Regional artists tackle theme of pandemic

SAXTONS RIVER — How will we emerge? This question is central to the new interactive art exhibition, “Emergence,” at Main Street Arts in Saxtons River.

This show, the third one since COVID-19 closed the organization in 2020, features the work of 10 artists living and working in southeastern Vermont. They are Anya Bredbeck of Westminster, Vale Burns of Brattleboro, Candace Jensen of Westminster West, Meetra Khamoosh who recently arrived from Afghanistan, Collin Leech of Westminster West, Evie Lovett of Westminster West, Fiona Morehouse of Putney, Amber Paris of Putney, Cynthia Parker-Houghton of Brattleboro, and Rachel Portesi of Saxtons River.

These artists came together to ask how reconnecting might look and how to engage the public in this endeavor through both a gallery show and the rise of a phoenix.

“The idea of the phoenix is a powerful metaphor - rising from the ashes toward a brighter existence,” organizers wrote in a news release.

The “Emergence” group exhibition opened on Friday, April 22, they said, “with a beautifully crafted nest and unhatched egg. The public is invited to write their hopes, dreams, and wishes on multi-colored flags that will become a phoenix puppet's wings.” Participants are invited to write what they wish to let go of on paper “to be crumbled into the nest or egg and burned ceremonially at the show's culmination.”

Emerging from the flames of a global pandemic, the large-scale phoenix is preparing to take flight at the end of Open Studio Weekend, May 28 and 29, at Main Street Arts. This pageantry will involve a parade, live music, and the burning of the nest and egg in a firepit at Main Street Arts.

Clay egg rattles crafted earlier in the month will be pit-fired within the coals of the burning nest. The May 29 events will happen in conjunction with numerous other events scheduled at Main Street Arts as part of the Vermont Open Studio Tour weekend.

The “Emergence” artists will be offering other workshops and events during the length of the show. One such workshop at Main Street Arts is planned for Saturday, May 14. It will focus on making gelli plate monoprints and will be hosted by artist Collin Leech.Drop in between noon and 4 p.m.

Materials will be provided, but participants are welcome to bring items that can be made into prints - with a preference for feathers that can become part of the phoenix story.

The community can stay up to date on these happenings by following them on Instagram at @emergencemsa, by signing up for the Main Street Arts newsletter, or by checking

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