Burlington City Arts

JANUARY 24, 2017

BCA Announces 2017 Barbara Smail Award Winner


Vermont Artist Elise Whittemore Honored

Burlington, VT (January 23, 2017): Burlington City Arts (BCA) is proud to announce the 2017 Barbara Smail Award winner, Vermont artist Elise Whittemore. The announcement was made during the opening reception of Wylie Sofia Garcia’s (2016 Barbara Smail Award winner) exhibition at The BCA Center on Friday, January 20, 2017. Whittemore is the recipient of the 15th annual Barbara Smail Award. 

According to BCA Curator and Director of Exhibitions, Heather Ferrell, “Elise Whittemore has made important contributions to the vibrancy and excellence of Vermont’s arts community. Her recent series of prints explore both the physicality and possibilities of printmaking as well as the simplicity and beauty of the natural world. We are delighted to recognize Elise through the Barbara Smail award.”

Elise Whittemore is a painter/printmaker who makes a living as an editorial designer of books and magazines. She holds a BFA from Syracuse University where she studied printmaking, photography and design. Her studies have included woodcut printing and lithography at the Art Student's League in New York and a painting residency at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. Whittemore has been a member of the Brooklyn Waterfront Artists' Coalition as well as 215 College Gallery in Burlington, Vermont. Along with artists Kate Donnelly and Sumru Tekin, Whittemore ran the Young Curators of Vermont, a year-long class of high school students who learned curatorial skills and organized the gallery exhibit, Systematic Paradox, at Vermont College of Arts in Montpelier.

In her artist statement, Whittemore says, “I’m drawn more and more to the physical labor of art making. It’s not so much that it slows me down to think about what I’m making, as much as it challenges me to pursue the different ways the hand and material can create meaning together.”

As the recipient of the 2015 Barbara Smail Award, Whittemore is awarded a $1,500 cash stipend and $1,000 worth of class registration and/or usage of The BCA Center's studio facilities for one year.

BCA’s Barbara Smail award was established to honor Barbara Smail, a well-loved and highly respected artist from the Burlington area who died in the fall of 2001. The award is given to a mid-career Vermont-based artist who has a desire to expand his or her creative experience and has displayed an enthusiastic support of his or her peers. Previous award winners include Carol MacDonald, Jennifer Koch, Diane Gabriel, Catherine Hall, Lynn Rupe, Peter Gallo, Jude Bond, Anthony Sini, Kat Clear, Gregg Blasdel, Kate Donnelly, Sumru Tekin, Clark Derbes, and Wylie Sofia Garcia.

The Barbara Smail Award represents an important aspect of BCA, an arts organization that supports the arts, and is dedicated to connecting the community to the arts through creation, 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.

Photo: Elise Whittemore and Wylie Sofia Garcia. Photo by Sam Simon.