Artist reception set for Merck Forest

RUPERT - Take a ride in a horse-drawn wagon to see the works on display by plein air artist George Van Hook in "Colors of the Working Landscape" reception, to be held on Saturday, Oct. 6 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. the reception will be held on site at the Frank Hatch Sap House. The show will open Saturday morning Oct. 6 at and continue through Columbus Day weekend, Sunday, Oct. 7, and Monday, Oct. 8, from 10 a.m to 4 p.m., each day. Both the reception and the show are open to the public.

An award-winning painter residing in Cambridge, N.Y., Van Hook's paintings have been exhibited throughout the U.S., Europe and Japan, and this 16-painting body of work completed at Merck Forest & Farmland Center showcases the bucolic landscapes and working farmscapes through changing seasons.

Van Hook's style brings an immediacy to the surroundings he depicts - his painterly style engaging and accessible.

"I find George's work intriguing, as I am drawn to his perspective on locations and settings I thought I had seen and fully appreciated," said Tom Ward, the Merck Forest & Farmland Center's executive director. "On seeing his interpretation, I find myself engrossed in a new view, and experience a deeper appreciation."

A majority of the proceeds from the sale of these works will go to support the educational programming for our region's students. As Merck Forest & Farmland Center expands its educational programs and outreach, tuition through the 2012-2013 academic year is completely donation-based, making this place-based education accessible to all students throughout the region.

Merck Forest & Farmland Center's Director of Education, Sarah Ullman said that since last spring she and other staffers have worked with 430 preK-college level students in 36 classes representing 23 different schools.

"Merck staff has dedicated 230 hours to teaching and leading service learning projects throughout our 3,100 acres," she said.

Merck Forest and Farmland Center is an educational non-profit organization whose mission is to teach and demonstrate the benefits of innovative, sustainable management of forest and farmland. Merck Forest and Farmland Center is open to the public year round, seven days a week from dawn to dusk. There is no admission fee and the public is invited to enjoy the 36 miles of trails for hiking, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and horseback riding throughout the year. Merck Forest and Farmland Center is located at 3270 Route 315, Rupert, VT 05768. For more information, call 802-394-7836, or visit online at


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