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For Immediate Release February 12th, 2018

Vanessa Compton, Co-Curator
Tel: (802) 533-2000

MUSE Exhibit at Highland Center for the Arts, 2875 Hardwick St. Greensboro VT.
On view March 3rd - May 28th
Opening reception Friday, March 9th 4-6pm.

Muse: a personified force that is the source of inspiration for a creative~

Three Vermont artists reflect on spirit guides, journeying, introspection and winter’s quiet. Where inspiration and magic live side by side and a deep appreciation for the natural world permeates everything.

Amanda Weisenfeld is a traditional rolling, pounding, hand felter. For three decades she has created functional art that is a deep pleasure to experience. Crows, ravens, foxes, birch trees and the Scandinavian Tomten who cares for all farm animals are reoccurring images in her work. Weisenfeld makes every effort to support local Vermont sheep farmers and her favorite fleeces are Navajo Churro, Cotswold, and Border Leicester.

Jess Polanshek’s illustrations are an escape into the world of an imagined forest with intricate patterns and vivid color. They start with a vaguely sketched animal that slowly grows into a visual story filled with curiosity and magic. Along with a traditional arts education, Polanshek has spent time traveling internationally which has been a great influence for her artistic progression. Within these different environments Polanshek’s art has al- ways revolved around elements of northern forests and the creatures that inhabit them. Focusing on high detail and loose realism, her art has evolved into an illustrative and whimsical style with a strong focus on the beauty and intricacies of the natural world.

Kristin Richland paints and illustrates woodland creatures that possess characteristics of fragility and strength. Creatures who have appeared in oral traditions around the world for thousands of years, who are relatable yet always wild. Her series of 8x10” paintings began a year ago as studies in colored pencil. She revels in the effects of light and shadow and is in- spired by the cold pink sky before a winter’s sunrise, the moon warming a thin layer of clouds and strange light in icy woods. In each piece a single bear or rabbit appears, standing sentry, alone and waiting. Richland attended the Maine College of Art and graduated with honors with a Bachelor of Fine Arts.

"The seamless way you blended local sights & behaviors with both beloved book characters &  those from your own imagination is a testament to your powers of observation, sense of humor, talent, hard work, & dedication to your art."  

-from KH on Facebook, April 11, 2017

Press release from April 20, 2017

Children's Book Week event features local artist Kristin Richland

Burlington, Vermont – April 20, 2017:  Phoenix Books Burlington will celebrate the official ribbon cutting for a mural by local artist Kristin Richland on Thursday, May 4th at 7pm. Richland has brought beloved book characters to the walls of the bookstore's children's section, and will be present at the reception featuring light fare from City Market. The event is part of the bookstore's celebration of Children's Book Week, and children's book lovers of all ages are welcome.

The mural incorporates the bridge by the Champlain Mill in Winooski, Burlington’s City Hall Park, Church Street Marketplace and Edmunds School, with the final wall depicting a night-time view of Camel’s Hump. There are over thirty storybook characters mixed in with several of Kristin Richland's own animal people. The piece is inspired by Bemelman's Bar in the Carlyle Hotel, NYC, where the characters of Ludwig Bemelman (creator of the Madeline series) take over the walls.

"Kristin Richland has been a friend of the store for many years, and her distinct style and fanciful animals are a perfect match for this vision," says Mike DeSanto, co-owner of Phoenix Books. "I can't think of a better time than Children's Book Week to share her creation with our customers and to celebrate our extensive children's book collection."

"When Mike called me, out of the blue, to ask how I would describe my work, I blurted out 'Well, most people say I should be illustrating children's books.' And that's how I found out he was searching for an artist to paint a mural in the children's section of the Burlington store," says Richland. "It is a treat working with Phoenix. Their Essex store is my usual destination, so this project has given me a chance to know the Burlington store much better. I love listening to the staff talk to customers about books. Thanks to them, my ‘to read’ list has grown considerably!" During the ribbon cutting, Richland will have scaffolding in position and may climb up to demonstrate some work during the event if time and space allow.

Richland will continue to be a presence at Phoenix Books Burlington in the future. She will be painting a phoenix above the store's book receiving counter. The image will follow the design of the store logo, but Richland will introduce more color and rendering.

Kristin Richland is a painter living in Underhill, VT. She holds a BFA in painting from the Maine College of Art, where she also fell in love with experimental drawing techniques, printmaking and sculpture. Animal imagery is a constant theme through her work. Her paintings of creatures and critters are the work of an active imagination, the one you wish you never lost when you grew up.

Children's Book Week is an annual, national celebration of books for young people and the joy of reading. Established in 1919, Children's Book Week is the longest-running national literacy initiative in the country. Every year, commemorative events are held nationwide at schools, libraries, bookstores, homes -- wherever young readers and books connect! Children's Book Week is administered by Every Child A Reader, a 501(c)(3) literacy organization dedicated to instilling a lifelong love of reading in children. The Children's Book Council, the national non-profit trade association for children's book publishers, is an anchor sponsor.

The event is free and open to all. Phoenix Books Burlington is located at 191 Bank Street in Burlington, Vermont. For more information, please call 802-448-3350 or visit

About Phoenix Books:
Phoenix Books was established in 2007 on the principles of social responsibility, community, and sustainability, and is a proud member of Local First Vermont and Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility. Phoenix Books Essex, Phoenix Books Burlington, Phoenix Books Rutland and Phoenix Books Misty Valley are Vermont-owned, independent bookstores.  Our Essex location also houses a gallery and cafe. Whenever possible, Phoenix Books sources eco-friendly products from Fair Trade/Green Certified companies. Seven Days readers voted Phoenix Books the "Best Bookstore" for the newspaper's 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 Daysie Awards, and Rutland Herald readers voted Phoenix Books the 'Best Local Bookstore' for the newspaper's 2016Best of the Best awards.