Arts & Leisure

Art on Main taps Terry for new gallery manager

TERRY RACICH IS the new gallery manager at Art on Main, Bristol’s downtown gallery. Art on Main plans to open six days a week beginning in June and Racich hopes to usher in a bustling summer season.Independent photo/Steve James

All in all, we have to give credit to our amazing Vermont community for its enduring support during a hard time.
— Terry Racich

Terry Racich joined the board of Bristol’s Art on Main gallery a year ago — “just at the time we had to close because of COVID,” she said in an interview last month. That’s when things were bleak and getting bleaker. 

“It came to the point where we needed to let go of the director (Martine Bisagni), who we had just hired,” Racich explained. “So a couple of us board members took over the gallery until we could figure out what we were doing.”

Art on Main, it turns out, weathered the storm fairly well. 

“We are happy to report that with the assistance of two PPP forgivable loans under the CARES Act, a Vermont Arts Council grant, one generous donation, and positive results from our 2020 membership drive — we have come through in fairly good shape,” read Art on Main’s April membership e-newsletter. “We also had a profitable holiday season at the gallery because Bristol rocked with local shoppers this year. All in all, we have to give credit to our amazing Vermont community for its enduring support during a hard time.”

What to do with this good news?

What else? It’s time to shake off the COVID-hangovers and move forward.

The downtown gallery in Bristol took the opportunity this spring to give the walls a “much needed coat of paint”; they welcomed five new artists including Paul Forlenza (photographer), Sue Leppla (jeweler), Audrey Linn (sheepskin products), Erin Daigle (2-D watercolors, calendars, prints, cards), and Valerie Dearing (Shibori, raku and ceramic pots); and reinstated a gallery manager. 

Who? Terry Racich stepped into the role. 

“The gallery is looking good,” said Racich, who lives in Hinesburg now and has called Vermont her home for the past 40 years.

Though Racich is just getting going as gallery manager, she is no stranger to the art world. Back in her college days at Youngstown State University in Ohio, she studied studio art and theater. 

Racich moved from Ohio to Boston, where she worked for a company headquartered in Vermont. One day when she came up to north help with some admin work, she fell in love with the Green Mountain State immediately.

“I told my employer I had to move up here,” she said. “I went around looking for jobs, saying ‘Help! I want to stay in Vermont.’”

Vanguard Publishing hired Racich and she handled their distribution for much of her career. 

Racich also pursued her own private art business — Turtle Island Bags, which were handprinted silkscreen and canvas bags. She sold them at Frog Hollow, at craft fairs and a gallery in Essex, N.Y. But after a few years her materials became unavailable. “That was the universe telling me it was time to move on,” she said. 

After her bag business closed, she took on the role of festival director for Arts Alive from 2000 to 2004.

“I love art in all its forms,” Racich said. “I asked to be on the board at Art on Main because I wanted to be in the community here in Bristol… The artists represented at the gallery are people who really take pride in their work — and it’s nice quality work — and I love being in that environment.”

Racich will help Art on Main move full speed ahead this summer, starting with the gallery being open six days a week beginning in June.

“Now that we are really approaching post-COVID, we’re excited to get some classes going and do an exhibition in the fall,” Racich added. “Our goal is to service the community as best we can… We really want to interact with the community again… and tourists — they are a blessing.”

For more info about the gallery or how to become a member of Art on Main visit artonmain.net or call 802-453-4032.

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