Summer is a sloppy season. In Shakespeare, this is when the characters stumble through the woods, get drunk, fall in love with the wrong people, and generally make quite a mess.
The arts kind of follow that pattern here in the once frozen north. There are more art exhibitions, plays, concerts, circuses, operas, dance performances and other events than even the most dedicated spectator could attend. Memorial Day weekend, gloomy as it should be, is the start of those festivities, and it’s packed.
So, rather than a longer read on one event, here is a brief list of some of the summer events that will kick off in the coming days:
These are dark times, and some of the arts we have are going to reflect that. The best example might be the St. Gaudens National Historical Park in Cornwall, home to casts of many of the greatest memorial sculptures that country has produced. I won’t go far on one member suggesting that this is a place every American should visit. Augustus Saint-Gaudens essentially created American sculpture in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
The park’s grounds are open year-round, but its buildings reopen this weekend. This includes an exhibition in the park’s picture gallery of recent works by Courtney M. Leonard.
A citizen of the Shinnecock Nation, Long Island, Leonard’s multimedia works reflect the environmental and cultural threats facing her ancestral homeland and her people.
Leonard was the 2021 Saint-Gaudens Scholar. A reception for her starts at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, and she is due to give a talk about her work at the reception. The show runs until July 12. Admission to the Photo Gallery is included with paid park admission, $10 for ages 16 and up, free for those under 16.
Barnard’s weekly Feast and Field Market is held every Thursday through September. Live music has been a regular feature of the market since its inception, and this year is no exception.
The first market is scheduled for this week, with folk musicians Pete Sutherland and Oliver Scanlon and members of the Young Tradition Vermont’s Youth Commission, high school students playing traditional music, performing at 6 p.m.
Artists appearing over the summer are everywhere, from local favorites Bow Thayer and Myra Flynn to musicians from Madagascar, Ivory Coast and Estonia.
There is, of course, food and drink available for purchase, and you can buy tickets and pre-order on the market’s website, festinandfield.com. Music tickets are on a payout scale, from $5 to $20.
There are driving directions on the website, but the market is held at 1544 Royalton Turnpike in Barnard.
Also in the White River Valley, and also agricultural in origin, Vermont Almanac is hosting a night of storytelling and music beginning at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Chandler Center for the Arts in Randolph.
Vermont Almanac released its second volume last fall. It’s essential reading about life in Green Mountain State, especially since the disappearance of Vermont life and other publications that once offered reading about what it means to live here.
People reading their work on Saturday will include literary luminaries: former Vermont Poet Laureate Sydney Lea, of Newbury; poets Verandah Porche and Shanta Lee Gander; photographer Suzanne Opton, from Corinth; seed saver Sylvia Davatz of Hartland; and White River Junction farmer Chuck Wooster.
The music comes from Turnip Truck, a five-piece acoustic ensemble with members from Chelsea, Royalton and Tunbridge playing a mix of bluegrass, swing, gypsy jazz, old folk and country. The music first, then the readings.
Prior to this, there will be a Farmers Market outside and will provide food, drink and entertainment throughout the evening.
Tickets start at $10 and go up to $35 for boxes.
Visit chandler-arts.org or call 802-728-9878 for tickets or more information.
Upper Valley Baroque presents Bach Mass in B minor at 4 p.m. Sunday at the Opéra du Liban.
Composed in 1733, the Mass in B minor is Bach’s great end-of-career masterpiece. Sunday’s performance concludes the inaugural season of Upper Valley Baroque, which is committed to presenting early and baroque music at a high level and at an affordable price. Tickets are available at $20 and $40, though there aren’t many of those $40 seats left on the opera’s website, lebanonoperahouse.org.
There’s a lot going on in Vermont this weekend, okay?
Memorial Day weekend brings the annual Vermont Crafts Council Open Shop event. On the council’s website, vermontcrafts.com, there are 14 different open studio car tours, including one in the Upper Valley.
To name just one of the participating artists, Katie Roberts will open her studio on the second floor of the Bridgewater Mill building. Roberts’ paintings focus on nature, and she donates a portion of her profits to wildlife conservation.
Studio doors will be open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Alex Hanson can be reached at [email protected] or 603-727-3207.