POULTNEY — Hundreds of Green Mountain College items were sold at auction Friday during an online event to raise money for maintaining the campus while it’s for sale, including the iconic kaleidoscope that once stood on the lawn of the Surdam Art Building.
Some of the items went to alumni, including one painting, “Through the Trees” by alumna Julia Loretta Taylor, that alumna Samantha Boras bought for $80.
“I was expecting to pay a lot more, and set my maximum bid fairly high,” Boras said on Friday after she won the painting. “Julia was one of the first people I met at college. She was right across the hall. Her art just became a part of my experience at college, as one of the first fine arts majors I met. She was always drawing those beautiful trees everywhere.”
Boras said she had a dream in which she stole the painting and felt a subsequent deep need to rescue it from the auction,
“I’ve always loved her work and after all these years, somehow those trees still feel like home,” Boras recalled. “It’s so sad. It’s like letting go of this last shred of hope that Green Mountain would be a place that I could go back to.”
Alumnus William Eaton spent $150 by early afternoon on a pair of Gunloacke Oak Lounge Chairs, lot 0098, and was waiting to hear on several other items.
“I’ve been looking for a good reading chair, and I think they’ll be great for that,” Eaton said.
Eaton said he also bid on an original art piece from former art instructor Richard Weis, though he knew his early submission would end up dwarfed by the afternoon and said he hoped someone in the GMC community was able to take it home.
“One item I really wanted was 0182: Inlaid Music Cabinet,” Eaton said. “Which I was willing to spend probably more than I should, but my final bid didn’t go through in time. I sang in choir and took a bunch of music classes while at GMC, and it was one of those pieces of furniture that I always saw while in Ackley and appreciated, so seeing it up for bid and having such fond memories, I needed to bid on it. I’m a little irritated my last bid didn’t go through.”
The college also listed academic desks, electric guitars, Persian rugs, pianos, sculptures, old books, clocks, china and jewelry, and Duane Merrill auctioneer Adam Demasi said they expected most if not everything to be sold.
“There were also a lot of art pieces depicting the college campus and the buildings I wanted, but they went for more than I could afford,” Eaton said. “I’ve always appreciated older buildings and art work depicting it, and having a piece of art that shows the campus would have given me a lot of pride for how nice the school campus is.
After that, I’m still waiting on some of the memorabilia and souvenir bids to come up. ... Plus, I may be able to get a picture or two of the buildings.”
Eaton said having a piece of GMC to hold forever and making sure the school, its history and its culture lives on was important. He said he hoped it helped those still grieving the closure of GMC.
“I think alumni and other community members being able to get a piece of the college to bring home and make theirs will help with people moving on from the schools closure,” Eaton said. “And for fun, I’m hoping to bid for 0426: Ca. 1900 Photo Portrait Of Chas. H. Dunton. I don’t have any particular memories of the portrait, but part of me just thinks it would be funny to have a portrait of one of the presidents.”
Boras said she attended one of the Rogue Alumni reunions recently to say goodbye, and to collectively grieve with her fellow alumni about the loss of a place they called home.
“I found this Welsh word that really describes it: “hiraeth” (which does not have a direct English translation but conceptually describes the feeling of missing something or missing home),” Boras said. “Nothing really prepared me for this bittersweet feeling of loving a place and time that no longer exists.”
Duane Merrill Auctioneers was contacted on Friday but could not be reached for comment.