Vanessa Compton and Anna Weisenfeld, co-curators for HCA’s exhibition space, came to Greensboro from slightly different directions. A native Vermonter, Anna became strongly tied to the town when she began working at the Miller’s Thumb at age 20. Vanessa, on the other hand, grew up in southern Vermont comes from a long line of family members who spent their summers on Caspian Lake.
Their path to Greensboro may have been different, but part of their deep commitment to art comes from the same source their families. “My grandmother, Kay Brown,” Vanessa says, “was a professional mixed media artist who summered here every year and my parents are artists.” As a child, Anna grew up in her mother’s felting studio. “I was surrounded by art all the time. I saw from a young age that art was my whole life.” And indeed both women have made art their lives. Vanessa received a BFA in sculptural ceramics but has in recent years transitioned into collage. Anna turned her talents to handmade books.
Becoming the successful co-directors of Greensboro’s Miller’s Thumb Gallery was just another step they took in their immersion into the art world. For the past six years, Vanessa and Anna have exhibited more than 100 Vermont artists at the gallery and feel passionate about local artists. As they watched the new arts center grow, they became excited about the new gallery space being created. Vanessa says, “To imagine that there would be a world-class performing art space and exhibition gallery in the community was a dream come true.”
Vanessa and Anna envision the gallery as a satellite space for the many artists they’ve worked with for the last six years and also new ones to come. With the benefit of HCA’s enormous walls (11 x 18 feet), they are looking forward to showcasing larger works and also dynamic pairings of artists. For example, a retrospective of a deceased artist paired with new work from an emerging artist.
With a commitment to exhibiting local artists, the opening HCA show will feature Caspian Arts, a local arts group comprised of professional artists working in a variety of media around the Greensboro area. “This first show is such a joy,” says Anna, “because we have such talented artists in our community.”
As both artists and curators, Vanessa and Anna are eagerly looking forward to the endless possibilities of bringing more art to the Kingdom. Envisioning the future for the gallery, they imagine they will “showcase the talent that exists in the Kingdom and also feature guest artists from around New England and beyond. Vanessa says, “We are excited by this kind of cross-pollination that will celebrate and allow for a creative flow back and forth.”
“Caspian Arts” collection will be on exhibition through July 25, 2017.