RFPL hosts ‘Downriver’ art exhibit

BELLOWS FALLS — In late May, a group of 16 artists gathered in Bellows Falls for a week of fellowship and painting. Some knew each other; some had never met before. It was billed as “The Fryer-Hunter Gathering,” a colloquium hosted by friends Doug Fryer, a Utah painter and one-time Vermont resident, and local artist Charlie Hunter.

A show of selected works from that week, entitled “Downriver,“ is now on display at the Rockingham Free Public Library.

“Bellows Falls has fabulous subject matter for painters,” Fryer said in a news release, “ranging from serene river views to gritty post-industrial landscapes. That range is clearly visible in the show.”

Participants came from as nearby as Norwich to as far away as New Zealand. All stayed in town at local inns and AirB&Bs and took evening meals together. Darlene Doane of the soon-to-reopen Ciao Popolo hosted three of the four dinners, with the fourth taking place at Wunderbar after the screening of the painting-nerd whodunnit, Tim's Vermeer, at the Bellows Falls Opera House.

Pieces in the show are for sale, with prices ranging from $300 to $750, and proceeds will be shared with Friends of the Rockingham Library, the Bellows Falls Historical Society, and Rockingham For Progress, the local organization of which Hunter is a member working to restore and reopen the Miss Bellows Falls Diner.

“We asked folks to keep the prices as affordable as possible,” says Hunter. “This colloquium was about digging deep as an artist, not about churning out salable work. Some great stuff got produced, and we want to make sure it can be shared with the whole community.”

The Rockingham Free Public Library is located at 65 Westminster St., Bellows Falls. It is open Monday through Wednesday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursdays and Fridays 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and Saturdays 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. It is closed Sunday. The show is visible online at

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