Cheese and art at First Friday


B y Jaime Thomas

Fresh art and fresh cheese will fill up Granville’s museums next week at First Friday on Oct. 4.

The Slate Valley Museum will host Vermont artist Tony Conner, who is creating a new body of watercolor work specifically for the event.

“He is already working on a really great collection of pieces that reflect the spirit of the slate industry,” said Kate Weller, executive director of the museum.

Conner has been making sketches of such subjects as the Tatko Brothers Slate truck inside the museum and nearby slate yards. He then uses the sketches to create watercolor paintings.

On his website, Conner described his work as “exhibiting a range of representational expression, but common to all is a concern for the quality of light and its effects on form, color and texture. His paintings are constructed by transforming individual elements into broad shapes of color and value. In the depiction and feeling of light, his paintings contrast the elements of color, value and transparency.”

Weller said she is really excited to see Conner’s body of work and that it ties in with the museum’s aim to “keep bringing it back to regional history.”

She thinks an artist is able to come to the area and look at different possibilities with material that’s been around for a while.

“With Tony Conner’s work, he’s literally looking at the slate industry through a different set of eyes and bringing a new perspective,” she said, recollecting a trip to a slate yard.

“On a recent tour someone was saying the waste piles aren’t pretty—when you see them through artists’ eyes you see the intrinsic beauty,” she said.

Conner’s work, which will be on display at least through the end of October, ties into a year-long theme coming to the museum in 2014.

“We encourage them (artists) to not just present the body of work they already have, but to use the slate quarries for inspiration. With the upcoming Slate as Muse theme for next year, we’ve had an overwhelming response,” Weller said. Museum officials will be working this fall to select which applicants’ work will be displayed come the new year.

Meanwhile at the Pember Library and Museum, several artists from the Shirt Factory in Glens Falls will show their work.

Cynthia Holbrook creates jewelry and scarves using wire, beads, textiles and other materials. She currently operates a bead shop and studio in the Shirt Factory where she holds beading parties and classes.

Pastel Artist Bev Saunders, owner of bjsartworks, will also be on hand.

“Bev has been working in the medium of soft pastel for 20 years and continues to work the medium, challenging the limitless possibilities in painting in pastel. Bev’s style is serene with the emphasis on comfort and ease in a world that is set on high; her works bring you back to a peaceful place you can relax in,” according to her website.

A third artist, who has not been decided, will also display work.

For food sampling, Jeffrey Bowers of Sweet Spring Farm in Argyle will bring some of his goat cheese. And Steven Havel, who Museum Director Pat Wesner describes as a one-man band, will provide musical entertainment.

First Friday takes place from 7 to 9 p.m.

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