Arlington artistic heritage to be exhibited at state museum

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A comprehensive exhibition exploring the vibrant history and influential art community of Arlington will be on display at the Vermont History Museum from August 2019 through January 2020.

From roughly 1920 to 1960, Arlington was the center of an influential community of artists whose work shaped our image of America. Led by Norman Rockwell, these artists produced hundreds of illustrations for major magazines like The Saturday Evening Post, ads for major corporations and influential public service campaigns. Hugely popular before the advent of television, the lavishly illustrated weekly magazines were the most influential media of their day, bringing images of the world into the living rooms of millions of American families. Titled Norman Rockwell's Arlington: America's Home Town, the exhibit chronicles Rockwell and other artists who lived in Arlington, as well as the many local residents who modeled for the scenes of everyday life in America. Some of the most iconic images we know of life in America were in fact, portraits of Arlington's citizens.

The centerpiece of the exhibit are prints of Norman Rockwell's famous paintings of the Four Freedoms that created a national sensation when they appeared in the Saturday Evening Post. The popularity of the paintings fueled a national campaign to support the cost of World War II through the sale of War Bonds. The exhibit explains how Arlington residents who modeled for the paintings helped raise the equivalent of more than $1 billion by touring the country promoting the bonds.

The exhibit is a collaborative effort of The Canfield Gallery and The Russell Collection of Vermontiana, of the Martha Canfield Memorial Free Library in Arlington. It was curated by Don Trachte Jr., a Rockwell model and son of Don Trachte, one of the Arlington artists who drew the famous Henry cartoon strip for more than 50 years. The exhibition will run from July 30 to Jan. 30 at The Vermont History Museum, 109 State Street, Montpelier immediately adjacent to the State Capitol.

An opening reception for the public will be announced soon. For more information go to https://www.facebook.com/TheCanfieldGallery.

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