A New Home for Outsider Art
Outsiders Art and Collectibles, a gallery known as “ground zero for the community-based resurgence of Durham’s art scene” in North Carolina, is opening in the lodge at the Inn At Willow Pond in Manchester, Vt. ‘Outsider Art’ commonly refers to untrained or self-taught artists; the style is often rough-hewn, naïve, primitive and childlike. Gallery owner Pamela Gutlon fell in love with outsider art years ago when she was exposed to the some of its ‘masters’ – artists like Jimmy Lee Sudduth, known for teaching himself to paint by mixing mud with berries to make paint, or Vollis Simpson, who started by tinkering with used engine parts and ended up making building-sized whirligigs. It’s the story behind the artist that truly captures Gutlon’s heart. One of Gutlon’s favorite artists is Eddie Hayes, a man in his early 60s, who went to high school but graduated without knowing how to read or write. He tells the story of his life through using colored pencils to draw highly detailed pictures of church gatherings and of the tobacco and blueberry farms where his family worked. “He has no computer, no internet, no TV – hence very little outside influence,” Gutlon says. “He’s as close to meeting the definition of a traditional outsider artist as you can get.”
The gallery will be open seven days a week, and will host monthly artist receptions. In addition, the gallery will sponsor an artist-in-residence program where visiting artists will spend a week traveling into community settings, such as retirement homes and halfway houses, to offer workshops to those who may not have access to art programs. The gallery represents more than 30 artists, mostly from the South, but Gutlon is excited to find the hidden gems in this part of the country. For information, contact Gutlon at [email protected], or visit outsiders-art.com.