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Shelburne Museum Names New Art & Education Center

Written by Vermont Life on . Posted in The Arts

From our friends at Shelburne Museum:

East side of Pizzagalli Center for Art and Education, Shelburne Museum at dusk

East side of Pizzagalli Center for Art and Education, Shelburne Museum at dusk

The Shelburne Museum’s new arts center will be named the Pizzagalli Center for Art and Education after the Pizzagalli family, longtime museum benefactors and local philanthropists. Additionally, the building’s exhibition and education wings will be named for Theodore H. Church and the family of J. Warren McClure, respectively.

The Pizzagalli Center is named for James, Angelo and Remo Pizzagalli and their families. James Pizzagalli is past chairman and a current member of the board of trustees at the museum. The Theodore H. Church Exhibition Wing is named for Theodore Church (1925–2008), an art collector and owner of St. Albans-based Superior Technical Ceramics Corp., who supported Shelburne Museum for many years. The J. Warren McClure and Family Education Wing is named in honor of the McClures’ many major contributions to educational programming and access at the museum for more than 40 years.

“The Pizzagallis’ support of this transformational project has been essential to its success. The Pizzagalli Center for Art and Education ensures that Shelburne Museum will continue to be a vital part of the state’s cultural landscape, allowing the museum to broaden educational offerings and serve as a hub for the community,” said Shelburne Museum Director Thomas Denenberg. “We are honored to recognize these major contributions from the Pizzagallis, McClures and Ted Church to the future of Shelburne Museum and its benefit to Vermonters.”

The Pizzagalli Center for Art and Education opens on Aug. 18 with a ribbon cutting and day-long grand opening celebration.

“We are pleased to support this new and important cultural and educational resource for Vermont. We believe strongly in Shelburne Museum’s mission and are proud to see the institution move forward with this building and with a year-round program of educational offerings and exhibitions,” James Pizzagalli said.

The center is part of the Campaign for Shelburne Museum, a $14-million capital campaign, still underway. The campaign also includes an endowment to sustain the ongoing operation of the center and installation of a fiber-optic communications network throughout the museum’s 45-acre campus.

Features of the Pizzagalli Center for Art and Education include:

  • 5,000 square feet of gallery space that will be used for special exhibitions on a year-round basis.
  • An auditorium with seating for 135, allowing the museum to offer lectures, presentations and symposia.
  • The museum’s first classroom designed for classes and programs for audiences of all ages.
  • Design that meets the LEED certification standards of the United States Green Building Council including: use of local materials — such as Adirondack stone, Vermont slate and beech wood floors — to reduce required transportation of materials and to support the local economy; wood products selected from sustainably harvested forests; and energy efficient heating, cooling and lighting.

For more on the Shelburne Museum, see page 54 of the Summer 2013 edition of Vermont Life, on newsstands through Aug. 15.

Once, Twice, Three Times a Knitter

Written by Julianne Puckett on . Posted in The Arts

I am learning to knit. Again. For the third time.

The first time I learned to knit was as an undergraduate. At the ivy-covered women’s college I attended, there was a time-honored tradition of learning to knit during the between-semesters break in January, when we students had the option of remaining at home or returning to campus to take non-credit classes in fun, non-academic subjects: international cooking, belly dancing, sign language, origami, welding, cross-country skiing and, of course, knitting.

My roommate and I were classic overachievers. No simple project such as a scarf for us: we wanted to make sweaters. And not just any old sweater. We chose Icelandic sweaters with complicated patterns and multiple colors of yarn. This is the equivalent of saying, “I’d like to go sledding” and then strapping yourself onto a luge sled at the Olympics. While I did learn the basics of knitting that January, I only completed about 4 inches of the sweater, after which the unfinished project sat in a bag in the back of my closet until, many years later, a friend of my mother’s, an expert knitter, finished the sweater for me.


My second foray into knitting was slightly more successful. My sister and my college friends (they with their own unfinished sweaters) were all having babies, and I wanted to give each of them a handmade baby gift. Based on one old “how to knit” instruction booklet, I successfully completed a few baby blankets and hats; luckily, babies are small. Mind you, these were hats and blankets that only a new mother and good friend could love, as my skills were limited to knitting in one direction with no ability to fix mistakes, of which there were plenty. Luckily, babies are non-judgmental. I liked to point out how I had thoughtfully included ventilation holes so the baby wouldn’t get too hot.

Partial fail.

Now that those babies are all tweens and teens and I’m hooked on the homesteading trend, I got the itch to knit something for myself — something without holes and perhaps larger than 4 inches. Something that I wouldn’t be embarrassed to wear. Since wisdom does occasionally come with age, I put the (even older) booklet aside and signed up for a class.

At the first meeting, the instructor asked us why we had signed up for the class. Nearly everyone shared an unfinished college sweater or ventilated baby blanket story of her own, so I knew I was in good company. Wisely, our instructor encouraged us to start with a small project, something simple that we could successfully complete within the allotted class time. No Icelandic sweaters allowed: we each received a pattern for a rolled-brim hat.

Although the word conjures up images of a white-haired grandmother in a rocking chair, all alone save for the cat (or 12) at her feet, knitting can be quite a social activity. Our class only met officially a few times, but our meetings were filled with laughter and chatting. Despite our status as beginning knitters, concentrating on each and every stitch, we still tried to help each other through mistakes and confusion. And there was a general consensus that continuing our meetings over a glass of wine would surely only enhance our skills.

I’m proud to report that I completed my hat (made with a soft, luxurious alpaca yarn from the Northeast Fiber Arts Center) and even managed, with some help from YouTube, to fix a couple of mistakes. Not to mention that I have worn it in public, without embarrassment and without ventilation holes.

Third time’s the charm.

It’s Not Too Late for a Handmade Holiday

Written by Julianne Puckett on . Posted in The Arts

Peppermint scrub. Photo by Julianne Puckett.

The holidays are upon us again; for many, that means fretting over finding the perfect gift for everyone on the gift list. This year, forget the iPads and Keurig coffee brewers and consider a handmade holiday.

I dare you to find one person on your list who wouldn’t be thrilled to receive a handmade gift from you (well, maybe not the guy who posted that meme on Facebook that reads, “Homemade gifts are the perfect way to say I’ve got lots more time than money.” Get that guy a gift card). And yes, even if you are craft-challenged. Because the gifts can be handcrafted by your hands … or by someone else’s.

Make It Yourself

Even at this late date, if you keep your ideas simple, you can give handmade gifts. I recently whipped up a batch of peppermint sugar scrub that took literally five minutes to make, yet, packaged in pretty jars with some ribbon and homemade labels, makes a lovely gift. Do you still need a little something for your child’s teacher or your favorite librarian? You can find step-by-step instructions for making the scrub on my blog.

Chocolate bark. Photo by Julianne Puckett.

And you can’t go wrong with food. Got a crabby grandpa that hates every gift you give him? I bet he wouldn’t say no to some decadent fruit- and nut-laden chocolate candy bark. And I bet you wouldn’t say no to making it when you find out how easy it is (the recipe is on my blog): if you can boil water and wield a knife, you’re all set. At this point, you’re practically Harry & David.

Buy Handmade
Let’s say you’re not quite Harry & David. Maybe you’re more like the Harry & David catalog. You can still give handmade by shopping handmade. If you’re as fortunate as I am to live here in Vermont, you can barely take a step without finding a handmade gift.

Shop your local main street: no matter what town you live in, you’re sure to find an art or craft gallery selling beautiful wares from local artisans. I have stopped more times than I care to count into Frog Hollow — a Vermont State Craft Center — in Burlington to find a special gift for someone and have never been disappointed.

Lovely wares at a holiday craft bazaar in Charlotte. Photo by Julianne Puckett.

No gallery in town? Online craft emporiums such as can put you in touch with more artisans than you knew existed, from the local to the international, without even having to set foot out of your front door. Try qualifying your search for artisans by state to give your gift more local flair. Or simply shop the Vermont Life Catalog. I bought a beautiful set of luminaries from the catalog as a gift; knowing that they were handcrafted in my home state will make them that much more meaningful to the recipient.

And don’t forget local craft fairs, which are abundant during the holidays. You may not be crafty, but plenty of your neighbors are, and they’d love sell you a hand-knit hat, a fetching little apron, a polished wooden bowl, some silver jewelry or delicious maple products — and your family, friends or mail carrier would be even more delighted to receive them.

It’s not too late: happy handmade holiday to you!

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