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Artist Terry Ekasala wins 2023 Vermont Prize

Artist Terry Ekasala wins 2023 Vermont Prize, an annual award aimed at celebrating and supporting the best visual art being made in Vermont today.
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Painter Terry Ekasala of West Burke has been selected as the second recipient of The Vermont Prize, an annual award aimed at celebrating and supporting the best visual art being made in Vermont today.

A collaborative initiative of the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center (BMAC), Burlington City Arts (BCA), The Current, and the Hall Art Foundation, The Vermont Prize is juried by one representative from each of the four partner organizations and one special guest juror.

“In Terry Ekasala’s abstract paintings, perceivable subjects—figures, landscapes, interiors, objects—are suggested yet never fully revealed. This ambiguity of form is rendered through a deep understanding of the narrative and haptic power of translucently rendered color. Suspending the image somewhere between abstract composition and storytelling, Ekasala creates interior, psychological spaces that evoke memory and place.”

Guest Juror, Chrissie Iles, the Anne & Joel Ehrenkranz Curator at the Whitney Museum of American Art

Ekasala has explained how her materials and process inform the play between abstraction and representation in her artwork. “My paintings are never thought up in advance. I worked primarily with oils on linen until several years ago when I began to work with acrylic on paper. This has brought much more to my practice. I feel less restraint, freer to experiment, always looking for new approaches to bring an image out. For years I worked, for the most part, abstract until this introduction of acrylic and paper. Suddenly and surprisingly figures or figurative images began to appear!”

Ekasala was born and raised in Weymouth, Massachusetts, and studied at the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. In 1983, she set up her first studio in Miami Beach. She became a member of the Artifacts Art Group, which staged weekly events at Miami’s Fire & Ice nightclub. In 1987, Ekasala moved to Paris, where she became part of a diverse artistic community that organized the first artist squat to become legal in Paris. In 2001, Ekasala moved to Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom. Today, she resides with her family in West Burke, Vermont. Ekasala’s work has been exhibited at numerous institutions around the world, including the Hall Art Foundation in Reading, Vermont; Metalstone Gallery in New York City; PIERMARQ* in Sydney, Australia; and Schonfeld Gallery in Brussels. Her work will be on view this summer at Bundy Modern in Waitsfield, Vermont, in “Nor’easter: Terry Ekasala, Rick Harlow, Craig Stockwell” (July 1–September 3); the opening reception is June 30, 5–7 p.m.

The four jurors representing The Vermont Prize partner organizations were BMAC Director of Exhibitions Sarah Freeman, BCA Curator and Director of Exhibitions Heather Ferrell, The Current Executive Director Rachel Moore, and Hall Art Foundation Director Maryse Brand.

“I was delighted to have the opportunity to learn about some of the incredible artists working in our state, many of whom are new to me.”

Sarah Freeman

Ferrell and Brand also expressed appreciation for the opportunity to view work by talented artists from across Vermont.

“It was a privilege to serve as a juror for this year’s Vermont Prize,” Ferrell said. “I am grateful to have the opportunity to view the breadth and depth of artistic talent in our region. And more importantly, the prize serves a vital need in supporting and elevating artists in our community.”

Brand added, “It was particularly exciting and somewhat surprising to discover certain artists previously unknown to me. The fact that it was such a tough choice speaks volumes about the caliber of the artists working in Vermont right now.”

The Vermont Prize is awarded to one artist annually. The winner is selected on the basis of artistic excellence alone. They receive $5,000, and their work is showcased and archived at and on social media. Applications are accepted from visual artists currently living and working in Vermont. The Vermont Prize is open to individuals as well as collaborating artists. Artists working in any visual medium are welcome to apply.

Visit for more information or to submit an application.

About the Four Partner Organizations

Founded in 1972, Brattleboro Museum & Art Center is a non-collecting contemporary art museum focused on the art of our time. An anchor of southern Vermont’s vibrant cultural life, BMAC brings notable art and artists to Brattleboro and provides a platform for southern Vermont’s many artistic riches. BMAC presents 15–20 exhibitions annually, complemented by 60–70 public programs and extensive educational offerings developed in partnership with area schools and service organizations.

For over 30 years, Burlington City Arts has helped cement Burlington, Vermont’s reputation as one of America’s most livable cities for the arts. BCA’s physical locations include the BCA Center, a three-level, year-round exhibition space, as well as BCA Studios, which hosts art classes, camps, and open studio hours in our state-of-the-art facilities. BCA also produces city-wide festivals, events, concerts, films, artist markets, and more.

The Current, a center for contemporary art located in Stowe, Vermont, was established in 1981 as Helen Day Art Center with a mission to enhance the human experience through the visual arts. The Current produces major exhibitions featuring a range of artists representing diverse geographies and career stages. Exhibitions are accompanied by a robust interpretive learning program including lectures, panels, and film screenings free to the public. The Current provides progressive arts education programs for all ages, with year-round classes, tours, workshops, and other interactive programs.

Founded in 2007, the Hall Art Foundation makes available postwar and contemporary art works from its own collection and that of Andrew and Christine Hall for the enjoyment and education of the public. In Reading, Vermont, its campus of converted galleries, situated on a former dairy farm, consists of a 19th-century stone farmhouse, three barns, as well as a reception center and cafe. The property’s five historic buildings make up approximately 6,000 square feet of museum-quality exhibition space, and are surrounded by approximately 400 acres of pastures, hayfields and extensive woodland. Outdoor sculptures by world-renowned artists are installed throughout the grounds.


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