Arts council honors achievements of four Vermonters

BRANDON — Internationally renowned folk artist Warren Kimble and famed novelist/poet/biographer Jay Parini were among four people honored at the annual Vermont Council of the Arts Annual Gala held this past Tuesday night at the Brandon Town Hall. Bruce Bouchard, who joined the Paramount Theater as executive director in 2008, and Carol Driscoll, executive director of The Carving Studio and Sculpture Center in West Rutland, received honors for “meritorious service to the arts.”
Kimble was presented with the 2013 Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts by Lt. Gov. Phil Scott for his 50 years of contributions to the arts. Those contributions range from his internationally known folk art to his promotion of arts while a college professor at Castleton College as well as his promotion of art throughout the state and in his home town of Brandon.
Kimble received formal art training from Syracuse University. After an early career in advertising, he taught in public schools and later joined the art faculty at Castleton State College. He left the college in 1983 to pursue his passion for painting full-time.
Since then, Kimble has been deeply involved in small town civic life and philanthropy. He has worked with other artists and community leaders to establish the Brandon Artists’ Guild, renovate the historic town hall, and rehabilitate a now thriving downtown.
Kimble’s paintings have been collected worldwide and the subject of one-person shows in New York, Boston, Syracuse, as well as towns throughout Vermont. His honors and awards include the 2002 George Arents Pioneer Medal from Syracuse University and an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree from Green Mountain College.
Parini, the Axinn Professor of English and Creative Writing at Middlebury College, received the Walter Cerf Medal for Outstanding Achievement in the Arts.
A long-time resident of Weybridge, Parini has written five books of poetry; seven novels; and biographies of John Steinbeck, Robert Frost, William Faulkner and, most recently, Jesus. He’s also penned several works of nonfiction, including “The Art of Teaching,” “Why Poetry Matters,” and “Promised Land: Thirteen Books that Changed America.”
Among his novels, “The Last Station” (about Leo Tolstoy) was made into an Academy Award-nominated film starring Helen Mirren and Christopher Plummer. He also writes for numerous publications, including The New York Times, The Guardian and the Chronicle of Higher Education, as well as publications with a focus on boating. His most recent biography on Jesus will be released later this fall as an online publication through Amazon — one of a series of biographies being written by noted authors throughout the country.
Bouchard received the Arthur Williams Award for Meritorious Service to the Arts. Since becoming executive director of Rutland’s Paramount Theater he has more than doubled its annual budget and has been instrumental in bringing many new shows and creative events to the theater to meet his over-arching goal of “making it a theater to every citizen of the greater-Rutland area. New offerings this year and next will be to bring in a large HD screen to show opera broadcasts, and also expand it to Sunday football game presentations and other popular shows that would draw large community crowds.
Bouchard has spent 40 years in professional theater: as an actor, director, artistic director and executive director. He was a founder of Lexington Conservatory Theatre and of Capital Rep (both in New York), winning seven national awards for development of new American theater. Bouchard acted in the original off-Broadway productions of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” He also served on the New York State Council on the Arts Theatre Panel, and as a National Endowment for the Arts auditor for eight years. He toured Russia twice on behalf of the State Department’s USIA-Arts America program.
Driscoll also received the Arthur Williams Award for Meritorious Service to the Arts. Prior to her 1997 appointment as executive director of The Carving Studio and Sculpture Center in West Rutland, Driscoll taught sculpture at the Studio for 10 years.
Since Driscoll began her tenure, The Carving Studio has expanded dramatically, providing continuously upgraded space for workshops, residencies, exhibitions and a nearby sculpture garden. In addition to a year of independent studies in Italy, Driscoll studied at the Art Institute of Boston and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. She earned her most recent degree in Cultural Anthropology at Mount Holyoke College. She has completed artist residencies in the U.S. and Japan. Her sculptures have been exhibited in solo and group shows in more than a dozen Vermont locations as well as across New England.
Tuesday’s event was hosted by the Vermont Arts Council and introduced by Executive Director Alex Aldrich. The two-hour event featured a video of Kimble talking about his work, and personal congratulations from Gov. Peter Shumlin via a video as the governor was in China promoting EB-5 projects.

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