John Killacky, executive director:
What a fun adventure it's been to put together this exhibition on Vermont's animal-powered transportation and agriculture. As the owner of a Shetland pony that pulls me in a cart, I've formed relationships with many horse folks across the state, many of whom invited me to meet their equines. I've also enjoyed field day demonstrations with the Green Mountain Draft Horse Association—the majesty of these gentle giants and their teamsters working the fields together in perfect harmony is sublime as they demonstrated plowing, seeding, growing, reaping, binding, and threshing.
Further inspiration for this exhibition came from Stephen Leslie's The New Horse-Powered Farm, a new book published by Chelsea Green Publishing. Leslie manages an organic farm in Hartland, and his book is a wonderful 21st century compendium celebrating the renaissance of farming with horse-drawn equipment. Tips on breed attributes, training, care for workhorses, and appropriate tools, as well as techniques for fertilizing, tilling, cultivating, and harvesting are illustrated with a plethora of photos. The book is augmented by first person narratives from various teamsters, farmers, and draft horse aficionados.
I also contacted curators and archivists around the state, and sat with them as they lovingly culled from their collections, selecting artwork pertinent to the contributions of draft animals to agricultural and transportation efforts. Animal Power includes historical and contemporary photographs, prints, paintings, drawings, and ephemera drawn from Bryan Memorial Gallery, City of Burlington, Dog Mountain, Essex Community Historical Society, Fleming Museum, Free Press Media, Frog Hollow, Grass Roots Arts & Community (GRACE) Gallery, Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, Merchants Bank, Richmond Historical Society, Rocky Dale Gardens, Shelburne Farms, and Shelburne Museum. Artists too were contacted and you will enjoy many of their contributions to Animal Power. They include: Kevin Fahey, Laura Hamilton, Stephen Leslie, Tina Mauss, Dona Ann McAdams, Peter Miller, Jean Nichols Cross, Katie Runde, Hannah Sessions, and Rett Sturman.
Exhibition sponsor Amy E. Tarrant
This exhibition is funded in part through support from the
Vermont Arts Council and Vermont Community Foundation.