First Executive Director 1972-1977
Allen Johnson played a tremendous role in helping advance the profession of craft in Vermont when he established a craft center which provided a facility and a location for craftspeople. We look back on it now and see how farsighted he was: he could see, at the time, how pernicious the whole drug development was. He met with town government members and came to a consensus that a cultural center would combat some of the negative culture… I was extremely interested in the higher profile of the arts in Vermont, in the fact that it was happening in such a natural way. All these people were not coming to Vermont because the government was funding them. At that time, people who were looking for a different philosophical base for their lives were turning away from more established professional pursuits, and looking more at fields where they would perform as individuals. The arts are certainly the place to do that. You really can work in that field in a solitary way; you can live by your own wits. We thought of these people as the arts community, which is funny because that community was kind of free form—it wasn’t an organized effort. However, once a clear number of people already in Vermont were producing a lot of work, then other people like me began to get involved in organizing it.
Trisha N. Hayes
Executive Director 1977-1979
The early years of Frog Hollow as the state craft center were charged with frantic, ‘get it done’ energy. Vibrant craft organizations emerged and influenced the direction of the Vermont crafts movement; individual craftspeople who had sought the refuge of a welcoming Vermont found their voices and united to effect change.
Judith Rey Versweyveld
Executive Director 1979-1981
The spirit of art and craft was alive and well in Middlebury during those years. Many students of Frog Hollow classes learned to enjoy and love art and crafts and developed a lifelong appreciation for the arts. Among staff members, lifetime friendships were forged and wonderful experiences were enjoyed. I look back on those days with great fondness and gratitude for having had so much fun doing something worthwhile!
Executive Director 1982-1986
[These are] some of the things I most treasured about Frog Hollow: the commitment of the makers, to what they made, the breadth and vitality of their expressions, and the visual delights they produced. The people behind the work were equally varied and engaging, and talking with them was always informative, not to say fun. People bringing in new work were highlights of the day.
Executive Director 1986-1993
Tourists love stories, and that’s what makes the craft center so unique. Every single artist has a story and we would ask them to tell it. Then I would go into the gallery and ask visitors, ‘How do you like that? Let me tell you about the artist, he lives in Manchester…’ and tell them about it. That was wonderful.
Executive Director 1993-1997
I always felt that the Middlebury center was the heart and soul of the organization and I would often go to the pottery studio to remind myself of what it was all about: working with our hands, making beautiful things and sharing them with the world. Humans had done that for eons and we were just continuing in that tradition.
William F. Brooks, Jr.
Executive Director 1997-2002
The five-year period mid 1997 to mid 2002 was an exciting, challenging time to be associated with Frog Hollow. The organization maintained its preeminent role in the advocacy of Vermont craft artists and expanded its educational programming. The successes were due to the efforts of an exemplary staff, superb, accomplished artists and educators, trustees with boundless enthusiasm and seemingly inexhaustible energy and resources, a receptive public, eager students, philanthropists, as well as local, state, and national appointed and elective officials. I was privileged to be associated with these fine people who were the backbone of Frog Hollow and were responsible for its successes.
Executive Director 2002-2003
Reflecting back on the organization, I had never before worked with such talented and intelligent individuals. When the organization was growing and expanding under William F. Brook, Jr’s Executive Director leadership, it was the most stimulating and exciting time of my working career.
Executive Director 2003-2007
By year-end 2003, Frog Hollow had lost money for six straight years, a fact that created much uncertainty. My period at Frog Hollow was as much a balancing act as anything else. The hope and opportunity was to bring together many extraordinary people, artists, staff, members and Board that made up the core of Frog Hollow…
At the end of 2006, through the combination of hard work by all involved, increasing sales in a good economy and contributions, Frog Hollow made a profit for the first time in eight years.
Executive Director 2008-2009
To many, life in Vermont is made easier and is more fulfilling because of the strong sense of community that brings us together. As I discovered, this sense of belonging and shared values was the greatest strength of Frog Hollow: The Vermont State Craft Center. Within the greater community of Vermont the appreciation for the work Frog Hollow has undertaken in support of the arts community could not be more apparent.
Director 2010 -
It is a credit to Allen Johnson’s vision and the passion of our creative population that Frog Hollow has been able to adapt to changing times and endure for forty years. Call me an optimist, but I have every confidence that it will easily endure another forty years…and forty more again...