Parks & Recreation will look at the history and artistic depictions of Vermont’s state parks and other formally designated natural areas, such as the state forests, the Green Mountain National Forest, and the Appalachian Trail/Long Trail which run through it, and the role they’ve played in the helping to make year-round outdoor recreation-from skiing/snowboarding in the winter to hiking and fishing from spring through autumn, etc.- an integral aspect of the state’s identity in the public imagination.
The exhibition will trace the history of Vermont’s parks and other formally designated natural areas from the origins of nature tourism in the region in the mid-nineteenth century through the formal development of a state park system and national forest designation beginning in the 1920s through the 1940s, alongside the state’s concerted effort to draw tourists, summer home owners, and full time residents through concerted marketing campaigns. A selection of works of art, including Sanford Gifford’s painting of hikers/camper on top of Mt. Mansfield from 1858/59 and Milton Avery paintings of Jamaica State Park, 1935-1943, and contemporary paintings by regional artists (the latter a collaboration with the Bryan Gallery), will tie together the themes of the exhibition, from past to present, in visually compelling ways.
Bennington Museum (Bennington, VT) will present the Museum’s portion of the show in two parts. April 1 – November 6, 2022, will showcase the historical story of Parks and Recreation. July 2 – December 31, 2022, the Museum will open, in an adjacent gallery, contemporary works depicting Vermont’s State Parks.
June 23 – September 5, 2022 Bryan Memorial Gallery (Jeffersonville, VT) will exhibit contemporary works depicting the parks in the Main and Middle Galleries.