Exhibitions

The 2022-2023 Exhibit – MASKED: An exhibition of work by Vermont artists with disabilities 

A square graphic. Banner at top says, “The 2022-23 exhibition for Vermont artists with disabilities.” To the right, the Inclusive Arts Vermont logo. At center, a greyscale abstract image created with layers of moving fabric, different layering deepening the darkness saturation. Below, in bold orange letters, it says, “Masked.”

Inclusive Arts Vermont invited Vermont artists with disabilities to participate in MASKED, the organization’s upcoming visual arts exhibition. Currently, applications are being reviewed, and the artwork for the exhibition is being selected.

Artists were asked to submit works that represented their interpretation of the theme of MASKED. The theme arose in early moments of the global pandemic, but like many words, “masked” has nuanced and layered meanings. Possibilities for interpretation could include wearing masks, masking and identity, cultural masks, and so much more. Inclusive Arts Vermont encouraged artists to interpret the theme and its meaning as broadly as it takes to inspire their creativity. 

MASKED offers participating artists opportunities to be featured in statewide publicity, build larger audiences for their work, and receive technical assistance in the professional documentation and presentation of their work.  

The exhibition will travel statewide January 2022 through April 2023. Tour sites include Spruce Peak Performing Arts Center in Stowe, St. Johnsbury Athenaeum in St. Johnsbury, Southern Vermont Arts Center in Manchester, Main Street Arts in Saxtons River, Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, NH, Soapbox Arts in Burlington, and the Statehouse in Montpelier.

All exhibition host galleries are physically accessible and the exhibition will provide accessible program and communication features coordinated by Inclusive Arts Vermont. This includes, but is not limited to: verbal descriptions, audio tours, large print, braille, and gallery tours.   

Jury Members for the art selection process:

janet e. dandridge

Whenever I am presented with an opportunity to meditate on fellow artists’ works and provide space for the visibility of their works, I’m all for it! Exhibitions such as Masked are significant milestones in an artist’s career, giving them the chance to share their vision with different communities, share diverse experiences that need the space to breathe, and the much needed enjoyment of knowing that their work is living outside of their studio. Inclusive Arts Vermont values the necessity to uplift all voices, and with this travelling exhibition, those voices will be heard. 

I am an Interdisciplinary Artivist (artist + activist) primarily working with Photography, Installation Art, and Performance Art. My works are public service announcements that spark solution-based, tangible actions to combat adversities that continue to divide the human population. My works are also statements of how to see beyond the obvious and obscure, appreciating the beauty in the quotidian. 

– janet e. dandridge, Artist, Arts Equity Consultant, Entrepreneur 

janet e. dandridge is sitting on an angle, looking towards the sky with a fall landscape surrounding her. She is wearing hand-made hoop earrings, and a black tank top. janet has dark-brown skin and eyes, and sports a short, dark brown tightly curled afro.
janet e. dandridge is sitting on an angle, looking towards the sky with a fall landscape surrounding her. She is wearing hand-made hoop earrings, and a black tank top. janet has dark-brown skin and eyes, and sports a short, dark brown tightly curled afro.

John Killacky

John R. Killacky is an artist, administrator, and legislator currently serving in the Vermont House of Representatives whose book “because art” is coming out this fall. I so loved all the iterations of this exhibition, honored to have a print of mine included in ANEW, and can’t wait to view submissions for Masked.   

John Killacky stands in front of a gradient background that transitions from dark to light gray. He has pale skin, blue eyes, and is balding. He wears a pair of gray and clear glasses and a gray, checked blazer over a white button-down shirt. 
John Killacky stands in front of a gradient background that transitions from dark to light gray. He has pale skin, blue eyes, and is balding. He wears a pair of gray and clear glasses and a gray, checked blazer over a white button-down shirt. 

Shanta Lee Gander

Shanta Lee Gander  is a multidisciplinary artist whose work has appeared across different platforms and in different publications.   “I chose to participate in the group exhibition “Masked” as a jury member because I believe that art should be accessed by all and all should engage in our natural birthright of creativity.” 

Shanta smiles in this portrait as she stands against a brick wall. She is wearing a brown, long-sleeved sweater and a multi-colored scarf with tassels is wrapped around her neck. She has brown skin, brown eyes, and her black, braided hair drapes over and just past her shoulders.
Shanta smiles in this portrait as she stands against a brick wall. She is wearing a brown, long-sleeved sweater and a multi-colored scarf with tassels is wrapped around her neck. She has brown skin, brown eyes, and her black, braided hair drapes over and just past her shoulders.

Toby MacNutt

Toby MacNutt is a dancer, poet, artist, and teacher based in the Burlington, VT area. Their work across all their media engages with embodiment, particularly through their lens as a nonbinary trans, variably-disabled, neurodivergent person. They are particularly interested in how we create the ways we present ourselves to the world in different times, bodies, and contexts, and so are excited to experience other artists’ exploration of these themes in MASKED. Find out more about Toby and their work at www.tobymacnutt.com or say hi on instagram @tobymacnutt. 

Toby, a white person with a short dark beard and a shaved head, standing casually with forearm crutches, in leggings, t-shirt, and a purple galaxy print back brace. They are outdoors with soft-focus golden-green trees behind them.
Toby, a white person with a short dark beard and a shaved head, standing casually with forearm crutches, in leggings, t-shirt, and a purple galaxy print back brace. They are outdoors with soft-focus golden-green trees behind them.

Katie Miller

Katie Miller is a creator, mother, writer, administrator, and the Executive Director of Inclusive Arts Vermont. She enjoys bringing together her background as an artist and skills in nonprofit management to serve the community through her professional and creative endeavors. Katie has had a passion for exhibitions that both excite and educate since her undergraduate work and looks forward to working with the rest of the jury panel to put together Inclusive Arts Vermont’s latest show, Masked

Katie Miller looks at the camera from behind black glasses. She has pale, pink skin that is spotted with freckles, gray-blue eyes, and purple and silver hair. She wears a powder blue button-down shirt over a charcoal gray tank top. Katie stands in front of a beige wall. Over her shoulder, on the right side of the frame, is a piece of abstract rainbow-colored artwork created by her preschooler.
Katie Miller looks at the camera from behind black glasses. She has pale, pink skin that is spotted with freckles, gray-blue eyes, and purple and silver hair. She wears a powder blue button-down shirt over a charcoal gray tank top. Katie stands in front of a beige wall. Over her shoulder, on the right side of the frame, is a piece of abstract rainbow-colored artwork created by her preschooler.

Vera Longtoe Sheehan

Vera Longtoe Sheehan is an educator, artist, and activist. She serves the community as the Director of the Vermont Abenaki Artists Association, and the Founder of the Abenaki Arts & Education Center. She has an MA in Interdisciplinary Studies and BA in Native American and Museum Studies from SUNY: Empire State College. She agreed to be on the Masked exhibition selection committee because everyone needs to be visible and feel represented. 

This is a headshot/picture of Vera, who has brown hair, brown eyes, and is wearing brown glasses. She is standing in front of a white wall with a framed woven textile hanging on the wall.
This is a headshot/picture of Vera, who has brown hair, brown eyes, and is wearing brown glasses. She is standing in front of a white wall with a framed woven textile hanging on the wall.

Heidi Swevens

Heidi Swevens is a disabled, queer human, an artist, deep questioner, friend, neighbor, colleague, daughter, sister, aunt, lover of nature and roller coasters. She became legally blind in her early 20s which sparked both inner and outer exploration of what it means to “see”.  Photography, poetry, and painting accompany her explorations.  

Heidi was introduced to Inclusive Arts Vermont (then VSA) through acceptance of one of her photographs into the Engage exhibition in 2012.  She subsequently joined the staff and is currently the Director of Community Partnerships. 

Heidi Swevens smiles at the camera warmly, her blue eyes emphasized by her sky-blue sweater. She has light skin and short brown hair. She wears a spiral silver necklace and round earrings.
Heidi Swevens smiles at the camera warmly, her blue eyes emphasized by her sky-blue sweater. She has light skin and short brown hair. She wears a spiral silver necklace and round earrings.

For more information, contact Inclusive Arts Vermont:  
exhibitions@inclusiveartsvermont.org 
802-871-5002


Masked is made possible by funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Vermont Arts Council, Patricia Fontaine, and a group of generous individuals.

History

In 2012, we hosted Engage, a traveling, statewide exhibition of work by Vermont artists with disabilities. In 2018, we again partnered with the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts and the VT Association for the Blind to present FLOURISH, an exhibition featuring the work of 36 artists with disabilities. The show was on view at the Flynn’s Tarrant gallery for 3 months and featured works in acrylic, oil, and watercolor; drawings in ink, pastel, crayon, and charcoal; photographs, ceramics, weaving, and mixed-media sculpture and assemblages. The exhibition received an overwhelmingly positive response, with the opening reception welcoming hundreds of visitors. In 2020, we opened ANEW, a touring exhibition featuring the works of 29 Vermont artists with disabilities. ANEW opened, only to be sidelined by the pandemic. However, we moved the exhibition to a digital format, hosted digital artist talks, digital panels, and eventually, were able to display the exhibit publicly at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center and the T. W. Wood Gallery.

“I was validated, and with quiet breath, am able to finally at least whisper tomyself, that perhaps I am an ‘artist’. The experience was exhilarating, fun, and has given me a great deal more confidence in my artistic ability than ever before. I am so grateful to VSA for all the opportunities granted to me with this experience.”

Gail Wheeler, Participant Artist

As part of these exhibitions, we offer a full range of accessibility services including print materials in braille and large print, an audio tour, verbal descriptions of every work in the show, and specialized tours for people with low vision or blindness and memory loss.

For more information about exhibitions, contact Heidi Swevens, Director of Community Partnerships, or Katie Miller, Executive Director.