Welcome Hildegard Ojibway

February 25, 2019

The AVA community and Board of Directors are pleased to welcome Hildegard Ojibway as interim Executive Director to AVA Gallery and Art Center beginning February 25, 2019. Hilde is a long-time Upper Valley resident and has been Executive Director of LISTEN Community Services and the Good Neighbor Health Clinic & Red Logan Dental Clinic.

More recently, she identified a need for interim administrative services in the area and has specialized in this capacity, serving as interim Executive Director at Headrest, Good Neighbor Health Clinic, Vital Communities, and Hannah House.

Hilde also served as a State Representative in the Vermont House of Representatives from 2006-2008. She is a singer/songwriter and has appeared in AVA’s Mudroom as part of the band, “Never Too Late,” and most recently as a storyteller.

AVA is also pleased to welcome Bente Torjusen, who served for 30 years as AVA’s Executive Director until 2016, as Strategic Advisor in this interim period.

The search for a permanent Executive Director will begin immediately.

AVA is buzzing with activity! Hilde Ojibway notes, “I love the way AVA engages people of all ages and abilities. The current exhibit of art by area high school students is a great example of how AVA encourages creative development and provides ways to showcase that art throughout the community.”

We hope you will attend the High School Show now on display in the galleries through March 8, 2019. There are exciting educational opportunities for artists of all ages and levels of experience in our new spring and summer classes and camps brochure which can be found here. Finally, please join us for our Annual Silent Auction Party on Saturday, April 6 to celebrate art in our lives and enjoy the company of other members of the AVA community.

AVA Gallery director steps down unexpectedly

Paul “Trip” Anderson was named executive director of AVA Gallery and Art Center in Lebanon, N.H., in August 2016, succeeding longtime director Bente Torjusen. (Courtesy photograph)

February 12, 2019
By Tim Camerato
Valley News Staff Writer

The head of AVA Gallery and Art Center has stepped down, a little more than two years after accepting the job leading the downtown arts organization.

Paul N. “Trip” Anderson III, executive director of the gallery, resigned on Friday, according to Andrew Garthwaite, chairman of AVA’s board of directors.

Anderson confirmed in an email on Tuesday that he resigned, and said details of the separation still are being worked out.

“I am very proud of the significant transformations that have occurred at AVA under my tenure,” he said. “There were very high expectations when I came on board, and I believe we all underestimated the magnitude of what needed to be done in this transition. Nonetheless, I also firmly believe AVA is now well-positioned to carry its mission forward deep into the 21st century.”

Garthwaite said on Tuesday morning that Anderson’s departure was a “personnel matter” and that he didn’t want to go into details, but said Anderson is leaving the gallery on “good terms.”

“We’ve been very appreciative of what he’s been able to do for our campus,” Garthwaite said, praising Anderson’s efforts to grow AVA’s offerings and expand public art in Lebanon.

Anderson took the executive director job in November 2016, succeeding Bente Torjusen, who retired after a 30-year tenure that saw the gallery expand into a cultural institution located in the former H.W. Carter & Sons building, a former clothing factory on Bank Street.

“He came on at a time when there was a lot of expansion,” former AVA board Chairwoman Sloane Mayor said.

One of Anderson’s first accomplishments was the June 2017 opening of the 4,000-square-foot Bente Torjusen West Sculptural Studies Building, which nearly doubled the gallery’s capacity for classes and outreach efforts.

“He also brought an incredible strength to the organization in terms of (implementing) structure and systems to support everything that we were doing,” Mayor said.

“I think the executive directorship is never easy. You have to put your heart and soul and time into the organization,” she said. “AVA is well-known in its own right, and it takes skills that are multifaceted to bring it into the next future it may have.”

City leaders also complimented Anderson’s efforts to collaborate to improve Lebanon’s arts scene.

Anderson held meetings with leaders of the nearby Lebanon Opera House and the Upper Valley Music Center, which ultimately led to the creation of a city task force that studied ways to expand the public’s access to art.

While Anderson didn’t sit on the task force, he did regularly attend meetings to share expertise learned from his past work creating the Salisbury Cultural District in Worcester, Mass., according to City Councilor Karen Zook.

Anderson recently had applied to join a permanent arts commission in Lebanon, as well, she said.

“He has valuable experience, and it would have been great to have his experience on the commission going forward,” Zook said.

Paul Coats, Lebanon’s director of recreation and parks, said Anderson also was instrumental in projects that added art to the Mascoma River Greenway and partnered with the city to install exhibits at Colburn Park.

“We wouldn’t have had the success we had with (those efforts) had it not been for Trip,” he said.

Garthwaite, AVA’s board chairman, said the gallery hopes to soon announce an interim director before beginning the search for Anderson’s permanent successor. Until then, operations at the gallery are proceeding normally, he said.

Tim Camerato can be reached at tcamerato@vnews.com or 603-727-3223.

Find the ‘Best of NH’ Crowded Around Lebanon’s Colburn Park

May 9, 2018
By Tom Haushalter

It isn’t for the recognition that AVA makes art happen for the Upper Valley community. But when the honor comes from the community itself, we’re especially humbled.

New Hampshire Magazine recently announced its annual “Best of NH 2018” list, including everything from the state’s best antiques shop to its best martini, as voted on by its readers.

And the readers have spoken, choosing AVA Gallery & Art Center as New Hampshire’s Best Art Gallery.

The acknowledgment highlights how much it means to the community that AVA continue to foster creative expression. From featured exhibits in our gallery space to metalworking classes in the new Sculptural Studies building, from the popular Mudroom storytelling series to the annual High School Exhibition—AVA’s mission to provide everyone with opportunities to connect with art has earned an important vote of confidence.

Those same New Hampshire Magazine readers had even more love to spread to Lebanon mainstays. The coffee artists at Lucky’s Coffee Garage were recognized as “Best Coffee in the Dartmouth/Lake Sunapee Region.” And on the other end of Colburn Park, Salt hill Pub may now bask in the honor of having the “Best Burger in the Dartmouth/Lake Sunapee Region.”
Great art, great coffee and burgers—the stuff that happiness is made of. And yet we know these only scratch the surface of the amazing art and music and food and drink to discover and explore in the Upper Valley.