Contemporary Art at Rokeby Museum

Contemporary Art at Rokeby Museum

2019 Overview

In May 2019, Contemporary Art at Rokeby Museum begins an ambitious two-year project designed to engage artists and the public with Rokeby Museum archives, objects, buildings, and land. Project activities will demonstrate how contemporary art can pick up the unfinished work of history and foster civic engagement in social, economic, and environmental justice issues. Contemporary Art at Rokeby Museum will present two exhibitions, introduce an artist membership program, conduct a symposium about the relationship between art and history, and host an artist lab designed to support the development of an artist’s practice. Artists will be invited to make art at or about Rokeby Museum and their work will be shared online and at a festival in August. Contemporary Art at Rokeby Museum is a collaboration with Kasini House.

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In 2019, we are planning two exhibitions of contemporary art:

Rokeby Through the Lens

May 19th to June 16th , 2019
The writers and artists among the Robinson family were keen observers of the land. This attention to detail comes through in Rachael Robinson’s artwork and Rowland Evans Robinson’s drawings and published writings. More than any time in history, photography shapes how we see the world. We are bombarded with imagery, filtered through the camera, shared on social media. It comes fast and it comes at us in a volume that can be difficult to process. But in the hands of contemporary photographers, the camera is being used as a tool to slow down the flow of information. By creating complex photographs, they afford the viewer an opportunity to reflect and consider how to see the world. Among the work on view will be a thirty-foot photograph of Rokeby by Stephen Schaub that exemplifies how contemporary artists can draw out new views and perspectives.


August 24th to October 27th, 2019
Structures define our world. Some of us live among skyscrapers, row houses, condominiums. In Ver­mont, many of us live among houses and barns. Rokeby Museum, a National Historic Landmark, is a collection of houses, barns, and outbuildings that served a variety of ends. The exhibition repurposes these historic spaces as platforms for contemporary art and asks the viewer to contemplate the role that structures play in shaping our experience of the world and how structures can inform and shape the experience of others. Learn more about the exhibition.

Rokeby was a prosperous Merino sheep farm in the early nineteenth century, and the traces of its agricultural past mark the landscape. Today walking trails wind through pastures where sheep and dairy cattle grazed and orchards where apples and pears grew. A neighborhood farmer hays fields. Nine historic outbuildings display a selection of tools and equipment that once powered the farm. Barn foundations, wells, stone walls, and a sheep dip all remain as reminders of Rokeby’s agricultural past. Rokeby’s 90 acres offer a number of opportunities for en plein air painting, drawing, and photography. Beginning May 19, 2019, artists are invited to visit and make art at the museum.

Artist Membership

A new Rokeby Museum Artist Membership program provides access and resources to artists wishing unlimited daylight hours admission to the museum for art-making. Artist Members will be invited to share their work online and at a festival in August.


Art Rokeby Festival

August 24, 2019
Art Rokeby Festival is a day-long festival where Artist Members share their work in exhibition. The day will include an artist market, presentations, kids’ art making, and live demonstrations.


Art Meets History Symposium

Saturday, June 8th, 2019
What happens when artists mingle with history? What roles can museums play in an artist’s practice? How can engagement with history help an artist speak to the present? How can an artist’s practice be developed by engaging place with research and exploration? These are the questions we will explore at the Art Meets History Symposium, a day long meeting of artists and art professionals at Rokeby Museum. The symposium is open to all artists regardless of levels and styles, from en plein air painters and photogra­phers to those engaged in a social or conceptual practice. We also welcome art professionals and mem­bers of the public to join the discussion. The Symposium will introduce the Rokeby Artist Lab and other programs taking place this year.


Rokeby Artist Lab

September 26-29, 2019

The Rokeby Artist Lab is a four-day intensive of workshops and discussions designed to foster the integration of history and contemporary art into an artist’s practice.

Participating artists will learn how to use Rokeby Museum’s historic site and extensive archives to make artwork that picks up the unfinished work of history and fosters civic engagement in social, economic, and environmental issues. Artists will participate in site-specific tours that connect contemporary issues of race, gender, and the land with comparable experiences by Rokeby’s 19th century residents. Artists will be invited to present a slideshow of their work; receive supportive, critical, curatorial feedback about their ideas; attend talks about contemporary issues and Rokeby Museum; and engage in dialogue with guest artists, museum staff, and the public. Artists will complete the Lab with a project proposal for an art installation at Rokeby Museum in 2020, and a state­ment of practice that can be used for career advancement.

The Rokeby Artist Lab is being steered by a group of advisors who are sharing their knowledge and expertise in the formation of the program. Members of the advisory group include: Andrea Rosen, Cu­rator, Fleming Museum of Art, University of Vermont; Wylie Garcia, Artist, Program Director at Shel­burne Craft School; Erika Senft Miller, Multimedia artist; Nancy Winship Milliken, Artist; Ric Kasini Kadour, Artist, Writer, and Curator of Contemporary Art at Rokeby; and Catherine Brooks, Director of Rokeby Museum. The faculty of the Rokeby Artist Lab will be a group of established artists and art professionals.

Artist proposals will be presented to the Rokeby community and the Vermont Curators Group, with a select number being accepted for installation in 2020. Rokeby will specifically be looking for works that connects Rokeby history to current social, economic, and environmental issues, and that when exhibited throughout the grounds and historic buildings will activate spaces in new, distinct and purposeful ways

Applications will be available in late May.


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