Vermont Public is independent, community-supported media, serving Vermont with trusted, relevant and essential information. We share stories that bring people together, from every corner of our region. New to Vermont Public? Start here.

© 2024 Vermont Public | 365 Troy Ave. Colchester, VT 05446

Public Files:

For assistance accessing our public files, please contact or call 802-655-9451.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

VPR's coverage of arts and culture in the region.

Student Artwork On Display At Chaffee Gallery

The artwork on display this month at the Chaffee Art Gallery in Rutland ranges in style from African masks and ceramic animals to digital art, photography and acrylic paintings. One thing the artworks do have one thing in common, however, is that all the contributing artists are students.

Abigail Tamboer, is a 17-year old senior at Rutland High School. She stands in front of a whimsical painting that looks like it could have been taken from a children’s book.

“This is a self portrait of myself - I really love colorful things - socks especially - as you might notice."

Tamboer glances down at the flamboyant socks she’s wearing - bright brown and green with funny shapes all over them.  She says stand out socks, poofy skirts and hair bows are among her favorite fashion statements - and they’re all part of her self-portrait.

“But I left out the face and a lot of people might point that out because it’s trying to show the personality and not the person. When you see the clothes, people would come up to me and say did you do that?  I can tell by the socks.”

Tamboer’s painting is one of 308 original works of art on display at the Chaffee.  Meg Barros, the Chaffee’s executive director, says 22 schools - most in Rutland County - provided work from students in kindergarten through 12th grade.

“I think on many levels having the students have the opportunity to display their work in a true gallery - it’s important for the gallery because it shows that we’re embracing art at every level - it’s important for the student because it gives them a sense of pride in the work that they accomplish - and it gives them exposure to so many people that would otherwise not have the opportunity to come in contact with their creativity and we inspire people with our creativity.”

The Chaffee is headquartered in a gorgeous 19th century mansion in Rutland.  It’s an impressive backdrop for the student art, which is displayed throughout the building on two levels.

“I love the masks from Otter Valley," Barros says, "These masks are three dimensional and these masks have pieces that just pop off the wall at you literally and what these students were able to create using basic pieces of colored  construction paper. And each mask has it’s own personality and character.”

Barros says there’s a growing interest in art that’s created from found or recycled objects and she loves what several high school students did with old cardboard.

“And I’m looking at the dining room table in the yellow room and when the five sculptures I’m looking at came in from Rutland High School I knew I wanted to place them at the dining room table.”

Students cut up old boxes to create three-dimensional busts - layering the cardboard to form delicate cheekbones, hair, chins, eyes and mouths.

“One of the pieces even has these incredibly intricate eyelashes," says Barros, "basically she cut like fifty-five little incisions in a piece of cardboard.  Again what might seem like a limitation. They’re given a piece of cardboard, these students didn’t see a limit at all. They just embraced it and took it to it’s achievable level of creativity .

When people walk around the exhibit, says Barros, “They stand at the end of the table - I put Lincoln - one bust is of Lincoln - so I put him at the head of the table - it seemed appropriate - and then it’s like Lincoln is having dinner with 4 teenagers from 2014 - and I’ve heard more than one parent say if you were having dinner with Abrahama Lincoln - what would you say?"

Fred Lower is a fine arts teacher at Rutland High School and he says Rutland is an incredibly rich area for the arts with the two Chaffee galleries, Castleton’s art galleries, the Carving Studio and West Rutland Art Park for sculpture, and Friday Night Art Hops in the city.  He says kids in the area are lucky and this exhibit just adds to that.

“To have a place that’s open to the public, where there’s a reception," says Lower, "I’ve never seen it so crowded at the Chaffee and it just makes them feel good and show off a little bit.”

Talla Caruso, a 17 year old senior from Rutland High School, stands near the painting she has on display.  She says for her art is very personal - a relaxing and freeing process that allows her to express herself.

“There’s a reward when you create something and then you can step back and look at it and say - oh, I made that. Especially having it here in the gallery where people can appreciate that you made something that they can see and the work that you did - it’s very rewarding.”

The Chaffee’s student art exhibit will be on display through May 2nd.  

One in five Vermonters is considered elderly. But what does being elderly even mean — and what do Vermonters need to know as they age? I’m looking into how aging in Vermont impacts living essentials such as jobs, health care and housing. And also how aging impacts the stuff of life: marriage, loss, dating and sex.
Sage Van Wing was a Vermont Edition producer.
Latest Stories