Chaffee to host BIPOC artists for Black History Month
By Victoria Gaithier
The Chaffee Art Center in Rutland is gearing up for winter and Black History Month exhibitions.
“We are in Vermont, and it’s cold. I thought it would be kind of fun to do ‘Baby It’s Cold Outside’ and because February is not far off to feature BIPOC artists for Black History Month,” said Executive Director Sherri Birkheimer Rooker.
“It’s all happening at the same time in the gallery,” explained Rooker.
The exhibit, “Baby It’s Cold Outside,” will feature work by photographer Lowell Snowden Klock, whose photos of winter will not only put a chill through you but highlight the beauty of winter in Vermont.
Fine Artist Heather Wilson, a self-taught artist, will bring glamour, sexy pin-ups, and all things pretty with her work.
Plus, Rooker said, “It will be outdoorsy inside the gallery feeling wintery.”
She has other winter ideas up her sleeve but wouldn’t let everything out just yet. However, she was happy to talk about how the Chaffee Art Center broke ground with its upcoming Black History Month exhibition.
“This is the first time we have celebrated Black History Month with guest artists since I have been back at Chaffee Art Center,” explained Rooker. She became executive director in 2019.
Rooker reached out on social media to find BIPOC artists, which stands for Black, Indigenous, People of Color, interested in featuring their work and stories at the gallery.
Congolese artist Seeko The Kid heard about the opportunity through the BIPOC Vermont Facebook page.
He reached out to Chaffee Art Center and will have five paintings on the gallery wall.
This opportunity isn’t just about him and his beautiful giraffes, rather other artists of color.
“Black artistry is really not represented and underlooked in the states, especially in Vermont. I’m hoping that showing my work at the Chaffee Center will not only pave the way for other Black and African artists but also share with Vermont a little piece of Black Excellence,” said Seeko the Kid.
Known as a multi-disciplinary artist, Seeko The Kid makes history at the Chaffee Art Center by participating in this guest artist exhibit.
His hopes are clear: “I hope the viewers take away whatever speaks to them as they experience my work,” he said.
Exactly what Rooker wants for both exhibits. She said, “We are the community art center, we want to make a difference. we want to help where we are needed.”
In this case, that means putting the chill on visitors and providing new stories and experiences from people of color.
It’s a combination that will bring anyone in from the cold.
Both exhibits run from Friday, Jan. 14, through Friday, Feb. 25. The Chaffee Center is located at 16 S. Main St, Rutland, Vermont. For more information, visit chaffeeartcenter.org