From its origins as a largely industrial section of the Queen City, Burlington's South End has become the town's thriving arts district. Over the last couple of decades, restaurants, breweries, shops and galleries have popped up all over the Pine Street area, repurposing the neighborhood's funky warehouses and factories into spaces for art and innovation.
The nonprofit South End Arts and Business Association is largely responsible for the shift. The org also puts on the city's largest art event, a sprawling extravaganza called the South End Art Hop.
Recently, a longtime contributor to Burlington's art scene, Christy Mitchell, stepped in as SEABA's executive director. The Savannah College of Art and Design grad founded and helms the nearby S.P.A.C.E. Gallery, located within the eclectic Soda Plant. She also ran Generator, a South End maker space, in its early years.
Here, Mitchell offers an inside look at Vermont's art scene.
Burlington landmark she loves:
The Andy A_Dog Williams Skatepark is a work of public art, in my opinion. Jozie Furchgott Sourdiffe also did a wonderful mural there in honor of Andy and the great work of the [Friends for A_Dog] Foundation encouraging young people. I love to watch people of all ages enjoy the park.
Best place to go to an art opening:
I obviously love to be at the S.P.A.C.E. Gallery for every First Friday Art Walk, which I have found to be a great spot for first dates! I mean, free snacks and things to look at so you don't have to look at each other the whole time? Brilliant!
Favorite local textile artist:
I really enjoy the work of Almuth Palinkas, a textile artist out of Barre. Also, [I love] any time an artist pushes the boundaries of what a medium is typically used for — like Emily Stoneking, [who] knits taxidermy animals or frogs being dissected.
Favorite local painter/illustrator:
Currently, Sage Tucker-Ketcham. I love what she's doing with color and shapes while exploring the ideas of women and home.
Favorite local sculptor:
Artists that explore new and old techniques really grab my attention. There have been so many female artists really making a name in local contemporary sculpture and installation, such as Estefania Puerta and Rachel Elizabeth Jones. Their content is really off the radar of common thought while using everyday objects.
Where she'd take an art-inspired Vermont field trip:
Cold Hollow Sculpture Park in Enosburg Falls. You can spend a whole day walking the grounds. And if the weather is nice, bring a picnic and relax.