Vermont Humanities

Georgia O’Keeffe: A Critical Look

Painting of empty cafe tables in a French street, by van Gogh
First Wednesdays

Georgia O’Keeffe lived 99 years and produced over 2,000 works in her 75-year career. James Maroney, the former Head of American Paintings at both Sotheby’s and Christie’s in New York who conducted her estate appraisal after her death, presents a critical evaluation of her best work.

This video was recorded at the Brooks Memorial Library in Brattleboro, VT on May 2, 2018.

See more First Wednesdays videos recorded by BCTV.

Recent First Wednesdays Videos

Soldiers and sailors statue in Barre, Vermont

Are Your City’s Monuments Worthy? Take the Quiz!

Many communities recently have questioned the value of long-standing monuments. These debates can strike at the heart of history and memory. Seeking dialogue instead of a shouting match, author Raffi Andonian suggests four simple questions for communities to consider as they evaluate historic sites, famous figures, and public monuments.

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Adapting Traditional Stories into Mainstream Literature

Author David A. Robertson examines his middle grade fiction fantasy novels, The Misewa Saga, and discusses what role traditional stories played in the development of the series. In this January of 2023 virtual event presented by the Norwich Public Library , he explains how he honored the richness, intent, and themes of those original stories.

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The Making of “No Other Lake”

In 2021, UVM student Jordan Rowell kayaked the 120-mile length of Lake Champlain. Over a two-week journey, Rowell and local filmmaker Duane Peterson conducted interviews to better understand the challenges facing the lake and to explore our relationship with natural resources in the era of climate change. The pair shares excerpts from their short documentary film and discusses its creation.

Author Bill McKibben speaks from a lectern in front of a white wall, wearing a green gray zip up fleece and glasses.

Where Do We Stand? A Report from the Climate Battle

Author and activist Bill McKibben— the Schumann Distinguished Scholar at Middlebury College and leader of the climate campaign group 350.org— shares an overview of the climate crisis and what changes need to be made to save the planet. McKibben spoke at Norwich Congregational Church, United Church of Christ on December 7, 2022, presented by the Norwich Library.

Author Andrew Liptak presents a white disassembled Star Wars Stormtrooper outfit to a group of onlookers at a library

The History of Cosplay

Cosplay— the practice of dressing up as a character from a movie, book, or video game—has a long history within science fiction and fantasy fandom. In recent years, it’s become a mainstream phenomenon. Andrew Liptak, author of Cosplay: A History, describes how cosplay has evolved from a niche activity of convention-goers in the mid-20th century to wide popularity today.

The Making of the Graphic Novel: 1177 BC The Year Civilization Collapsed

In this First Wednesdays event at the Brownell Library on November 2, 2022, author/illustrator Glynnis Fawkes reads from and discusses her latest work-in-progress and describes how the storytelling elements of comics—panel design, pacing, research, and narrative—are employed in creating non-fiction graphic novels. She also reviews the comic she contributed to the Vermont Reads 2022 book, The Most Costly Journey (El Viaje Más Caro).

a path leads out on to a rock ledge that overlooks a bay or ocean at sunset

Arribada, A Novel

Author and Middlebury professor Gloria Estela Gonzalez Zenteno discusses her new novel Arribada, about a woman pushed to confront her role in environmental and social injustice, and a well-to-do family’s realization that their comfortable position rests on crimes against the natural world, their town, and their loved ones.

A green hill spotted with small colorful doors for Hobbit homes

Tolkien and Goddess Worship

In this First Wednesdays event recorded on November 2, 2022 at the Rutland Free Library, UVM lecturer Chris Vaccaro explores J.R.R. Tolkien’s devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and his occupation with female divinities such as Varda, Yavanna, Melian, Luthien, and Galadriel in his work. Vaccaro compares these divinities with goddesses within Greco-Roman, Celtic, and Norse mythologies and considers Tolkien’s influences.

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Dirty Work with Author Eyal Press

In his award-winning Dirty Work: Essential Jobs and the Hidden Toll of Inequality in America, journalist Eyal Press examines the morally troubling jobs that society tacitly condones, and the hidden class of workers who do them. Press, a contributor to The New Yorker and The New York Times, discusses his reporting for the book, which won the 2022 Hillman Prize for book journalism and appeared on numerous “best books of 2021” lists.

A postcard illustration of the Rudyard Kipling Estate in Brattleboro, VT at sunset

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Reflections on Writing and Illustration

Vermonter Jason Chin has written and illustrated many acclaimed children’s books, including Grand Canyon, Redwoods, and Your Place in the Universe. He received the 2022 Caldecott Medal for illustrating Watercress by Andrea Wang. In this presentation at The Brownell Libary on October 5, 2022, he describes his passion for nature, science, and art,  and discusses the impact of his work with young people.

Vermont Humanities*** June 7, 2018