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Former Faculty Member Eleanor Ott Exhibits "Spirit Images"

Former Faculty Member Eleanor Ott Exhibits "Spirit Images"

Eleanor Kokar Ott, of Calais, Vt., was on the faculty at Goddard College from 1969 to 1983. She recently unveiled an art exhibit, her first, at the Kellogg-Hubbard Library in Montpelier. View images from her exhibit below, and below that, read a description of the art exhibit written by Goddard College alumna Peg Tassey (BA RUP '78-'80).

Eleanor Ott's "Spirit Images"


By Peg Tassey

Simple magic marker and black ink create these stunning images by Eleanor  Ott, beloved teacher and mentor who taught Anthropology, Folklore and Natural Sciences at Goddard from 1969-83. Eleanor was not trained or known as an artist, but as a scholar and folklorist. These drawings came to be suddenly and almost as a surprise. It happened one October afternoon in 1991 when Eleanor was packing mulch around her rose bush. Without warning, a thorn scraped her eye. The pain was immediate and severe and as she clasped her hand over her eye, she heard  ravens croaking above. Looking up, she saw seven black ravens flying across the field disappearing into the trees.

For weeks Eleanor wore a patch over her eye and increasingly felt the need to express how this accident had affected her, taking away her outer vision and increasing her attention to her inner eye. Over the next 19 months Eleanor produced nearly 150 images. All of them in large 18" X 24" format.

The drawings went into a trunk after being created, and were forgotten until they came up in conversation at a dinner party this year. Eleanor showed them to a friend who found the drawings and the story remarkable, and a show was born! With the loving help of her brother Lou Cherry, Eleanor had these images framed and hung for her very first art exhibit. I had the honor of curating the exhibit late in the process, and am grateful to have been able to be a part of this gorgeous show made by one of the most beautiful human beings I have ever met.

The exhibit “Spirit Images” is hanging at the Kellogg-Hubbard Library in Montpelier, Vt., until July 30, 2014.  Eleanor will also be publishing a coloring book for adults and children made from many of the images that were originally left in plain black ink.