Last year Burlington City Arts ceded the reins of the First Friday Art Walk to Ric Kasini Kadour; he proceeded to gather many more venues into the monthly event, and to publish a guide called "Art Map Burlington" under his eponymously named Kasini House. This month Kadour, who resides in both Burlington and Montréal, is reviving - for one time only - another former BCA project: "First 50." The democratic exhibition, which presents 50 local artists selected by lottery, opens this Friday at Kasini House at 64 North Street.
That address may sound familiar to Queen City art viewers: Until recently it belonged to Studio STK - the gallery and art-education facility owned by painter Sage Tucker-Ketcham. When she moved to new quarters at 12 North Street last month, Kadour took over 64. Everything fell into place when an apartment over the prospective gallery became available. "Kasini House is essentially getting a home," he says. "That really cinched it for us, to live where we work."
The front part of Kasini House will be an "artshop," featuring "products that artists make on the side - not their central work," Kadour explains. For example, a Montréal costume and theater designer makes "these little dolls from remnants of costumes," he says. He will also offer books and art supplies.
The gallery space will present rotating exhibitions by a "permanent inventory" of artists - from Vermont, Montréal, Provincetown, Boston and New York. Kadour hopes to open with about a dozen. He also expects to offer residencies in the diminutive on-site studio spaces. "We like the idea of bringing people here to experience Vermont - small works, small city," he says.
Meanwhile, Kadour is involved in yet another art enterprise: Art's Alive. He and partner Chris Byrne are providing "administrative support" to the struggling Burlington-based nonprofit, and will produce its annual festival in June. And did we mention Kadour hosts a monthly Burlington artists' meet-up? He is also the Vermont editor of Art New England and, with Byrne, author of the Vermont Art Guide.
No wonder the man seems ubiquitous in the local art scene. At least he's got more help: In addition to Byrne, Amanda SanFilippo came on last month as associate director of Kasini House. No doubt she'll be greeting the public at this Friday's "First 50" opening, from 6 to 9 p.m.
Oh, and down the street, Studio STK is opening a new show at the same time - fashions by Anthony Russo. Who says North Street isn't evolving?