Portraits in Action

For over a decade, the Vermont Folklife Center has been exploring the roots of the environmental movement and renewable energy in Vermont, documenting an evolving course of action that extends from the mid 1960s 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.

Seventy-two interviews later, “Portraits in Action” presents twenty-five Vermont pioneers in renewable energy, environmental conservation, and land use planning. This diverse cross section is intended to be suggestive rather than comprehensive, recognizing that there are many more whose work has also made a difference.

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?”

In our current political environment, consensus on the defining issues of our era continues to elude us. “Portraits in Action” offers the opportunity to spend time with a group of people who have been thinking hard about many of these issues over the course of their working lifetimes.  It is both and oral history and a call to action.

Portrait photography by Dorothy Weicker and Ned Castle; audio by Marty Dewees, Erica Heilman, and Gregory Sharrow; and personal statements by the individuals featured.