What do steer and black flies have in common?

Introducing the Black Fly Collective

Mary Lacy painted this mural on Gaye Symington and Chuck Lacy’s barn in Jericho Center. | PHOTO CONTRIBUTED

Mary Lacy painted this mural on Gaye Symington and Chuck Lacy’s barn in Jericho Center. | PHOTO CONTRIBUTED

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By Phyl Newbeck
For The Essex Reporter

Correction: The Black Fly Collective is on August 2, not August 9 as previously published.

On Aug. 2, the Black Fly Collective will present an afternoon of art, food and music in the backyard of Gaye Symington and Chuck Lacy, of Jericho Center.  The group describes itself as “a way for talented people to come together in support of each other’s work” as well as “a foundation for the continual growth of this work.”  Collective members include musicians, photographers, writers and videographers.  The gathering is an opportunity to introduce some of their members (many of whom are graduates of Mount Mansfield Union High School) and their artistic endeavors to the community.

In 2012, Symington and Lacy held a backyard steer roast featuring grass-fed beef from a farm in Hardwick.  The steer was grilled whole on a custom-welded roaster. This year, the couple is contributing the steer and the grounds, but they’re letting the local artists take charge of the rest of the event.  The roast will take place from 3 to 10 p.m. and in addition to the steer, there will be grilled walnut-oat veggie burgers, salads, ice cream and non-alcoholic drinks.  Guests may bring their own adult beverages and chairs and/or blankets are recommended.  Advance tickets are $20 but children 10 years of age and under are admitted free of charge.

Richmond musician and filmmaker Joseph Rittling said the Black Fly Collective was started roughly six months ago.  “I got the initial idea a year ago,” he said. “When a lot of my friends had graduated and were doing some cool individual projects.  It was a way that we could help each other with those projects.”  The Black Fly Collective includes artists working in a variety of media but Rittling said they fit together well.  “There’s been a learning curve about how to best help each person out and we’re still learning,” he said.  “Our only qualifier is to find people who are doing valuable work. We’re open to all sorts of media.  It makes the project more interesting and dynamic to have variety.”

Connor Gallagher, of Jericho, is one of the Black Fly Collective artists.  Formerly a marine science instructor at the Catalina Marine Institute, he recently made the decision to return home.  “I got into making films and videos which had been a passion of mine in the past,” he said.  “I made some underwater videos and shared them with friends.” On his return to Vermont, Gallagher joined Rittling in forming a marketing agency to create videos for businesses.  He hopes to use those marketing skills to help promote local creativity, as well.  “Its art meeting business,” he said.  “We’re hoping the steer roast will bring people to see the art but also just get together for a great time.”

Mary Lacy, a member of the Black Fly Collective and the artist of the rooster mural, which adorns the Symington/Lacy barn, specializes in murals and portraiture.  Lacy has had some commissioned work in California and was living in New York City when she decided to return home to Jericho in December.  “So far all my work has been individual pieces,” she said.  “I wanted to do something bigger so I started a series of chickens on businesses in Jericho.”  Right now, Lacy is more interested in visibility than the profitability of her work so she was thrilled to be able to collaborate with Gallagher and Rittling.  She sees the steer roast as a launching party designed to introduce the collective to the community.

For the steer roast, the Lacy/Symington barn will be turned into gallery space.  In addition to the outside mural, Mary Lacy is working on an interior one and the barn will be filled with the photographs and paintings of collective members as well as a screen to showcase some of their latest videos.  “It’s an opportunity for people to be introduced to what we’re doing,” said Rittling.  “A big part of the collective is to help local artists get noticed.  There are a lot of different things but it’s all spread out and we want to bring it to the forefront.”

Advance tickets are available at www.steerroastvt.com. No tickets will be sold at the door.

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Achievements

Alexandra Caroline Orsky of Underhill, was named to the fall 2013 and spring 2014 semester Dean’s Lists at Washington University in St. Louis, Mo. Alexandra is enrolled in the university’s College of Arts & Sciences.

Lindsey D. Wyatt, of Jericho, received awards during St. Lawrence University’s Moving-Up Day ceremony, which was held on April 26 in Canton, N.Y. Lindsey was presented with the Beta Beta Beta Outstanding Senior, which is given to the graduating senior biology major who has outstanding achievements in academics, research and departmental service. She was also presented with the Outstanding Beginning Student Prize (Chinese), which is awarded to the students in elementary language classes who have not studied the language before and whose performance in the course has been most outstanding. Lindsey is majoring in neuroscience. A member of the Class of 2014 at St. Lawrence, Lindsey graduated from Mount Mansfield Union High School.  Lindsey was also named to the fall 2013 Dean’s List and graduated from St. Lawrence University with a degree in neuroscience Summa Cum Laude.

Brandon Griggs, of Jericho, was awarded the Visual Arts Award for outstanding efforts by the Division of Communication and Creative Media at Champlain College in Burlington, Vt. Brandon is a Graphic Design & Digital Media major.

Sophy Walsh, of Underhill, was awarded the Emergent Media Center Award for outstanding efforts by the Division of Communication and Creative Media at Champlain College in Burlington, Vt. Sophy is a Graphic Design and Digital Media major. Sophy graduated from Champlain College in Burlintgon, Vt. during the 136th commencement ceremony on May 3 with a bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design and Digital Media.

Colby Lahaie, of Underhill, was awarded the LCDI Leadership Award for outstanding efforts by the Division of Information Technologies and Sciences at Champlain College in Burlington, Vt. Colby was named to the spring 2014 semester Dean’s List at Champlain College and graduated from Champlain College during the 136th commencement ceremony on May 3 with a bachelor’s degree in Computer and Digital Forensics.

Matthew Prahl, of Underhill, was awarded the Outstanding Student Award for outstanding efforts by the Division of Information Technologies and Sciences at Champlain College in Burlington, Vt. Matthew is a Computer Networking and Information Security major. Matthew was named to the fall 2013 and spring 2014 semester Dean’s Lists at Champlain College in Burlington, Vt. Matthew is majoring in Computer Networking and Information Security.

Lauren Rocheleau, of Jericho, graduated as a member of the Honor Society for Nursing at Colby-Sawyer College in New London, N.H. Lauren was also named to the 2014 spring semester Dean’s List at Colby-Sawyer College.

Dakotah Patnode, of Jericho, received recognition during the 4th annual Champlain College Core Division Celebration of Excellence. The award ceremony recognizes outstanding work in multiple core classes across multiple years at Champlain College in Burlington, Vt. Dakotah received recognition for work in Rhetoric II. Dakotah is an Early Childhood/Elementary Education major. Dakotah was also named to the fall 2013 semester Dean’s List at Champlain College.

Jacquelin Chin Smolinski, of Jericho, graduated from Clemson University with a Bachelor of Science Industrial Engineering.

Cynthia McCormack, of Jericho, received a 2014 Nursing Scholarship from New England Federal Credit Union. Each year, NEFCU’s Nursing Scholarship Program provides three scholarships of $3000 each to qualified applicants. Cynthia is currently attending Norwich University and is a student in the Master of Science in Nursing Education program.

Robert Mathieu, of Underhill, earned a Bachelor of Science Business Administration in Finance Cum Laude from Coastal Carolina University in Conway, S.C. this spring.

Meghan Bartlett, of Jericho, was named to the fall 2013 semester Dean’s List at St. Anselm College in Manchester, N.H.

Chris Provost, of Jericho, graduated from the Community College of Vermont in Montpelier, Vt., on June 7 with an Associate of Science degree.

Caitlin L. Ackerman, of Jericho, graduated from Champlain College in Burlington, Vt. during the 136th commencement ceremony on May 3. Caitlin was named to the fall 2013 President’s List.

Samantha Frances Brehm, of Jericho, graduated from Champlain College in Burlington, Vt. during the 136th commencement ceremony on May 3 with a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood/Elementary Education. Samantha was also named to the spring 2014 semester Dean’s List at Champlain College.

Nick Scott Hayes, of Jericho, graduated from Champlain College in Burlington, Vt. during the 136th commencement ceremony on May 3 with a bachelor’s degree in Computer Information Technology.

Darren J. Kennedy, of Jericho, graduated from Champlain College in Burlington, Vt. during the 136th commencement ceremony on May 3 with a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice. Darren was also named to the fall 2013 semester Dean’s List at Champlain College.

Thomas R. Francis, of Underhill, graduated from Champlain College in Burlington, Vt. during the 136th commencement ceremony on May 3with a bachelor’s degree in Game Programming. Thomas was also named to the fall 2013 and spring 2014 semester Dean’s Lists at Champlain College.

Elizabeth Johnston, of Underhill, graduated from Castleton College in Castleton, Vt. during the 227th commencement ceremony on May 17 with a Bachelor of Arts in Health Science.

Alexis Ochoa, of Jericho, graduated from Castleton College in Castleton, Vt. during the 227th commencement ceremony on May 17 with an Associate of Science in Nursing.

Hannah Schultz, of Jericho, was named to the spring 2014 semester Dean’s List at the University of Hartford in Hartford, Conn.

Abigail D. Wintersteen, of Jericho, was named to the fall 2013 and spring 2014 semester Dean’s Lists at St. Anselm College in Manchester, N.H. Abigail is a nursing major and a member of the class of 2016.

Phillip Prahl, of Underhill, was inducted into the Phi Alpha Theta national honor society at the University of Vermont in Burlington, Vt. Phi Alpha Theta aims to promote the study of history through the encouragement of research, good teaching, publication and the exchange of learning and ideas among historians. Phillip graduated during the University of Vermont’s 213th commencement ceremonies on May 18 with a Bachelor of Arts in History from the College of Arts & Sciences.

Brian Michael Nicewicz, of Jericho, was named a Presidential Scholar at Clarkson University in Potsdam, N.Y. for the spring 2014 semester. Brian is a freshman majoring in mechanical engineering.

Raychel Z. Rieder, of Jericho, was named a Presidential Scholar at Clarkson University in Potsdam, N.Y. for the spring 2014 semester. Raychel is a senior majoring in engineering and management.

Richard S. Sawyer, of Underhill, was named a Presidential Scholar at Clarkson University in Potsdam, N.Y. for the spring 2014 semester. Richard is a senior majoring in mechanical engineering.

Benjamin B. King, of Jericho, was named to the spring 2014 semester Dean’s List at Clarkson University in Potsdam, N.Y. Benjamin is a sophomore majoring in civil engineering.

Kate E. Sharrow, of Jericho, graduated from Champlain College in Burlington, Vt. during the 136th commencement ceremony on May 3 with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology. Kate was also named to the spring 2014 semester Dean’s List at Champlain College.