Jon Turk: Crocodiles and Ice, An Illustrated Lecture

7PM Thursday, November 9
Jon Turk: Crocodiles and Ice, An Illustrated Lecture
Howe Library, Hanover, NH

Jon Turk, nominated by National Geographic as one of the Top Ten Adventurers of the Year in 2012, will discuss the details of his 1500-mile, 104-day journey circumnavigating Ellesmere Island in 2011. This journey, along with others, is chronicled in his latest book, Crocodiles and Ice.
Please join us as adventurer, author, and scientist Jon Turk shares insights gained from a lifetime of travel in the “deep wild,” where one learns to “turn off your think-too-much-know-it-all brain and seek the primeval joys of companionship, art, and adventure.”
Jointly sponsored by The Center for Circumpolar Studies and Howe Library as part of Everyone is Reading, Howe Library’s annual community read program.
Free & Open to the Public. Donations Gratefully Accepted.

The Southern Ocean: An Illustrated Lecture by Steven B. Young

7PM Wednesday, November 16
The Southern Ocean: An Illustrated Lecture by Steven B. Young
Fairbanks Museum, St. Johnsbury

worldThe Southern Ocean lies to the south of all continents except Antarctica.  It stretches in a continuous band around the world in high southern latitudes.  Its strong currents isolate Antarctica from the rest of the world, and they have an enormous effect on climate, past and present.  The Southern Ocean and its islands provide a unique habitat for whales, penguins, and a host of other creatures.
Paleoecologist Steven Young will talk about his visits to many Antarctic seas and lands, including Elephant Island, which featured prominently in Shackleton’s adventures. The lecture will be illustrated with many color slides, including some of birds and beasts with which you may not be familiar!

Jane English: The Ceremony Cards, Introduction & Workshop

6:30PM Wednesday, December 2

Cafe Anna, College Hall, Vermont College of Fine Arts, Montpelier

ceremonycardsFor millennia, the Kalaallit (Greenlandic) people not only survived but thrived in a land of cold winter darkness and summer midnight sun, a place where the natural world was both spectacularly beautiful and unforgivingly harsh. Survival required that practical knowledge and skills be integrated with a rich inner life so that, within each person, family and community, both the seen and the unseen were woven intricately together in the ceremony of life.

Please join us for an introductory workshop with the Ceremony Cards, which were developed to capture both the natural wonder of the Greenlandic landscape and the traditional wisdom of the Greenlandic culture. The Ceremony Cards combine evocative photographs of Greenland with words and phrases from Greenlandic culture. Using the cards as a divination tool allows wisdom from the Far North to spark and facilitate a conversation within (and amongst) ourselves, a conversation in which the Ceremony Cards are an invaluable inspirational aid, especially for those of us who are just coming to know and trust our own intuition.

In an illustrated presentation, Jane will share some of the insights from Greenland that led her to develop the Ceremony Cards and will explain some of the ways in which the cards may be used. Participants will be able to break into small groups to use and play with the Ceremony Cards. Sets of Ceremony Cards, as well as some of Jane’s books, photographs and 2016 calendars, will be available for purchase.

Visit to learn more about the cards. Jane’s paper on divination is also available on the website (, and you can see some of Jane’s books and calendars here –

janeenglishJane English, who holds a doctorate in experimental sub-atomic particle physics from the University of Wisconsin, is a well-known author and photographer of nature whose images illustrate a best-selling translation of Lao Tsu’s Tao Te Ching, which she completed with her late husband, Gia-fu Feng. She is an active elder with the EarthWalk Vermont program. Since 2007, Jane has “walked with” the Greenlandic elder Angaangaq Angakkorsuaq, and has traveled to Greenland four times.

Chasing Ice: Screening & Discussion

7PM Monday, November 9

Simpson 3, Sterling College Craftsbury Common

chasingiceposterPlease join us for a Special Screening of this award-winning documentary on climate change. Center for Circumpolar representatives will be on hand to facilitate Discussion following the film.

Acclaimed environmental photographer James Balog went to the Arctic on assignment for National Geographic to capture images to help tell the story of the Earth’s changing climate. Chasing Ice is the story of one man’s mission to change the tide of history by gathering undeniable evidence of our changing planet. Balog began deploying revolutionary time-lapse cameras across the brutal Arctic to capture a multi-year record of the world’s changing glaciers. His hauntingly beautiful videos compress years into seconds and capture ancient mountains of ice in motion as they disappear at a breathtaking rate. Chasing Ice depicts a photographer trying to deliver evidence and hope to our carbon-powered planet.

Cliick here to watch the trailer.

Sas Carey: Discussion & Film Screening

7PM Tuesday, October 27
Catamount Arts, St Johnsbury

ceremony posterPlease join us as we welcome Director Sas Carey for a Discussion & Special Screening of her evocative documentary film exploring the shamanic practices of the Mongolian Reindeer Herders.

CEREMONY is a spiritual journey among shamans in northern Mongolia. The documentary revolves around a specific ceremony in the steppes. Outside we see mists with reindeer emerging, smoke coming from stovepipes through the poles of the Siberian tipis or urts, animals grazing on the steppe, and the moon in a clear sky. Inside, we experience a mysterious ritual as a shaman slips into a trance around midnight when the stars come out. The master shaman beats the drum, chants, dances, and takes on the spirit. He then motions to his young shaman apprentice to begin playing a mouth harp. The shaman and others give commentaries on the events during the ceremony to help the viewer comprehend the mysterious phenomenon.

Watch the trailer here:

Mongolia Map

unnamedSas Carey, Founder and Director of Nomadicare, is a nurse and energy healer trained in Traditional Tibetan-Mongolian Medicine. With a merger of East and West, she advocates traditional and modern medicine for nomads, which  promotes their cultural survival. Since 1994, Sas has been connecting with nomads, assessing needs and supplying them. She is the director and producer of several films, including the feature documentary Gobi Women’s Song, and she is the author of Reindeer Herders in My Heart: Stories of Healing Journeys in Mongolia (2012, Wren Press, Vermont).

CCS/WREAF 2014 Artists’ Showcase & Art Auction

Opening 10am Sunday, November 23rdAlpine-Summer-72-_5x6.8-.jpg

The Wilderness River Expedition Art Fellowship (CCS/WREAF) Program, under the inspired leadership of Rob Mullen, encourages nature artists to live their art on extended, self-supported river expeditions in some of the most rugged and remote regions of the world. The arduous rigors and sublime joys of wilderness canoe travel provide intense experiences that inform the artists, ensuring that the artwork remains grounded in the realities of the natural world.

The resulting artwork, however varied, is connected by a thread of shared adventure and experience. By exhibiting these individual visions together, usually within a natural history context, we work to raise awareness of the areas in which these rivers run. A principal focus of WREAF expeditions has been the North American portion of the Circumpolar Boreal Forest – the largest terrestrial ecosystem on Earth, critical for global climate, fresh water, indigenous cultures, wildlife and birds.

We are delighted to present this showcase for CCS/WREAF artists, featuring 41 original artworks from 9 exceptional artists. In addition to supporting the work of these artists, your purchases will help support CCS/WREAF programming. Thank you for participating!

View Auction and Bid Now!

View the Catalog


Top of the World Exhibit

Vermont artist and Johnson State College Fine Arts Professor Ken Leslie has completed more than a dozen Arctic residencies over the past 15 years, creating paintings and artist’s books about light and time, both of which take on endlessly interesting permutations in the north.  Leslie’s paintings and unique book structures were created during residencies in the northern regions of Alaska, Canada’s Baffin Island, Iceland, Svalbard, Scandinavia, and – most recently – Greenland.

_The Last Umiak,_ Watercolor, Ken Leslie

“The Last Umiak,” Watercolor, Ken Leslie

Having experienced the Arctic in both summer and winter, Leslie prefers the dark time: “The first thing I noticed, and loved, about the Winter Arctic is the Quiet.  Snow muffles what little noise there is . . . the few roads are easy to escape; there are no trees for the wind to rustle, and the millions of summer birds have long since gone – the terns all the way to Antarctica.  That Quiet is the perfect sound track for the Dark.  When you hear of ‘24 hours of darkness,’ you get the idea of total, pitch-black darkness.  But the reality is that there are many kinds of darkness.  What the Winter Arctic loses in direct sunlight, it gains in twilights – the most amazing range of rich indigos and French ultramarines and cobalts.  The intensity of this blue seems greatest when there’s a cloud cover, and what little light there is reverberates back and forth between the sky above and the snow cover below.  The filtered light wavelength seems to multiply in saturation, and you feel as if you’re walking through blue, not merely below it or in front of it.  You breathe it in, bathe in it – become part of it.”

In speaking of his powerful watercolor “The Last Umiak,” depicting a spiritual journey by umiak, a traditional skin boat used by both Yup’ik and Inuit Eskimos, Leslie reveals, “I dreamed this last journey of that disappearing culture.”  Found in coastal communities from Siberia to Greenland, the large, open umiaks were traditionally used to transport groups of people and for crews hunting walrus and whales.  In the eastern Arctic, the umiaks were frequently rowed by women to transport children and family possessions and are sometimes referred to as “women’s boats.”  Umiaks, still made from Bearded seal (or sometimes walrus) skins but often fitted with an outboard motor, are sill very much in use in Alaska’s northern coastal villages during the spring whaling season when the large boats are launched by whaling crews from the ice edge of the open lead in pursuit of Bowhead whales migrating along the coast.

While many of Leslie’s works are typically flat, he has pioneered working on circular constructions that allow him to paint 360° panoramas that move through space and time.  While working on a particularly large drawing, Leslie realized that “if I cut a hole in the center, I could fold the work into what became my ‘doughnut accordion’ structure.”  These signature creations are, indeed, doughnut-shaped, narrative paintings, many of which focus on light and the way it changes with and through the Arctic seasons.  In addition to paintings, Leslie also creates one-of-a-kind artist’s books, which address a variety of themes, including “our place in the universe, a layman’s theory of relativity, the battle between nature and technology, and light and dark on or above the Arctic Circle,” explains Leslie.

Ken Leslie is a well-known artist who exhibits and lectures internationally.  He has received numerous awards for his work, which is supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Vermont Arts Council, and the American-Scandinavian Foundation.  Examples of his work may also be viewed at his website.Also on display will be the charming and evocative watercolors and etchings of CCS associate Bianca Perren, an artist and paleoecologist who has spent the past 15 years working on lakes in the Canadian High Arctic, Greenland and Svalbard investigating the nature of the changing Arctic landscape.  Under the microscope and in visual art, Perren’s work focuses on exploring the environmental response to climate change, pollution, and more direct human land use.  Her watercolors, often done, en plein air, in the field, often near lake coring locations, Norse sites, or falcon eyries, mark her experience of the landscape more immediately, as snapshots of a day, or a fjord, or as a memory of time on the landscape.

This will be Perren’s second exhibit in Vermont; many of you may remember her previous exhibit at River Arts, Morrisville, VT in February 2013.  Perren’s work may also be viewed at her website.
"Wounded Caribou," Agyhagayu Cape Dorset 1961

“Wounded Caribou,” Agyhagayu
Cape Dorset 1961

Rounding out this exhibit are Inuit prints, loaned from the Sullivan Museum at Norwich University, which received the collection of prints as a gift from Dr. Robert Christie.  These wonderful works were printed in the 1960s and 70s, just as the Inuit printmaking industry was becoming established in the Canadian Arctic, especially in Cape Dorset, which remains a hub for artistic activity.  In the treeless Arctic, printing from woodcuts (in which a raised image is carved on a flat piece of wood) was not a practical option for printmakers; early on, the Inuit artists experimented with imported linoleum floor tiles, but they soon found the relatively soft and easily carved local greenstone to be ideally suited for creating “stonecut” prints.
Inuit artists have often used printmaking to illustrate myths and local history as well as to document traditional ways of life within the evolving cultural and social landscapes.  The striking images often feature animals, which were regarded as important spiritual beings; within this worldview, local communities were not simply surviving on the wildlife resources within their environment but were living in a highly structured relationship with them.

The Chandler Center for the Arts has additional activities planned to complement the exhibit.  A lecture on the topic of Northern cultures by CCS Trustee Kathleen Osgood will be offered (free of charge) at 7PM on Monday, 22 July in the Gallery, and a printmaking workshop (pre-registration and fee required) will be offered by Janet Cathey at 4:30PM on Tuesday, 30 July.

For more information, please contact Beck McMeekin (802.728.6464).