Burlington City Arts

JUNE 16, 2015

Winner Selected for Herb Lockwood Prize, Largest Statewide Prize in the Arts


Burlington, VT: Burlington City Arts is pleased to announce the second recipient of the Herb Lockwood Prize - the largest prize of its kind in Vermont. Fine artist and typographer Claire Van Vliet from Newark, Vermont received the $10,000 prize during a press conference on Tuesday afternoon at The BCA Center. The Herb Lockwood Prize aims to reward the pinnacle of arts leadership in Vermont by shining a light on the state’s most influential artists. The Prize recognizes artists who produce significant work in the areas of visual arts, music, writing, drama, dance, film, and fine woodworking—while also having a beneficent influence on the community. The recipient of the 2014 Prize was actor and director Steve Small from Middlebury, Vermont.

Claire was present at the press conference as well as Herb’s brother Todd Lockwood, BCA Executive Director, Doreen Kraft, Stephen P. Kiernan, Vermont author and childhood friend of Herb, and the 2014 Herb Lockwood Prize recipient, Steve Small.

After receiving the 2015 Prize, Claire Van Vliet said, “It is a great honor to be selected for the generous Herb Lockwood Prize, and as any person working in the arts can say about money, it is very welcome and will go toward more work.”

About Claire Van Vliet

Since 1966, fine artist and typographer Claire Van Vliet has been creating fine art prints and handmade books in Newark, Vermont. From her modest studio in the Northeast Kingdom, she has impacted the art of bookmaking and printmaking around the world.
Claire’s art has influenced and inspired several generations of artists and fine bookmakers — many who have gone on to important careers of their own. Her works are featured in museums, libraries and personal collections throughout the country and have been quietly celebrated by the Vermont arts community for decades.

Claire is a recognized pioneer in the art of book construction, using weaving and folding to bind pages without the use of adhesives. To hold one of Claire’s books in your hands is a journey into a rarified world — a world of color, texture, design and language. But her creations are not just art for art’s sake. Claire often uses her work to speak out about human failings and social justice.

Claire has been the recipient of many awards and honors, including a MacArthur Foundation Prize Fellowship and an Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts from the University of Arts in Philadelphia. In 1955, Claire founded Janus Press, which has fostered unique collaborations between writers, papermakers, printmakers and artists. Janus Press has published over ninety books since its inception.

Even with such prodigious output, Claire still finds time to open her studio to local schools, and for many young artists it has been their first glimpse into the magical world of printing and bookmaking. To her peers, Claire Van Vliet is an icon. Her skill and dedication to her medium and her willingness to share her gifts with others is a rare and special combination.

More about The Herb Lockwood Prize

The Herb Lockwood Prize was founded in 2014 by Burlington author and photographer Todd R. Lockwood. The Prize has no application process, and artists do not know they are being considered. Nominations are provided by an anonymous network of arts advisors, located throughout Vermont. BCA is honored to administer this prize created through the generosity of private donors.
The purpose of the Prize is fourfold: to validate the work of the recipient, to energize that artist’s future, to encourage other artists to work ambitiously, and to honor Herb Lockwood’s memory by continuing his inspirational influence.

About Herb Lockwood

Herb Lockwood was an inspirational figure in the Burlington arts and music scene in the 1980's. His impact on the region’s arts and artists has proved to be enduring and profound. The breadth of art forms he practiced, and his influence on other artists in all manner of disciplines, created a legacy that remains inspirational decades later. The Herb Lockwood Prize seeks to recognize a person of comparable creativity and influence.

A native of the Adirondacks, Herb Lockwood moved to Vermont in 1982. He gained recognition in a breathtaking variety of art forms: cartooning, painting, writing, woodworking, sculpture, storytelling and tai chi. 

Above all, Herb Lockwood was a masterful musician. Formally trained on classical guitar, his musical inclinations knew no bounds—whether adapting ancient Irish jigs to a baritone bouzouki, creating a new vocal twist on an old standard, or ripping out riffs on a jazz guitar. The trademark of his work in all cases was discipline, a fastidious attention to craft of the highest standards.

Those standards proved to be magnetic. His Burlington home became a gathering place for artists of all kinds. Young people came to him for instruction; older people declared that he had started them singing again after years of silence.

It must be said, however, that Herb Lockwood was also full of the unexpected. He was a connoisseur of the inside joke and loved whimsy. He specialized in finding comedy in darkness and in the mundane. But behind his humor and modesty lay immense talent and even greater compassion. Herb was a loving man, and his art was but one form of his love. Herb Lockwood died in a Burlington workplace accident in 1987 at age 27.

For more information, please visit

The Herb Lockwood Prize is an important part of Burlington City Arts, celebrating over 30 years of supporting the arts, which is dedicated to the promotion of excellence, experimentation, and education in all forms of contemporary art. For more information about gallery exhibitions, special events, classes and workshops, please call 802.865.7166 or visit BURLINGTONCITYARTS.ORG.