Middlebury College Museum of Art

News & Events

Middlebury College Friends of the Art Museum Honor Five for Excellence in the Visual Arts

May 12, 2010

For immediate release: 5/12/10
For further information contact: Andrea Solomon, Events and Programs Coordinator, (802) 443–2034

MIDDLEBURY, VT—Each year the Friends of the Art Museum at Middlebury College recognize those who have made significant contributions to the community, either through their creative endeavors or through support for the visual arts in Addison County. At their Annual Meeting on Sun., May 2, the Friends honored five individuals in five categories. Student award winners were Middlebury College senior Jack Reed of Stowe, Mount Abraham Union High School senior Anna Pierattini of Monkton, North Branch School eighth-grader Luke Freidin of New Haven, and Weybridge Elementary School sixth-grader Nikhil Plouffe of Weybridge. Artist Kate Gridley of Middlebury was the award recipient in the category of Professional or Amateur Artist, Craftsperson, or Teacher.

Jack Reed’s work includes painting, printmaking, sculpture and set-design. He has excelled in Studio Art classes, and during his junior year he attended the Slade School of Art in London. Currently engaged in a second semester of independent study, he is exploring transformations—both the transformation of ordinary objects and the synthetic transformation of materials found in nature. He is working with painted bark fragments to create two and three-dimensional compositions. Art at Middlebury College and within the larger community has been enriched by Jack’s dedicated services. He has been a member of the Committee on Art in Public Places, and he has been instrumental in Vitality of the Artistic Community Association (VACA), a student organization dedicated to holding student art exhibitions and encouraging the exchange of artwork between Middlebury College and other groups. He has worked with students at all levels, providing guidance and technical assistance in sculpture and printmaking.

Anna Pierattini’s extensive and remarkable body of work ranges from portraits of orphans in Myanmar and El Salvador to murals for the school and to almost a thousand miniature drawings in a series called “Good Dog Nigel.” It incorporates the highest standards of draftsmanship with a mature and effective understanding of color. She is, as her teacher Elise Cleary writes, “a skilled and imaginative artist.” Her powerful skills of observation are joined with concentrated attention to details. Never satisfied with first results, Anna will re-work a piece over and over until it reflects what she wants it to say and does what she wants it to do. She has exhibited at the Art on Main Gallery and the Walkover Gallery in Bristol. She has used art to enrich the lives of her school and community. Most importantly, as an emerging artist she has taken time to reflect on the nature of art. She writes, “I have always thought that, when there are no more words, art is the answer.”

Luke Freidin creates photographs of unusual power and beauty which, according to his teacher, Tal Birdsey, are not accidental. From the raw material of a multitude of photographs, Luke selects an image in which he sees a core of possibility. He then crops, shapes and infuses the image with his own energy and spirit. The result, as in his series of fire photographs, is work that glows with vitality and brilliance. His teacher writes, Luke is able “to pull out from the mass of matter something to arrest us and catch us….[to] help us re-see and feel anew the things around us.”

According to his art teacher, Sarah Flinn, Nikhil Plouffe’s use of perspective results not from training, but from close observation of his environment and from the concentration and care he uses in his art. His willingness to transform assignments into unique and original works is evident in the multiple perspective drawings he has made. As a member of a classroom, he is both an artistic motivator and an inspiration. He has said that someday he may seek out a career which combines artwork and politics.

As an artist of independent vision and astonishing technique, Kate Gridley’s paintings have an infectious energy and an arresting point of view. She is able to suffuse everyday subjects with grace and elegance. Her work, which ranges from self-contained paintings to suites of multiple images, has been widely shown in solo and group exhibitions and is represented in many private and public collections. She has received numerous awards and commissions. The most recent—the commission for a portrait of Governor Jim Douglas—has received noticeable press coverage. Kate’s contributions to the artistic life of her community and her State are legion. She has taught beginning and advanced students, served on numerous arts committees and organizations, assisted elementary and high school classes, and enriched offerings at Middlebury College and other institutions. Most recently she ran the Jackson Gallery at the Town Hall Theater and was responsible for the historic stenciling in the main-stage theater. She has served on arts juries and provided stage sets for local theater productions.


Recipients of the Friends of the Art Museum 2010 Awards for Distinction in the Visual Arts (l–r): Jack Reed, Kate Gridley, Luke Freidin, Anna Pierattini, and Nikhil Plouffe

The awards process begins in January each year with a call for nominations from the community. For further information, contact Andrea Solomon, Events and Programs Coordinator at the Middlebury College Museum of Art or visit the museum’s website at museum.middlebury.edu.