Juliana Dunn

Vision & Voice Gallery Director on "The Story Matters"

Vermont Folklife Center Vision & Voice Gallery director and curator, Ned Castle, recently sat down with Len Rowell to discuss the work of the gallery program on The Story Matters, a Middlebury Community Television show where Len invites guests from all walks of life to share stories and personal philosophies of storytelling.

Watch the complete show, below: 

Ned and Len covered a range of topics, including the role of the Vision & Voice Gallery as a platform for storytelling that “makes Vermonters more visible to one another.”  Ned further explained the Center’s approach to conveying stories in a gallery setting. The visitor experience, he said, should be rooted in the exhibition subjects’ lived experiences and displayed in a way that immerses the visitor.   

Ned introduced an exhibition in the works--the photographer Federico Pardo will explore the culture of ice fishing in Vermont through a series of photographs, audio interview excerpts, short films, and 360 degree virtual reality pieces.

Len asked Ned how he got his start as a portrait photographer, and Ned told a story about his time abroad in Italy during college, where he photographed pilgrims holding a vigil in Rome after the death of Pope John Paul II.

 The conversation continued on from there, drifting from how to build community and relationships through storytelling, to the power of music and the importance of traditions and cultural education.  To learn more about the Vision & Voice Gallery, click here


The Dames Visit "The Dames"

The walls of the Vision & Voice Gallery are currently adorned with large-format color portraits of members of the Colonial Dames--the culmination of a four-year oral history and portraiture project that yielded the exhibition, The Dames. The portraits all but fill the gallery walls, and in early June, the rooms were all but filled as well--you guessed it, with the Dames.

Members of the National Society of the Colonial Dames Vermont Chapter traveled from around the state to see their family members’, friends’, and fellow Dames’ portraits, to read their biographies, and listen to audio excerpts from oral history interviews conducted by a team of volunteers from the Dames organization working in collaboration with Vermont Folklife Center staff.

Watch a short film of the gathering, including reflections from the participating Dames, the Vermont Folklife Center gallery director and the photographer, Ned Castle--as well as the background story behind the “signature” exhibit photo of Jane Childs at Hildene in Manchester, VT.

During the event, project collaborator and third generation Colonial Dame, Barbara Benedict, outlined the process of assembling the exhibition, from collecting oral histories to scheduling photoshoots. Vermont Folklife Center gallery director and photographer, Ned Castle, explained his approach to working with each Dame to create her respective portrait. Elsie Smith, the current president of the Vermont Chapter, talked about her experience joining the Dames and the organization’s bright future. Barbara Benedict concluded the talk by appreciating the collaborative efforts of all involved.