Sunday, May 17, 2009

Sunday Sketchbook: Vermont

This week I attended a conference sponsored by the Council on the Future of Vermont. They've spent a year traveling the state, asking Vermonters to describe their hopes, worries and dreams for Vermont.

All of the artists in the "Art of Action" project were asked to attend, as we have based our work (including my "Elements of Place" paintings that you've been seeing here on this blog as they develop) on the work of the Council.

The report unveiled at the conference echoed my own hopes and fears for my adopted home state: how can we protect our small towns and farms from global economic pressures? Create the jobs that will keep our kids here? Against all odds, keep this place the dirt road, country store, cider and beer-swilling, hard-working, radical, conservative, tolerant, hayfield/cowbarn/garden-crazy place we love?

No one in the conference room had those answers, but sometimes just asking big questions is the most important step forward into the future.


Jo Reimer said...

Susan, I've so enjoyed seeing your paintings which have given me a look at the land and the towns in Vermont, but this post of sketches of the people shows me a whole other side, the soul of the vermont people. Thank you for sharing your community with us.

Kathy said...

Very sensitive sketches. You successfully captured the mood, and have some very strong design elements in many of the sketches. These would make good paintings.

Susan Abbott said...

Thank you, Jo and Kathy. Most of Vermont isn't at all the "Volvo and latte" place it has been painted to be in some elections. It's a hard-working and sometimes really struggling bunch of people up here who put up with the high cost of living, few jobs, and a sometimes brutal climate because they love the place. It's certainly not for everybody (and I can get irritated when it's only ten at night on a weekend and there's nowhere open for a drink after a movie) but it does inspire a passionate loyalty. I think the smallness of the state has something to do with that sense of ownership residents here have.