The stars align for Jupiter art gallery

MIDDLEBURY — Steven Jupiter, 46, had spent much of his adult life engaged in an internal struggle about what he should do professionally. Should he continue to pursue a career in such conventional fields as lawyering, publishing and teaching, or abandon those pursuits and follow his passion: art.
He finally made his decision this past January. That’s when he concluded 15 years teaching math at Manhattan Prep in New York City in favor of opening his new art gallery at 4 Frog Hollow in downtown Middlebury, a venue that will primarily showcase his own original photographs and watercolors.
It is a leap of faith that he believes is well worth the risk in a state that he and his partner, David Roberts, have long admired for its creative citizenry and thriving arts communities.
“It seemed like a reasonable risk, and we jumped at it,” Jupiter said of his new career path and the 600-square-foot Frog Hollow space that he and Roberts have transformed into a cozy exhibition studio. The gallery on Monday was still a blank canvas, its bare ivory walls yearning for some creative adornments. Those will come, gradually, during the coming days leading up to gallery’s first exhibition, called “Hubbardton Creek,” which will be on display from April 3 to July 26. The centerpiece of that exhibit will be a series of photos that Jupiter took last summer and fall in and around the actual Hubbardton Creek, which meanders behind Roberts and Jupiter’s home in the town of Hubbardton, Vt.
“When you move someplace new, your senses are wide open,” Jupiter said. “You don’t have that indifference to your surroundings that sometimes happens when you see the same thing every day.”
Each photo offers a composite portrait of a tiny spot in the creek, using long-exposure digital camera shots that bring extra detail and a vibrancy of colors not common in conventional photography, Jupiter noted. For example, one of the Hubbardton Creek shots features an almost otherworldly green hue in the water that trickles between large black stones, small branches and sand. Jupiter explained the vivid green coloring is a product of the reflection from the lush leaves above the creek.
Jupiter enjoyed focusing on minute settings within a natural realm, a departure from landscape photography that tends to showcase sweeping vistas.
All 10 of the 24-inch-by-36-inch Hubbardton Creek photos are limited edition, with prints of 20.
The watercolors in the show are also very colorful. They offer a more abstract juxtaposition to the realism of the creek photos.
“I like it when people can see whatever they want to see, and a watercolor really is like that,” Jupiter said. “You look at it, and whatever you get from it is a valid experience. I just want to present something that is going to stimulate you in some way, even if it’s just that you enjoy looking at it and it might bring back memories of some kind of emotional period in your life. I just want to make that connection with people.”
Steven Jupiter Gallery will be open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday through Sunday, during the period of April through December. This will leave the winter months open for Jupiter to travel and generate more artwork for the gallery.
Jupiter is thrilled to have a spot in Middlebury’s Frog Hollow, which has long been a downtown center for arts commerce. His neighbors include the Edgewater Gallery and the Galerie Provenance.
“The more the merrier,” he said. “We want Middlebury to become an arts destination.”
And he realizes that a major bastion of art appreciation lies only a stone’s throw away from Frog Hollow: Middlebury College.
“It’s a college town, so there are a lot of people coming through,” he said. “We have some nice traffic here. We noticed that (Middlebury Chocolates) right next door does pretty good business — even in a blizzard.”
The new gallery will open its doors on April 3. A grand opening is being planned for Friday, May 8, to coincide with first (of the season) Middlebury Arts Walk. More information about the gallery and its owner can be found at stevenjupiter.com.
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].

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