BETHEL — A new arts center that features multiple purposes is open at Philbrook Place on Main Street.

Owner Amy Halsted envisions Table Rock Arts Center as a place where “artists hang and display work. Musicians gather and teach. Writers write and hold readings. Meditation, yoga and healing movement classes are planned, and gardens support a place for pollinators and the local food movement.”

“I’ve always wanted to do something like this,” said Halsted, a longtime supporter of the arts who ran her creative communications firm, The Halsted Agency, for 25 years, specializing in designing places, spaces and programs for community engagement.

She came upon the available space at Philbrook in August and thought it would be a great arts center.

Halsted expects the range of artists who will display there to be wide. “There will be diversity in the media and the artists,” she said, noting the current age range of teenager into the 70s.

TRAC is featuring the visual work of 10 artists with nine in the main gallery and one in the Art Show space.  

In the main space, the works of Rochelle Draper, Sue Dunn, Jinger Duryea, Suzanne Hardy, Brendan Leitch, Will Leitch, Becky Robbins and Melanie Tornberg adorn the walls while furniture maker John Dunn’s Adirondack-ski chairs are a good place to sit in the winter sun on the porch.

Also displayed are the works of Quentin Stockwell of Wells, who specializes in lighting fixtures designed from antiques, plumbing parts and new electrical components.

Stockwell is a graduate of Gould Academy, where, he recalls, “I took every art class offered.”

He did the scene and lighting design for the school’s theater productions.  Stockwell went on to become a consultant in theatrical lighting and scenic design. He began experimenting with taking apart light fixtures and fixing them, and combining them with other hardware parts, many of them used. About a year ago he began offering them for sale.

At TRAC he has three light pieces displayed, including one titled “Green Shade” with a shade of that color and a supporting stand that includes a pressure gauge. Another features a water spigot and pipes supporting light tubes that look like light sabres from “Star Wars.”

Local artist Gary Polonski, TRAC’s first Art Show Artist, is known for a dramatic use of color and texture. He is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts, where he earned a degree in fine arts. He studied under American Expressionist John Grillo. 

In 2009/2011 Polonski completed a series of paintings of points of interest in the Bethel area. It includes the “Artist’s Covered Bridge,” the “Lower Sunday River Schoolhouse,” the “Gas Tanks” and “Frenchman’s Falls.”

In 2012 he began a series of skiing paintings featuring Sunday River trails, such as Risky Business, Obsession, Upper Vortex, 3D and Flyin’ Monkeys.

Halsted said some proceeds from the center will go to support local nonprofits, such as the Mahoosuc Land Trust, for which she volunteers. She noted the many ways that nonprofits in this area intersect and overlap to support each other.

TRAC will be open from noon to 6 p.m. Friday through Monday and by appointment. The space at the center will be made available for use at $20 an hour, she said.

Amy Halsted, right, on opening day at Table Rock Arts Center in Philbrook Place on Main Street in Bethel. (Alison Aloisio/The Bethel Citizen)

Quentin Stockwell with his work “Green Shade.”  

A light creation by Quentin Stockwell that resembles light sabres from Star Wars.

A ski painting by Gary Polonski.


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