Artist Jo Tate & Company: Not Bowling Alone
Artist Jo Tate is one of a small group of painters who are exhibiting their work at the Hartland Public Library. I went to see their show, and found more than just art. I discovered a story, one if not unique to the Upper Valley, at least emblematic of how life is lived here.
Several years ago, Harvard sociologist Robert D. Putnam published a book called Bowling Alone, in which he observed that Americans were increasingly isolated, belonged to fewer social groups, and spent more of their leisure time in solitary pursuits. Putnam thought that this was unhealthy for individuals, but more so, bad for our civic life. Community depends on what he called "social capital," a then-trendy name for "connections, networks, and relations among people."
Orange and Gold by Helen Elder
Putnam might be happy to know that many people in the Upper Valley are not "bowling" or the equivalent, alone. Tate is a member of an art group called Odanaksis, Abenaki for "Little Village." Thirteen years ago, a handful of local artists met to paint together en plein air, or outdoors. Their first meeting place was a spot on the River Road in Lyme NH. Over time, their weekly gatherings continued and the group grew. It now meets each Thursday morning; the members choose a different location each week. They honor their original location on the River Road by returning there once a year to paint. Art and social capital, all in one.
Pumpkin Patch by Jo Tate
The artwork is a variety of mostly landscapes--oils and watercolors--and appropriate for the season, the two variations of a pumpkin patch shown here. Current members whose work can be seen in this exhibition include Jo Tate, Susan L. Rump, Jonathan Rose, Anne Rose, Linda Landry, Anne Hartman, Anne Webster Grant, Helen Elder, Becky Cook, Le Lieu Browne, Sue Bridge, and Gail Barton. The exhibition continues until December 10. For more information about the group, contact Susan.L.Rump@valley.net.
Need glasses to read the artists' price list? The Hartland Library has got it covered.
(Quotation re: social capital is taken from Bowling Alone Summary at enotes.com)
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Susan B. Apel, ArtfulEdge