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

Barre Exhibit Asks Artists To Interpret 'Them, Us And You'

This month, Studio Place Arts in Barre will show three floors of works interpreting the concepts of 'Them, Us And You.' Artists from Vermont and around the globe responded to the call and their pieces on subjects like immigration, religious differences, racial tensions, gender issues and classism are on display beginning Tuesday, March 8.

Vermont painter and sculptor Janet Van Fleet is co-curator of the exhibit along with Studio Place Arts executive director Sue Higby. Van Fleet recently spoke with VPR about "Them, Us And You."

What was the catalyst for this exhibit?

"The issues confront us every day. They are in the news. There are religious issues of religious differences, of class differences, of economic differences, gender differences, racial differences. Those are all things that create friction all over the world. There is not a paucity of issues. Studio Place Arts has been in business for 15 years now and we do try to do interesting and thought-provoking exhibits. This came up because it seems as though the world is encountering a lot more conflict about disparate perspectives and people who see themselves in opposition to others."

Credit Courtesy of Studio Place Arts
Thetford Center artist Carolyn Enz Hack installs her piece 'Encountering the Space Between' at the SPA Gallery in Barre. Her piece is made from wire, felt, mica, wood, mylar and metal.

What were some of the artists' interpretations of 'them' and 'us' in the Studio Place Arts exhibit?

"The third floor has a lot of work having to do with immigration and the experiences of immigrants. The second floor has a lot of pieces about poverty, surveillance, those kinds of issues and the first floor has a very large piece about genocide, also pieces on bullying, classicism, racism."

Who are some of the artists?

"We have a number of Vermont artists and we have an artist from Denmark, France, Slovenia, a Cypriot native from the U.K. A big swath of the world is represented here."

Credit Courtesy of Studio Place Arts
Detail of a ballpoint-pen-on-paper drawing by artist Assunta Abdel Azim Mohamed of Vienna, Austria, titled 'Generation Gap #7.'

What do you hope the audience sees or feels when they walk through the 'Them, Us And You' exhibit?

"As an artist, personally, aside from my role here as a curator, I really think it's important for a work of art to be interpretable in a variety of ways, you know, that it speaks differently to different people depending on what they bring to it. And I think that is the posture of openness that we're cultivating here with this exhibit about 'them,' 'us' and 'you' and that we all bring a different perspective to whatever it is. And it's just a question of making an attempt to open up to someone else's perspective. I hope that everybody who comes has a different experience."

"Them, Us And You" opens Tuesday, March 8 and runs through April 16. Later in the month in conjunction with this exhibit, SPA will hold an all-ages art project and a 'walk and talk' with exhibit curators. Find out more here.