CONTACT: Sylvia Plumb, Director of Communications, 802.262.2626 x302

Vermont Humanities Council Presents First Wednesdays Lecture

Middlebury Professor Discusses Artistic Collaboration During Renaissance at Essex Junction’s Brownell Library


Essex Junction ~ Middlebury College professor Katy Smith Abbott will look at the creative environment of artists in 15th-century Florence in a talk at Essex Junction’s Brownell Library on April 3. Her talk, “Competition and Collaboration: Painting in Early Renaissance Florence,” is part of the Vermont Humanities Council’s First Wednesdays series and takes place at 7:00 p.m. (Note: This talk takes place on a Tuesday instead of the traditional Wednesday.)

Professor Smith Abbott will explore how competition led to great artistic achievements in fifteenth-century Florence—and how simultaneously a network of collaboration among artists, workshops, and patrons characterized painters’ daily experiences and productivity.

Abbott is Associate Dean of the College, Assistant Professor of the History of Art and Architecture, and Dean of Students at Middlebury College. Her research focuses on the production and reception of devotional painting in early fifteenth-century Florence. She received her M.A. and Ph.D. from Indiana University in Bloomington.

The Vermont Humanities Council’s First Wednesdays series is held on the first Wednesday of every month from October through May, featuring speakers of national and regional renown. The series takes place in Essex Junction for the first time in 2011-2012, moving from its previous venue at Fletcher Free Library in Burlington. The talks are held at Brownell Library unless otherwise noted.

The 2011-2012 First Wednesdays season in Essex Junction concludes with “Beethoven’s Sketchbooks” with pianist Michael Arnowitt on May 2.

The Vermont Department of Libraries is the statewide underwriter of First Wednesdays. Brownell Library is sponsored by Brownell Library Foundation, Brownell Library Trustees, and Friends of Brownell Library.

For more information, contact Brownell Library at 802.878.6955 or contact the Vermont Humanities Council at 802.262.2626 or [log in to unmask], or visit

First Wednesdays is also presented in eight other communities statewide: Brattleboro (at Brooks Memorial Library); Manchester (at First Congregational Church, hosted by Mark Skinner Library); Middlebury (at Ilsley Public Library); Montpelier (at Kellogg-Hubbard Library); Newport (at Goodrich Memorial Library); Norwich (at Norwich Congregational Church, hosted by Norwich Public Library and Norwich Historical Society); Rutland (at Rutland Free Library); and at St. Johnsbury Athenaeum. The program is free, accessible to people with disabilities and open to the public. 

The Vermont Humanities Council is a private nonprofit working to bring the power and the pleasure of the humanities to all Vermonters—of every background and in every community. The Council strives to make Vermont a state in which every individual reads, participates in public affairs, and continues to learn throughout life.

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