click to enlarge Paula Routly ©️ Seven Days
Once a year for a month, a historic home in the coolest corner of Calais becomes a pop-up art gallery. Fleeting as the fall, the Art at the Kent show features 20 Vermont artists working in all manner of media. Selected by a trio of expert curators, their paintings, prints, sculptures, handblown glass and other creations fill every inch of the otherwise empty edifice — itself a work of art — and dot the grounds outside.
The building has no insulation, so you have to dress according to the weather, which on Saturday was glorious. My friend Erin and I were all ready for “Interplay,” as this year’s show is called, when on County Road north of Montpelier, we hit a detour.
The sign didn’t actually say “Road closed ahead,” though we discovered it was. There was only an arrow pointing in the direction of a side road neither of us knew. With no map or internet, we followed a mostly dirt route in the general direction of Adamant. It narrowed briefly to one tree-lined lane but also brought us past some of the most spectacular barns — and vistas — I’ve seen anywhere in Vermont.
Was the diversion part of the show? I wouldn’t put it past cocurators Nel Emlen, Allyson Evans and David Schutz. It turned out to be an apropos way to happen upon the Kents’ Corner State Historic Site, which once lodged travelers on the old stage road between Canada and Montpelier. Instead of an inn, we found “a merry convention of creativity,” as cofounder Pamela Po