More than the title implies
Kimball Jenkins School of Art show is about more than flowers
By Heidi Masek firstname.lastname@example.org
Art & Arrangements.
It’s a simple enough title. And this is certainly not the first time florists have interpreted artwork in a New Hampshire gallery.
But for Kimball Jenkins School of Art, the two-day Art & Arrangements event is a vehicle to gain some ground toward their goals as estate users and supporters fight to recover from a few tough years.
The agenda for the free open house Friday, Jan. 15, from 5 to 7 p.m., includes not only time to meet the artists and florists, but also to meet the new trustees of the estate — a main objective of the night.
“As you know, the distrust level of the previous trustees was sky high,” Steve Metzger said. Metzger is the chair of the 15-member, two-year-old volunteer group, the School of Art Supporters.
Previous estate trustees William Saturley, Eric Palson and Jill and Robert Wilson had become mired in legal dealings with the probate court and the state’s Division of Charitable Trusts. At a Nov. 28, 2007, court appearance (the same day a former employee was federally indicted for embezzlement), Judge Richard Hampe delved into the matter of rumors of a loss of up to $100,000 due to embezzlement, rumors about the estate possibly being transferred to the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen for their headquarters, and he wanted to know what happened to the estate’s antique furniture. (It was apparently sold at an auction in February 2005 through Hap Moore Antiques in York, Maine.)
In later troubles, photographs were stolen from a major exhibit at the property by a San Francisco artist just after it opened in July 2009.
Carolyn Jenkins, who had worked in theater in New York, died of cancer in 1981. She was the last heir to the late-1800s-era mansion and outbuildings at 266 North Main St. in Concord, which had been in the Kimball family for more than 200 years. She left it for charitable purposes such as encouragement of art or “prevention of cruelty to animals,” according to her will.
The latest set of trustees are “starting from scratch,” and one of Hampe’s directions to them is be open and transparent and get themselves out in front of the public, Metzger said. Part of that effort includes a public forum to discuss how the “property can best serve the community’s needs,” Thursday, Jan. 28, at 4:30 p.m. at the estate.
William Chapman of Orr & Reno, Peggy Senter of the Concord Community Music School, Garry Shirk, an independent management consultant, and Sherilyn Burnett Young of Rath, Young and Pignatelli make up the new trustee board. Hampe has also named Metzger a trustee “subject to being bonded” and he is not yet a voting member.
The Jan. 15 open house is a chance to meet the community art school faculty and sign up for winter classes, which start Jan. 18. Metzger said enrollment has been low in part because of the economy, but also because of concern about the stability of the school — and the School wants to reassure students.
On Jan. 15, visitors can meet and have books signed by Matthew Mead (www.matthewmeadstyle.com), who will be judge for the floral arrangements in the show. “I’ve heard him described to me as the Martha Stewart of New Hampshire,” Metzger said.
The open house is also a preview reception for the floral arrangements and some art that will be auctioned at the Saturday, Jan. 16, ticketed fundraising event.
Little endowment was left to cover running and maintaining the property after Walter Jenkins’ will was found to trump that of his daughter, Carolyn, her friend Mary Dewing of Durham told the Hippo in 2007. That, coupled with the assorted more recent troubles like embezzlement left the estate and school in a tough spot, financially. NHTI confirmed in December that it plans to move its visual art classes out of Kimball Jenkins for its 2010 fall semester — only because the program has grown too large to use the estate, the community college said. NHTI income made up a significant part of the estate’s budget. Kimball Jenkins also rents out function space.
So far, the School has held wine-tasting fundraisers in October 2008 and 2009, and a kitchen tour last spring. Art & Arrangements is their next foray into fundraising events.
Lorrie Carey of Marshall’s Florist in Boscawen, a longtime supporter of the estate and School, recruited the New Hampshire State Florists Association to co-present Art & Arrangements with the School of Art Supporters. (The Concord Garden Club had held a similar event in January.) Carey was almost an estate trustee — until she started questioning estate monetary discrepancies in 2000, according to Carey and Metzger.
Florists exhibiting include Fortin-Gage of Nashua, Hollyhocks of Dunbarton, Cobblestone Design and Cole Gardens of Concord, Jacques of Manchester and Studley’s of Rochester. They’ll be interpreting work by artists Scott Bulger, Al Jaeger, June Latti, Linda Johanson, Lee Roy Johnson, Kim Roth, Mark Ruddy, Aaron Smith, Natacha Sochat and Ian Torney. Work was chosen specifically to be a challenge for the florists, according to Metzger.
Art will be judged by Trish Anderson-Soule, former owner of Anderson-Soule Gallery in Concord, and current art consultant with Mill Brook Gallery and Sculpture Garden in Concord.