Rockwell models reunite

ARLINGTON - During Bennington Arts Weekend (Aug. 1-3), models who posed for Norman Rockwell while he lived in Arlington (1939-1953) will gather at the Bennington Museum for their annual reunion. Taking place in the Paresky Wing of the museum on Saturday, Aug. 2, this event is free to all Bennington County residents and open to the general public with regular admission.

The day begins at 10:30 a.m. with an introduction by Jamie Franklin, curator at the Bennington Museum. There are morning and afternoon sessions scheduled when models will share their experiences. Additionally, at 2:15 p.m. Matthew Miele, Founder/President of Quix otic Endeavors Film Company will talk about his upcoming film entitled "Our Neighbor, Norman." The movie is based on the book, "The Unknown Rockwell," written by Buddy Edgerton and Nan O'Brien. The film is currently in development and is scheduled to be released in May 2016.

This year marks the 75th anniversary of Rockwell's move from New Rochelle, N. Y. to Arlington in 1939 where he made this his home until his move to Stockbridge, Mass. in 1953. By 1939 Rockwell was an accomplished artist and illustrator, already acknowledged as one of America's most recognized illustrators for the Saturday Evening Post. However, it was his time in Arlington that was his most prolific. According to Rockwell, one reason he liked Arlington was that it "swarms with American types. I'm very comfortable with the local people," he stated.

During the time Rockwell lived in Arlington, he painted some of his most famous Saturday Evening Post covers including, The Marble Shooter, The Babysitter, The Four Freedoms, Coming and Going, Shuffleton's Barber Shop, The Gossip, Saying Grace, and "the Four Freedoms". His last painting in Arlington was "Breaking Home Ties," which he began in Arlington and completed in Stockbridge.

The reunion brings together many of the over 60 models who posed for Rockwell during the Arlington years. Some of the models expected to attend this year's reunion include Ruth McLenithan Skellie, who modeled for the Marble Shooter in September 1939, the first published cover after Rockwell moved to Arlington. Melinda Pelham and Lucille Towne Holton expect to join the reunion and both modeled for The Babysitter. Also planning to attend is Mary Doyle Keefe who modeled for Rosie the Riveter. Mary Whalen Leonard, A Day in the Life of a Girl; Chuck Marsh, A Day in the Life of a Boy; Ann Brush Mason, Family Doctor; Clarence Decker, Going and Coming; Donald Hubert, Saying Grace; Buddy Edgerton, Growth of a Leader; and many more models will share their experiences and memories of the days in Arlington.


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