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New exhibit at St. Kieran's spotlights work of Judi Calhoun

Judi Calhoun of Berlin will be featured beginning March 1 at St. Kieran's Community Center for the Arts. (click for larger version)
February 27, 2019
BERLIN — Art is a doorway connecting us to the beauty within, and St. Kieran's Community Center for the Arts is holding that door open for everyone. Their vision is 'To be a beacon of light for Berlin and the North Country region by offering quality cultural activity as a Community Arts Center.' One of the many ways they accomplish this is with an ongoing exhibit of local artwork.

The next exhibit, slated to open March 1, will feature local author, artist, illustrator, and teacher - Judi Calhoun. She says there is no specific theme to the approximately 20 pieces she will be exhibiting, but a look at her work assures us that it will be a great show.

Calhoun, who recently celebrated her 50th Wedding Anniversary to husband Ed Calhoun, studied Art and English at Palomar College in San Marcos, California. She isn't a fan of self-promotion, but with over 60 published stories and hundreds of artworks sold, Calhoun has plenty to brag about. She was the winner of the 2009 Artist Innovation Award given by Art Works, NH, and was twice commissioned to create a cancellation stamp by the US Postal Service. Additionally she teaches art to students ranging from Kindergarten age, to 92 years young.

Calhoun works in nearly every medium, pencil, acrylic, ink, and pastel.

"Except oil," she said.

When asked how she decides what artwork to create, she responded that she paints things she finds interesting, fun, or unusual.

"The subjects pick me…I get lost in the work. I can't go to bed, or eat, until it's done," she said.

One of Calhoun's current projects is working on portraits of 1920's gangsters, including mugshots. Through her portrait work, Judi captures images that go beyond the mundane images of famous people we all recognize.

"I did a portrait of Charlie Chaplin, without the mustache …everyone recognizes him with the mustache, but they made him wear that," she explained.

Art has been a lifelong passion for Calhoun, "When I was eight my mother saw me drawing and gave me a picture of an ice skater to draw, that was a hard picture. I did it exactly right, so she bought me a sketch book. I've been constantly sketching since then."

Calhoun sold her first painting at age nine, "Art not only benefits the creator," she said, "it benefits the looker. It moves us, reminds us of who we are. It's been called 'beautiful torture' because the artist leaves a piece of themselves on the canvas."

Be sure to go see the exhibit. Calhoun's skillful passion for her work is sure to move you. St. Kieran's Community Center is located at 155 Emery Street in Berlin. For information on this exhibit, upcoming events, or if you'd like to know how you can help the Community Center you can call 752-1028. Or visit them online at https://stkieranarts.org/.

Garnet Hill
Martin Lord Osman
Penny Pitou
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