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From Montréal, Kasini House Continues Art Biz in Vermont

State of the Arts


  • Matthew Thorsen

In this week’s cover story, businessman/philanthropist Lyman Orton extols the virtue of artists’ learning how to market themselves. It’s a skill that many right-brained types notoriously lack — and aren’t sure how to cultivate. But Ric Kasini Kadour and Christopher Byrne have quietly been pushing artists’ self-sufficiency for years. As noted here recently, in December the two closed up their Burlington gallery and shop, Kasini House, on North Street. They have been transitioning their art-dealing and publishing business to Montréal, where both live full-time. However, Kadour assures, the duo’s other Vermont projects will continue.

One of those has been hosting a monthly Burlington gathering that gives local artists a salon-style opportunity to share and discuss their work and trade tips for turning their talent into a livelihood. In fact, says Kadour, “We’re planning on ramping up the meet-ups and other professional development work we do with artists.”

The networking events will resume under the umbrella of the Vermont Art Works Initiative, still in development. Kadour adds, “We want Vermont to be a place to make art, and Vermont to be an art destination. We want Vermont artists to be professionals who make a livable wage.”

In 2005, Kadour and Byrne published the Vermont Art Guide, a resource for finding contemporary art — though, with galleries coming and going, it was soon outdated. Kadour says the 2009 edition will appear this summer, accompanied by a website, as will the Vermont Contemporary Art Annual, which will review both artists and galleries throughout the state.

For the greater Burlington area, the monthly ArtMap is an au courant guide to galleries and other art venues that participate in the First Friday Art Walk — which Kadour and Byrne also continue to produce. And Kadour has an occasional gig giving artist talks at Stowe’s West Branch Gallery.

In other words, closing the North Street gallery was akin to moving just “one of the rooms in Kasini House,” Kadour emphasizes. He and Byrne plan to open a new gallery in Montréal this spring, which will feature Vermont, New England and Canadian artists.