Bounty: Southern VT

Bounty: Southern VT

I wanted to share some of the nourishing fall programs & events happening in our area of Southern Vermont (and online.)

First, my longtime friend/artist/mystic Jess Weitz is offering two online programs: Inner Landscapes: exploring our psyche through the landscape and Archetypal Doll Making, the latter also in person at the River Gallery School where Jess leads Art & Meditation classes as well as daylong retreats.

Secondly, in addition to her weekly WORD CAFÉ gatherings in downtown Brattleboro, my gentle, soulful & talented neighbor Robin Marie MacArthur is offering a 6-week Fall Writing Workshop for poets, fiction & non-fiction writers which she describes as (and to which I can attest) “supportive, encouraging and semi-formal.”

Lastly, our esteemed teacher & dear family friend Scott Willis is offering his Hits The Spot Yoga Teacher Training/Immersion Program in 2019-20 which was for me (in 2012), a touchstone during a time of radical personal change & opportunity. Scott’s mastery, style, humor & compassion continue to inspire my personal practice & teaching.

We are so fortunate to have the depth & breadth of artistry, creativity & service in our area. When you enroll online or in-person for an ongoing class (or travel for a single-day event), it’s a win-win-win. You support an artist/teacher, they, in turn, support you, while the work that is shaped–on the mat, on the page, on the canvass–nourishes consciousness, connection & community.

Yours in abundance & gratitude,



Jess Weitz, River Gallery Art School
Robin MacArthur, Wordhouse
Scott Willis, Hits the Spot Yoga

and on the coast in Maine, former Vermont neighbor/author/friend:

Jodi Paloni, Maine Coast Writers Retreats
…Sweater-weather writing workshop, (leaning) into moments of nature, exploring the narrative of place, how outer landscape can mirror the inner landscape of our narrators, how setting can be leveraged to evoke an atmospheric tone in our poems and prose. We’ll write about the beauty we see before us and the grief we experience when we remember what’s at stake for our beloved planet. We’ll walk the magical coastal trails for peace of mind, healing ritual, and creative self-care. A hearty harvest menu will shore us for our forays.”



Get thee to the museum!

Get thee to the museum!

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I’ve always loved The Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts so when I saw that they had a new exhibit called: Women Artists in Paris 1850-1900, it was a no-brainer; though honestly, I was more excited about “women” and “Paris” than I was enthused about women’s art.

That is until I walked into the exhibit and felt wave after wave of emotion.


I wanted to weep. I wanted to fall to my knees. I wanted to throw things.

Why had I thought that men were the artists of the time?
And the authors and the scientists and engineers and the mathematicians and the leaders and the pilots and the firefighters and the warriors…

Why were the accomplishments of my gender so hidden, so maligned, so discarded by history?

(The 2016 film “Three Figures” comes to mind.)

I’d never done a gallery tour, not since my public school days, and I never wanted to until now. I wanted to know what I missed. And why.

I am heartbroken. I am appreciative. I am furious.

I am sorry that I did not know, did not celebrate, did not focus on the accomplishments of women.

“The first measure of success for a woman artist,” said the interpreter, “was to paint like a man.”

Isn’t this true everywhere? Men’s work/view/attitude serves as the benchmark for… Everything.

(Even my tea bags come with the quotes of men. Even my yoga teacher references the teachings of men almost exclusively.)

Confession: I have never taken an Art History class, and the subject of Women’s Studies didn’t exist at my Jesuit University (talk about achievement shaped around men!) so some of what I write here may be obvious to others, and even well worn, like the way “La Toilette paintings” of women in their dressing rooms, partially clad, were painted by men of women—as objects.

(#45 comes to mind.)

Not so a toilette painting by a woman where the sitter is subject, looking right back at the painter, and forcing the viewer to recognize her full humanity.

Women were turned away from the leading art schools, although one entered by pretending to be man, and women were further regulated to what was considered the bottom rung of art–the simplest to paint–still lifes–with the understanding that women could not manage the complexity of painting movement or the physicality of painting on larger canvasses or the indelicacy of painting nude. (In fact, they were prohibited from studying the male form altogether.)

To the women who pushed past, are pushing past, have always pushed past the artificial boundaries of a society shaped around men, THANK YOU.

Hillary Rodham Clinton, thank you.

Women Artists in Paris who painted into obscurity, thank you.

Clark Art Institute, thank you.

Gallery interpreters, thank you.

American Federation of Arts, thank you.

Laurence Madeline, curator of the tour, thank you.

Art historians and researchers, THANK YOU.

It is no surprise to learn, even while it is equally heartbreaking, that many women artists married male artists, and once married, gave up painting while he continued, and even more heartbreaking, resumed painting again after his death.

(“Your life must revolve around mine,” my father hollered at the kitchen table when my mother began to express needs beyond serving him.)

It is no surprise to learn that Nordic women were able to devote more energy to the arts, free to travel to Paris, because feminism had reached their part of the world first.

(Thank you, Nordic women, for leading still!)

During the tour, I watched as one older husband snapped his fingers at his wife when she paused too long in front of a canvass; and as another, changing his mind about the tour, came up to his wife, who was rapt in attention to the talk, forcing his headset into her hands and dashing off; while yet another oldler man whistled and scowled at the other tour group where three women were talking too loud (one of those women was the silver-haired interpreter.)

It was my husband who reminded me of this series of incidents which I took as a matter of course, but which for him, slowly awakening to the gender differential, shouted loud and clear, of a lifetime, lifetimes, of male entitlement.

What I did notice, uncomfortably, was that the exhibit guards for Women Artists in Paris were all men. It was an older man who came up to me as I scribbled into my notebook, telling me that I could not use a pen. It was a young woman, working the desk, who gave me a tiny pencil to use instead.

Gender discrimination isn’t a thing of the past. Feminism isn’t new or old. Women’s lives, like Black Lives, have always been full with humanity, even while that humanity wasn’t/isn’t recognized by the perpetrators of discrimination, degradation and assault and even while the absence of that full humanity is overlooked and often unseen by those who have been demeaned and those who love us.

The older I get, the more I weep in recognition of what was kept out of reach for so long.

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(Women Artists in Paris, 1850-1900 features more than 80 paintings by 37 women artists from across Europe and America–at The Clark until 9/3)

a mid-spring evening for women

a mid-spring evening for women

with the Pink Full Moon

In Southern, Vermont

Monday, April 30th
6:00 to 8:00 pm
Marlboro, Vermont
(in between Brattleboro & Bennington)

Join a mid-spring evening with women to…

Elevate the human condition.
Retrieve lost aspects of self.
Steep in the poetry of your life.

Experience the chakras with music, movement & meditation.
Enjoy a stunningly disguised workout.
Rest, stretch & dance in a safe & welcoming circle of women.
Participate in simple, co-created ritual.
Discover the elegance of spontaneity & surrender.

Be yourself.

Sink into 111 minutes of gently-guided flow from the earth to sky led by lifelong educator, yoga & yogadance instructor Kelly Salasin. Experience & skill irrelevant. If you can take a brisk walk and get up from and down to the floor, you’ve got this. Women of all ages welcome. (Youth of a certain age with advance permission.)

Experience the body’s energy centers—from grounding to flowing—from boundaries to open-heartedness—from playful expression and voiced truth to clear seeing—to silent knowing—shaped by an intuitively-crafted soundtrack, certain to move you–inside & out.

Come as you are. Tired. Weary. Anxious. Energized. Grieving. Inspired. Ready. Reluctant. Fit. Out of shape. Introverted. Extroverted. Hesistant.

Allow the energy of the gathering to rise up inside you as we organically weave an evening of re-lease, reintegration, and regeneration with music, movement & meditation.

Bring a small journal or notebook, a water bottle, and some kind of mat (or blanket), dress comfortably to move (layers work great), move barefoot (or with clean non-marking soles.) Optional: bring a something to symbolize new growth for the altar.

HOLD YOUR SPACE with the link below. (Add your name & email address to the payment along with one word or a short phrase about what brings you to the dance.)

Let Your Yoga Dance (LYYD) Instructor KELLY SALASIN has been leading dancing journeys (classes & retreats) through the chakras with women in Southern Vermont for over a decade. She is a yoga teacher, a regular assistant to leading presenters at Kripalu Yoga & Health Center, and the creator of Writing through the Chakras, an online journey for women around the world. She is also someone who still has trouble touching her toes and has spent most of the winter holed up in her home in the woods of Marlboro and so really welcomes this opportunity to gather and move among women.

The Outback at Marlboro Elementary (aka. the school gym) on Route 9 lends itself to the kind of playful expansion that is welcome in the 5th chakra, while the intimacy of the women’s candlelit circle creates a powerful container for warming, connecting & integrating. We benefit from the energetic imprint of children in the space and we leave the energy of women dancing behind to bless their space, particularly at May Day.

(Update: 3 spaces remain~