a member, with brother Will, of The Mallett Brothers Band,” according to the publicity for the show and concert. “One thing he and Mullen do have in common is that both are lovers of wildlife. Another is that they’ll be participating in a combined concert — with the elder Mallett and Texas-based singer-songwriter Tish Hinojosa — and art show at the Highland Center for the Arts in Greensboro on Oct. 17.”

The event is being presented as a fundraiser by the Vermont Wildlife Coalition, with co-sponsorship by Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, Burlington City Arts.

“Growing up with a deep connection to the Maine woods, The Mallett Brothers Band has always drawn inspiration from the wonders of nature and the wildlife that we share this world with,” Luke Mallett said in an email. “From the coast to the Great Plains, and into the north woods, our forgotten connection to the wilder side is something we try to keep in mind and bring out in our writing.”

The press release went on, “The unusual confluence of musical and visual arts follows a summer-long mission by Mullen to travel the length of Lake Champlain in a small wooden sailboat, painting scenes of wildlife along the way. He brought along a succession of nationally recognized wildlife artists for various legs of the trip. They produced paintings that will be on display at the Highland Center event.

“Mullen is chairman of the board of the Vermont Wildlife Coalition, a group he joined out of anger at heavy trapping of beavers on a town-owned pond near his home. A lifelong hunter, Mullen said he initially opposed the trapping but relented after being told the trappers would be careful not to take too many of the animals. Soon after the town granted permission for the trapping, the beaver colony was wiped out.”

Kelley, a retired lawyer who lives in Greensboro who does volunteer work for the coalition and previously had organized musical events for charitable causes, booked the musicians. Kelley said stories like Mullen’s were far too common.

“I think it’s become clear to most people that the world we live in is undergoing some profound changes. Climate change is just one of many changes. I think that there’s a growing recognition that the human footprint only gets larger, and that available wildlife habitat only gets smaller,” Kelley said.

“At the same time there is an interdependence between all species, including humans and wildlife. In recognition of the changes, we need to change our policies and our habits. I think it’s remarkable that artists are very often at the vanguard of important changes, whether it is civil rights, nuclear disarmament, or wildlife habitat and wildlife protection,” Kelley said.

He added that he has seen “a unique generosity in the arts community. It’s full of people who are selfless and idealistic. The arts are the vanguard of social change.”

Kelley and Mullen decided to make the art show and concert a joint event.

“The most important thing I want to say is how grateful we are to have this incredible arts center in Vermont and to have them be so willing to open to embrace projects like this,” said Kelley, sitting on the patio of the arts center late Wednesday morning. “The Highland Arts Center has been such an incredible boon for the arts in the Northeast Kingdom.”

Luce, the center’s director, said between 30 and 40 works of art will be featured in the show that opens this weekend.

Tickets can be purchased online at: highlandartsvt.org

*****

Here are samples of the performers on the bill:

The Mallett Brothers Band: https://youtu.be/oqqD_l-tj-Q

Participating nationally recognized artists who will be exhibiting their work include:

More information about the Oct. 17 concert can be found here: https://www.vtwildlifecoalition.org/concert.

The Vermont Wildlife Coalition’s Education Fund is intended to encourage young Vermonters to get outside and to enjoy and appreciate the beauty of Vermont’s landscapes, lakes, rivers and streams and, in particular, Vermont’s wildlife and wildlife habitat. The hope is that by encouraging students to recreate those scenes in works of art others will likewise be able to share and appreciate Vermont’s natural resources.

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