Edgewater Gallery Replaces Skihaus of Vt.

By Annie Grayer

This past July, the Skihaus of Vermont located on 6 Merchants Row closed its doors. In its place, Edgewater on the Green Gallery and Otter Creek Kitchenware Electronics have opened.

The Skihaus has been a fixture of  downtown Middlebury for over 51 years. After an extended period of vibrant success from the 1960s through the mid ‘90s, Skihaus closed in 1998.  However, it reopened a few weeks later under the new name of Alpine Shop, an extension of a parent store in South Burlington. By 2009, the owners of Alpine Shop were ready to sell their Middlebury branch, allowing the

Skihaus to reopen in 2010 under the ownership of Barb Nelson and Anna Boisvert. Under its new leadership, Skihaus stayed open until the summer of 2015.

There is no public knowledge as to why the Skihaus decided to close its doors.

In response to this question, Mr. Jamie Gaucher, Director of the Middlebury Office of Business Development and Innovation, answered, “I can say that businesses start and close all the time.”

Regardless of why the Skihaus decided to close, it is clear that the neighborly sentiment its presence represented will be missed.

In light of the role that the Skihaus had in the community, Gaucher said, “I think the Skihaus was a great member of our business community for many, many years.”

Katie O’Neill ’17.5 felt a similar void due to the store’s absence.

“I think Skihaus really appealed to the needs of our college community, and I’m sad to see it go,” she said.

Although Skihaus’ closing marks the end of a definitive chapter in the town’s history, it also allows for the corner spot of the Battell Building to develop a new beginning.

Edgewater Gallery on the Green opened in this space.  This new location is in addition to the gallery’s original location at One Mill Street, which has been open since 2009.

“With the availability of the Merchants Row location, we saw this as an opportunity to increase exposure for our existing artists, add new and diverse artists to our collection and expand the art footprint in town,” Rachel Teachout, who oversees both galleries, explained.

Ms. Teachout also noted how the expansion of the gallery allows each location to diversify the kind of work it represents.

She said, “we are focusing on smaller more intimate works at the Mill Street location, and capitalizing on the tall ceilings and windows and natural light to exhibit larger works at the Merchants Row location.”

According to Ms. Teachout, the artistic focus of the gallery features exhibits from both “traditional regional artists as well as contemporary works from local, national, and international artists. Our artists work in many different mediums and styles.”

In terms of how Teachout sees the gallery impacting the community, she said, “Edgewater Gallery is committed to building Middlebury’s reputation as an arts community. We continuously seek out new works from artists that complement the existing aesthetic at our two locations, but offer a diverse selection that appeals to locals and visitors alike.”

Specifically, Ms. Teachout is interested in the gallery’s relationship with the College. “Edgewater is always looking for new opportunities to collaborate with the College,” she explained. “We continue to support the mutually beneficial intern program and have enjoyed working with several outstanding interns. Edgewater has also partnered with student musicians for our special events. We intend to continue these relationships and look forward to new ones.”

On plans for the gallery moving forward, Ms. Teachout noted that the Edgewater Gallery at Home, located on Mills Street “will eventually move to the downstairs at the Merchants Row location.”

Katie O’Neill’s reaction to the gallery’s expansion is a mixture of uncertainty and enthusiasm.

“Although I am skeptical of how an art gallery will do financially in the new space, I am excited to learn what the creative voices from our local community have to say,” she said.

In light of the opening of Edgewater Gallery on the Green, Mr. Gaucher commented, “I think having Edgewater open an additional gallery downtown…[is a] welcomed [addition]. I think [it brings] energy and additional customers to our central downtown intersection.”