October 25, 2007


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Spatial matters
Kimball-Jenkins, League of NH Craftsmen could merge — which leaves NHTI where?
By Heidi Masek hmasek@hippopress.com

Some of Sylvia Brofos’ Thursday night watercolor students have been with her for almost 20 years. They followed her from what is now New Hampshire Institute of Art to a studio in Hopkinton. Brofos took her 60 students to Kimball-Jenkins School of Art in 2002, where she now teaches six three-hour watercolor classes per week. Brofos trained as a commercial artist, working in London and then for Young and Rubicam in New York. She taught art at a women’s prison for 15 years.

About ten adult students gathered around a work table Thursday, Oct. 18, listening to Brofos go over a few techniques, value studies and how to construct shadows.

“Some of us have been painting together for over a decade so it’s a lot more than an art class to us,” said Patty Andruchuk of Manchester who teaches biology at Memorial High School, who started with Brofos in 1992. Students meet for dinner, or have tea or wine together at class. Conversation goes from painting to books to politics to science.

“This forces me to paint,” said Lisa Fortier of Concord. Kimball is really the only “community” art school around, said Lenore Child, who teaches art at Pinkerton Academy. NHIA classes are now more competitive, and more expensive, and require prerequisites. A civil engineer from Concord commented that there are few such historic buildings still open for community use like Kimball-Jenkins.

Last week, news came out that 70 students from the Kimball-Jenkins School of Art signed a letter protesting a possible partnership between the school and the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen. No decisions have been made, and the future of the Kimball estate is in the hands of the probate court, leaders of the organizations say. But a change at Kimball could impact New Hampshire Technical Institutes’ new and swiftly growing visual arts program.

“All of us who are being noisy about this really want this to succeed as an art school,” Brofos said.

Carolyn Jenkins died in 1981, leaving her two-acre parcel with five buildings to the city of Concord to “be used for cultural and educational purposes, including the encouragement of art.” A community art school was opened in 1985.

Kimball-Jenkins was in financial trouble a few years ago, when they initially approached the League. Since then, Kimball managed to get out of the red, in part thanks to NHTI. The college started renting space for studio courses in 2002, and launched an associate degree in visual arts last year due to the popularity of the classes. They project that more than 700 NHTI students will use Kimball-Jenkins this academic year. Many Kimball-Jenkins teachers are also NHTI adjuncts. Some are League members.

NHTI’s leasing contract runs out at the end of December.

“We’d like to continue having classes there,” said NHTI’s communications director, Alan Blake. NHTI has no space on campus for a studio program, he said.

If the League were to move its headquarters into Kimball at this point, it would include their office of eight staff members, gallery, library, permanent collection, storage and meeting rooms, said Beverly Wolf, president of the League’s board of directors.

“In my opinion, it’s utterly impossible to move League operations to Kimball because there is no room” unless they pitch tents in the yard, said Dan Dixon, who has been a League member for about 30 years and teaches at Kimball-Jenkins.

The estate is about “80 percent full” and growing, said Ryan Linehan, Kimball’s director of operations and education. NHTI has added about five courses each semester. About 400 NHTI students and 180 community art students are taking classes this semester, Linehan said.

Wolf said the League’s board would want to continue the current uses of the estate (which include rental to other colleges and schools) if they move in, “but there’s going to have to be some give and take on all sides.”

Conveniently, the home adjacent to Kimball-Jenkins is for sale. Wilson said he wouldn’t mind if NHTI bought it since state facilities are free of zoning regulations in Concord (it’s residential). The League is not currently considering purchasing it.

Eventually, the League would put their current building on the market, if they move. The property has been home to headquarters for 61 years.

“For the League to sell a piece of property which is in Concord, dedicated to the arts, and take space from another organization in Concord which is dedicated to the arts is just plain stupid,” Dixon said. He said he supposes one could argue that if the crowding at Kimball forced NHTI to build studio space, it would balance the loss of the League’s dedicated art space.

“I think it’s a grand idea,” said Jane Balshaw, a Canterbury fiber artist and League member. Space for workshops and classes at headquarters would help the League fulfill its mission of education, Balshaw said.

Trustees usually meet with a probate judge every three years, Wilson said. One is scheduled for the end of November, when the judge plans to review the estate’s finances, Wilson said.

10/18/2007 Perfecting a craft

10/11/2007 Handmade furniture
10/04/2007 Capturing nature on canvas and by camera
9/27/2007 Local color
9/20/2007 Nashua, in the abstract
9/13/2007 Local Color
9/6/2007 Looking at the world
8/30/2007 Art in the fresh air
8/23/2007 Berlin pride
8/16/2007 Finding money
8/9/2007 Park of arts
8/2/2007 New Hampshire treasure honored again
7/26/2007 Taking care of wood
7/19/2007 Local Color
7/12/2007 Local Color
7/5/2007 Local Color
6/28/2007 Local Color
6/21/2007 The great outdoors
6/14/2007 Play per day
6/7/2007 Goodbye, gallery
5/31/2007 Impressions
5/24/2007 Local color
5/17/2007 Stieglitz in Manchester
5/10/2007 They're artists and they vote
5/3/2007 Lowell is the canvas for a summer of art
4/26/2007 Local color
4/19/2007 Local color
4/12/2007 Local color
4/5/2007 A Saint paul student returns to show recent work
3/29/2007 Local color
3/22/2007 Compassionate cause
3/15/2007 Local color
3/8/2007 Making money
3/1/2007 Local Color
2/22/2007 Local Color
2/15/2007 Local Color
2/8/2007 Local Color
2/1/2007 DreamFarm Cafe's big show
1/25/2007 Built world
1/18/2007 Expressions of character
1/11/2007 Best practices
1/4/2007 Nominate your favorite for Governor's Arts Awards
12/28/2006 Art in 2006 in southern New Hampshire
12/21/2006 Time to learn
12/14/2006 Frisella's new studio; sell art for animals; girls only time
12/07/2006 Stained glass, found objects and ornaments
11/30/2006 No shortage of art sales
11/23/2006 A Granite State greeting
11/16/2006 Santa Claus hangs with artists
11/9/2006 Visual art meets poetry
11/2/2006 Local Color
10/26/2006 Local Color
10/19/2006 Local Color
10/12/2006 Almost 80 artists in Hollis ...
10/05/2006 Fine art in a field
09/28/2006 Local Color
09/21/2006 Local Color
09/14/2006 Local color
09/07/2006 Bel Espirit, a happening of chance
08/31/2006 An artistic endeavor
08/24/2006 The almost-all architecture edition
08/17/2006 Half century of creativity
08/10/2006 Obsession with the Isles of Shoals
08/03/2006 See the precise craft of carving with a chainsaw
07/20/2006 For museums or your living room
07/13/2006 Making their mark
07/06/2006 Sense of place
06/29/2006 New ground
06/22/2006 MAA honors scholars an artists of the year
06/15/2006 Galleries open doors
06/08/2006 It's sticky up here
06/01/2006 Mural for MCAM
05/25/2006 Scenes from the air
05/18/2006 Vanguardians sit down
05/11/2006 Public masterpiece
05/04/2006 Art helps kids at MAA show
04/27/2006 In-house artists on display
04/20/2006 No Pinocchio here
04/13/2006 School's out art's in
04/06/2006 Meet Michael Toomey
03/30/2006 Art builds community ...
03/23/2006 From Celtic design to Ayn Rand
03/16/2006 Got Cow?
03/09/2006 A creative view of China
03/02/2006 Monastery Arts open new show
02/23/2006 Love and art in one location
02/16/2006 Job loss leads to artistic success
02/09/2006 Art in the key of Adam and Eve
02/02/2006 Art to make you think
01/26/2006 New York artists to show at Derryfiled School
01/19/2006 A new age of artwork
01/12/2006 Photography buffs unite
01/05/2006 Jeweler teaches her trade
Alison Williams
All together now
A forest through the trees
A light in the dark
An event for artists, by artists
Anne Dufresne
Armand Szainer: never forget
Art group picks artist of the year
Art In The Park
Art in the Park sees attendance dip
Arts In Education Conference
Art like Crayons for grown-ups
Art you can sit on (if you own it)
Better Living Through Artistry
Capturing history with a panaramic view
Ceramic Biennial
Currier Kicks Off 2005 With NHSS Show
Die fotografieren
Doug Mendoza: Body Artist
Enjoying the Open Doors Trolley Tour
East Colony Fine Art has gone jazz
Equal Arts Opportunities
Exploring purgatory and paradise
Expressions coming from within
Fighting cancer with creativity
Free food, free music and plenty of art
Harry Umen: New Work

Head of the class
Heating up the canvas
Inside the artist’s studio
It’s art, and it’s even practical!
James Aponovich

James Chase
Jan De Bray
Local Artist, Global Message
Lollipops and Hand Grenades
MAA Adds New Dimension To Gallery
MAA Gallery Mixes It Up
Making Book With Children
Manchester Art In 2004
Morgan's "Danse" Comes To Manch
Morin Avoid Typecasting
NHIA chalks it up to May 14
Open Doors Manchester Returns
Open Doors Trolley Tour, The Winter Version
Looking for a crowd? Just add art
McGowan Fine Art Turns 25
Nita Leger Casey
Patti Matthis
Saint Anselm Favorite Returns
Searching for the extraordinary
Small Town Art Hits The Big City
Spirit Of The Holidays Exhibit
Step into the Art Pad at Langer Place
Stride and ride
Tagging goes to wall, gets legit
The art and craft of Glendi
The art of signs to art and stuff
The Art Of The Qashquai

The Return Of The Art Trolley Tour
The Ubiquitous Ann Domingue
Two-continent painting exhibit opens
Using nature as a canvas
Women's Art Group Marks 10th Year
Wyeth Works Return To The Currier