From the Executive Director

Eugene Dauphinais courtesy of photographer Jack Rowell. Virginia Rice Kelsey courtesy of the artist.

September 30, 2019

It is always a pleasure to write about the positive experiences people have had here at AVA, whether as students, gallery visitors, exhibiting artists, or as participants at our many special events. This time I’d like to do it the other way around and draw the attention to two individuals who –in different, yet related capacities—have impacted AVA in profoundly positive ways. One is Winkie Kelsey, artist and—with her husband, Preston (Pete)—patron of the arts. The other is Eugene Dauphinais, who for nearly 40 years worked at the H.W. Carter & Sons overall factory—the Lebanon landmark that now is the home of AVA.


Winkie, an accomplished sculptor, painter and photographer, has for years been the driving force behind AVA’s stone carving program. There are reasons that one of the four core studios in AVA’s Sculptural Studies Building is named “The Winkie Kelsey Stone Carving Studio.” There are also reasons why AVA’s 11 Bank Street building was renamed the Carter-Kelsey Building following the extensive 2006-2007 renovation, made possible by a $4.5 million capital campaign.


This Tuesday, October 1, at 4pm, an exhibition titled Winkie Kelsey: 64 Years of Work will open in the First Floor Gallery at Kendal at Hanover (67 Cummings Road). All proceeds from the sale of her work will benefit AVA, an organization that Winkie continues to champion for the benefit of all. The exhibition at Kendal will be on display through October 31. Thank you, Winkie for your ongoing creativity and generosity!


Eugene Dauphinais worked at the Carter Factory until it closed in 1985. In the course of his nearly four decades of cutting fabric, sewing, pressing, folding and bundling the work clothes for which the factory was noted, he also was a keen observer of all aspects of the production and collected numerous photos taken of workers and machinery. When the factory building was being renovated to suit the needs of AVA, Eugene’s route for his daily three-mile walk through Lebanon always led him to stop by 11 Bank Street to see how his former work place was being transformed into an art center. Gradually, he started bringing with him treasure troves that he donated to AVA–photographs taken over the years, and examples of clothing that had been made at the factory. All of these were ultimately included in the Historical Display area in AVA’s entrance lobby. His visits were always sparkled with fascinating insights and anecdotes that brought the history of the building alive.Eugene played a key role when AVA in 2013 hosted the Smithsonian traveling exhibition The Way We Worked, which we juxtaposed with a display of the history of work in the H.W. Carter & Sons factory. (Simultaneously, we also presented a show titled The Way We Work, featuring the artists with studios in the building; Winkie was one of them.) Eugene and his wife, Anne-Marie, became cherished regulars at exhibition openings and special events.


This past Saturday, due to health reasons, Eugene had to move from his home on Mechanic Street in Lebanon to stay with his son and daughter-in-law in Massachusetts. We will miss seeing you on your walks and on your visits, Eugene, and wish you all the best as we thank you for how you have helped connect the threads from the past with the brushstrokes of the present. Here is to the many ways of working together to support AVA and the arts!

Bente Torjusen, Interim Executive Director