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Art From Every Corner: Introducing ‘Vermont Sonder,’ by Raphaella Brice

On the left is an image of the art piece 'Vermont Sonder,' which shows an abstract outline of Vermont containing a stylized human holding a colorful heart. The image also features daisies, rainbows and the black and white colors of a cow.
Graphic: Laura Nakasaka; Art: Raphaella Brice
for Vermont Public

Vermont Public is proud to announce a new artist collaboration series that celebrates the creative people that call Vermont home. Our inaugural piece is by Burlington-based digital artist Raphaella (Raph) Brice.

Highlighting local art and artists has always been part of our story. The abstract Vermont shape of our logo will be filled over time with a series of original artworks that highlight the ideas, stories, creativity, and perspectives of artists throughout the state.

Raph’s art is inspired in part by her Haitian roots and describes her style as “cultural-psychedelic” — the art Raph creates draws from cultural, spiritual and mystical references while using vibrant color palettes.
Since moving to Vermont in 2020, Raph has held residencies with the Generator Makerspace and SEABA, and produced murals for the Fletcher Free Library, Burlington Discover Jazz Festival, Burlington’s Juneteenth celebration and the Waterbury Community Mural Project, among others.

In her piece, ‘Vermont Sonder,' Raph captures the transformative power that Vermont has had in her own life and in the lives of the people she's met since moving to the state in 2020.

“We all have thoughts, experiences, feelings…that all keep us connected. And even in my time here in Vermont, I’ve connected with so many different people that I never thought I would connect with before…there were gems, and hidden moments of sonder, where I realized that the person that I crossed paths with had a life, had a journey, and also found themselves in Vermont as well. And that really stood out to me.”

Raph’s inspiration for the piece was the idea of metamorphosis – both her own transformation from moving to Vermont, and Vermont Public’s transformation from VPR and Vermont PBS into a unified public media organization in 2021. Raph said she wanted the piece to honor Vermont Public's mission of collecting stories, inspiring people and providing space where Vermonters can convene and listen to each other.

“I think Vermont Public has a way of capturing miracles and people's stories. And that's what I grew up with. I grew up hearing a lot of miracles. And I grew up believing that I wasn't. And I felt like this was a chance for me to share the miracle within me, and also to collaborate with the mission of Vermont Public of sharing those miracles.”

She said she hopes the piece provides reassurance, endearment and encouragement for anyone who sees it.

“I just wanted it to be a message that helps to remind them…that you are where you're supposed to be. This is where you are. And that's okay. And as you continue to develop your story…this piece tells you, ‘we see you, we want to hear you, and go forth and be great. Transform, be and move forward.”

Join Raph and Vermont Public to celebrate “Vermont Sonder'' at a free launch party on Friday, March 29 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Burlington Beer Company. All Things Considered Host Mary Engisch will interview Raph and lead a Q&A. You can also enjoy snacks and a cash bar, participate in a community art project led by Raph and get first dibs on 'Vermont Sonder' merch. Learn more and RSVP.

Michelle leads the team that oversees station branding, marketing, events, communications, and audience services. She joined VPR in 2002.
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