Vermont Folklife Center Middlebury Vermont

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VFC Events :: The Countercultural Roots of Renewable Energy in Vermont: North Wind Power

Portraits in Action

Join Don Mayer, David Sellers, and Jito Coleman on Tuesday, June 28 at 6:00 PM in the Community Room of the Ilsley Library in Middlebury as they share stories about the beginnings of North Wind Power in Warren, Vermont, in the early 1970s.

This is the first of five programs organized in conjunction with the Vermont Folklife Center exhibit, Portraits in Action: Pioneers in Renewable Energy, Environmental Conservation, and Land Use Planning.

The gallery will have extended hours from 5:00 to 5:45 PM on June 28 in advance of this program.

The renewable energy movement in the United States was born of the social and political ferment of the late 1960s, and Vermont played a leadership role from the very beginning. Mayer, Sellers, and Coleman will reflect on their roles in the emergence of this movement and share their perspectives on the energy challenges facing us today.

Don Mayer was an anti-war activist who opposed the draft and participated in the creation of People’s Park in San Francisco. Arriving at Goddard College in the early 1970s Mayer enrolled in a course taught by Warren architect, David Sellers, for which he built a methane generator. At this time Sellers was developing his innovative design-build approach to architecture on Prickly Mountain in Warren.

Motivated initially by a personal commitment to self-sufficiency, Mayer teamed up with Sellers to salvage and recondition historic wind turbines from farms in the Great Plains. This enterprise eventually evolved into the wind turbine manufacturer, North Wind Power, which engineer Jito Coleman joined to oversee research and development. Coleman had previously lived and worked on a Wisconsin commune inspired by the ideas of R. Buckminster Fuller.

Today, Vermont wind turbine manufacturer Northern Power carries on the legacy of North Wind Power. Don Mayer is the CEO of Small Dog Electronics; David Sellers is the principal of Sellers and Company Architects; and Jito Coleman works as a renewable energy engineer on projects worldwide.


VFC Employment :: We are hiring!

The Vermont Folklife Center seeks to fill two positions: Major Giving Officer and Non-Profit Accountant/Business Administrator.

See the the full job descriptions here :: link


VFC Education :: June Cultural Sustainability Workshops

Upcoming Cultural Sustainability Workshop on June 24: Minimal Resource Filmmaking.

Check out our Workshop page for more details and registration information!


VFC Education :: 2016 Vermont Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program

Applications are now available for the 2016 Vermont Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program!

Lean more about the program and download registration forms here: link

VFC Exhibits :: Portraits in Action: Pioneers in Renewable Energy, Environmental Conservation and Land Use Planning

Portraits in Action

Portraits in Action is a multimedia exhibit that brings together the voices of pioneers in renewable energy, environmental conservation, and land use planning, and invites them to speak to the issues at hand. The exhibit presents twenty-five Vermont pioneers, activists, and leaders--a cross section that is intended to be suggestive rather than comprehensive, recognizing that there are many more whose work has also made a difference.

For over a decade, the Vermont Folklife Center has been exploring the roots of the environmental movement and the beginnings of renewable energy in Vermont, documenting an evolving course of action that extends from the 1960s and 70s to the present. Since this arc of activity has occurred within living memory, it has been possible to seek out and speak with the very people whose work has been an engine of change.

The exhibit pairs portrait photography and interview audio as a way for visitors to thoughtfully connect with each person featured. Image and audio are linked to personal statements written in response to the question: “What will bring us to the next level in meeting the energy and environmental challenges we are facing today?”

Portraits in Action will be on display from May 13 through August 6.

Exhibit sponsored by Main Street Landing, Vermont Community Foundation, Northfield Savings Bank, Blittersdorf Foundation and Cabot Creamery.


VFC Exhibits :: Life Under the Shadow: Paintings by Hom Pradhan

LHom Pradhan

Through the pairing of acrylic paintings and audio excerpts, the exhibit reflects the young artist’s experience growing up in a Bhutanese refugee camp in Nepal. As a child, Pradhan experienced challenging conditions among 120,000 refugees expelled from Bhutan. Despite these conditions, Pradhan found the incentive to make art, which helped him find and maintain peace and happiness within himself.

Hom Pradhan began to paint and draw at the age of seven. As a teenager, while still in the Bhutanese refugee camp, Goldhap, he completed the advanced course at the Institute of Fine Arts and Commercial Arts (IFACA). He then became a student instructor at the IFACA, where he taught fine arts, sculpture, and commercial arts to other refugees.

In late 2012 Pradhan was relocated to the United States, which presented a whole new set of challenges, including language barriers and cultural differences. His painting, however, has allowed him to navigate past these challenges as a visual, universally understood representation of a difficult time in his life.

Life Under the Shadow will be on display until July 31, 2016.

Exhibit sponsored by Main Street Landing, Vermont Community Foundation, Northfield Savings Bank, Blittersdorf Foundation and Cabot Creamery.




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