Sunday, November 4, 2012

Celebrating Monet at the Visual Arts Center

Sylvia Foy's Regatta at Argenteuil

When I went away to college, it was the first chance I had to decorate my room to reflect my own style and personality.  (Sure, I had that poster of Bette Midler in "The Rose" in my room at home, but that was just my admittedly lame attempt at being cool.)  Mount Holyoke had a fair at the student union before classes started where. among other things, you could purchase posters to adorn your dorm walls.  I proudly selected a print of a Monet painting for my room--one of the Argenteuil series if my memory serves.  It made me happy and I felt one step closer to seeing some of the art in person that I had fallen in love with in my high school humanities class.   So Monet has always held a special place in my heart.  Needless to say, I was excited to find out that this year's Fine Arts Festival at the Visual Arts Center is a celebration of Monet's life and work.  If the response to the Festival so far is any indication, I'm in good company. 

Liz Hutchinson's Festival Mural
The Festival started with a ribbon cutting ceremony at which Liz Hutchinson's mural featuring Monet and his beloved waterlilies was unveiled.  Champagne flowed (really!) and people shared notes about the events they were planning to attend.  I am particularly sorry that I won't be able to go to the French bistro-style cooking class, which sold out almost as soon as it was announced.

Lena Dallas' Chemin dans les Bles a Pourville
It was fun to walk around the gallery and take a look at the 140 "Monets" that our local artists have created.  I give these artists a lot of credit as I can't imagine how intimidating it would be to replicate the work of one of the world's favorite artists.  They were up to the task, though, and the exhibit is a pleasure.  As I was circling the room, I noticed some little girls running up to one of the paintings with a bit of extra excitement.   What was causing this stir?  It turns out that the painting was done not by one of their parents or a family friend but by their ten year old sister, Lena Dallas.  Let me just reiterate--a ten year old budding artist painted this work.  Lena was a student at the VAC's summer camp and it took her about 2 1/2 weeks to do.  I asked her how she chose this picture to replicate and she told me that she just looked at a bunch of Monet paintings on the internet and picked this one because it was bright and happy.   You go, girl! 

Andrea Piedmonte's Windmill at Zaandam
 The Festival was off to a great start.  I've already had the chance to attend a couple of the 15 events that are being held this month--Liz Hutchinson's lecture about Monet and Larry Stewart's original play "Monet: Impressionism on Trial"--and will share those experiences separately.   Take a peek at the schedule ( to see what piques your interest.  There's something for everyone.  Hats (or should I say berets?) off to Carolyn and Tom Hamilton and the Visual Arts Center for bringing this fun Festival to our community. 

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