BENNINGTON -- The Bennington Center for the Arts will be in full artistic spender this weekend as its hosts a world-renowned pianist on its stage while its galleries will have the winners of the Laumeister Fine Art Competition on display.
Youthful -- now 16-year-old child prodigy -- Mackenzie Melemed, of Boston, Mass., who stunned a BCA audience in 2011, will return for an encore performance Saturday, Aug. 25, at 8 p.m.
Melemed has performed at the White House multiple times, and has participated in the PBS television show "From the Top: Live from Carnegie Hall." He began playing the piano at the age of four and began classical training at the age of ten.
Since 2000, he has performed more than 600 concerts with a highlight being a request to perform for President George W. Bush at a fundraiser in Boston in early 2004. Subsequently, he was asked to perform traditional holiday music at the White House Holiday Open House. He performed there for five consecutive years. In subsequent years he has won numerous awards and been the youngest winner or finalist in many of the most impressive competitions in the country.
On Saturday, Melemed will perform works by Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, Rachmaninoff, Lutoslawski and Dorman.
New to the scene also, but also on full display at the arts center, is the Laumeister competition winners, led by the moody, translucent first prize winning work, "Foggy Evening, Brooklyn," a night scene
Shirley Hutchins, BCA gallery director, said in supplied material that the show is a popular one for both established artists and those fairly new to the scene.
"Being in a show at The Bennington is something artists can put on their resumes and as the award money is more than in many competitions around the country, this draws in the established artists," Hutchins said. "Another big draw for the show is the guest jurors. Past jurors have included Albert Handell, Huihan Liu and Sherry McGraw. Having such talent accept their work into a show such as this is a real honor for those that make it in."
This year's juror, Scott Christensen, is one of the most highly respected landscape artists in the country, Hutchins said.
Second Place in the competition went to "Alone in Warsaw," by William Schneider of Illinois; "Awaiting the Decision," by Jonathan Stasko of New York, received Third Place. Christensen also awarded two Honorable Mentions, to Betsy Arvidson of New York City and Jennifer Hoffman of Jackson, Wyoming.
The show includes still lifes, landscapes and portraits and florals, interpreted in many a variety of ways. There is a male figure done in sepia while across the gallery is a very soft portrait of a little girl that appears to be out of a dream. A very tight oil painting of a rock formation in Utah, a serene landscape of a New England hillside and a vibrant portrayal of Acadia National Park contrast and compare. The exhibit can also be viewed online.
The exhibition will be at The Bennington until Sept. 23.
"The Bennington" Center for the Arts is located on Route 9 West, just past Old Bennington. Concert tickets are $20 in advance or $25 at the door. For information call 802-442-7158 or visit TheBennington.org