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.

June 7 :: NH Day of Giving

NH Gives Logo


Click here to donate to AVA as part of the NH Gives campaign on June 7.

What is NH Gives Day?

NH Gives Day is a 24-hour online fundraising campaign, designed to raise awareness about how essential nonprofits are to our quality of life and to highlight the generous spirit of the citizens of our state. Our goal is to unite people around the causes they care about and help nonprofits connect to the larger community.

On June 7, New Hampshire’s nonprofit sector will come together to celebrate our impact and amplify the generosity of our community, and we would love for you to be a part of it. NH Gives Day is brought to you thanks to the generous sponsorship of the NH Charitable Foundation, St. Mary’s Bank, Grappone Automotive Group, the New Hampshire Union Leader, and Heartwood Media, and with support from NH Businesses for Social Responsibility, the Granite, Monadnock, Greater Nashua, Greater Seacoast, and Sullivan County United Ways.

Click here to donate to AVA as part of the NH Gives campaign on June 7.

Thank you donors to AVA’s 2016 Silent Auction


Our 2016 Silent Auction Exhibition looks fantastic. The display features donations of artworks as well as essential goods and services from local businesses.

Click here to see the entire suite of donors and then come see the show to place your bids!

Click here to purchase your tickets to the Silent Auction Party and Final Bidding, Saturday, April 2, 5:30-8pm.

Thank you!

AVA’s 2016 Silent Auction is generously sponsored by:

Coldwell Banker, Redpath & Co. Realtors

Geokon, Inc.

Tyler, Simms & St. Sauveur, PC