Alisha Laramee is part of Exposed 2011. She lives in South Burlington, Vermont.
Stories of farming and the sense of place derived from this experience have historically been the predominant Vermont narrative. For the last fifty years, however, Vermont farms have dwindled from roughly 11,000 to currently a little over 1,000. For some, this is Vermont’s gravest crisis. The Vermont Department of Tourism has for many years been attempting to address this environmental, financial and identity disaster by creating a “brand Vermont.” This branding of state imagery and story captures the desires most sought after by people from elsewhere: bucolic landscapes and recreational activities. But what other stories exist in the agriculture and tourism narrative? Who else is a character in this four-season recreational theme park? Who else travels amongst us?: In a bus station in White River Junction, veterans wait to travel back to their homes after their twice-a-month visit to the VA Hospital; From the Burlington Airport, a father flies to Chicago to manage a company nearly four times a month in order to live near family in Montreal. To be rooted, a woman drives 45 minutes from Montpelier to Lyndonville for work each day. To keep their families rooted in Mexico, nearly 2,500 Mexican farm workers uproot their lives to work in Vermont. To be rooted, a Fairfield farmer drives to NYC to sell his maple syrup. In Laramee’s most recent collection of essays, movement, migration and travel become the threads that redefine and reexamine what it means and what it takes to be rooted in Vermont.
Alisha Laramee is a writer whose work focuses on the multiple and complex ways that landscapes, cultures, and people produce one another. She has written extensively of her own travels and those of others both like and unlike her. Migration – forced, voluntary, return, renewed – is of special importance to her work. Laramee’s writing explores the relationships between place and identity, from the wilderness of mountains in Alaska and skyscrapers in New York to the civilized chaos off the coasts of Patagonia and the markets of Ethiopia. She is a 2010-2011 Vermont Arts Council Creation Grant recipient, and has published essays and poetry in the Christian Science Monitor, Harpur Palate, Witness, the National Outdoor Leadership School’s The Leader, Vermont Life, and has work forthcoming in Berea College Magazine.
For the past twenty years, the Helen Day Art Center has hosted an outdoor public art and sculpture exhibition called Exposed in Stowe, Vermont. Exposed hosts sculptures, site-specific installations, and participatory work from twenty-three national and international artists. the 2011 edition offers a series of Thursday night events by 12 video artists, writers, performers, and musicians accompany the exhibit. This exhibition and series of events is accompanied by cell phone audio tours, QR codes, walking tour maps, walkabouts, and a catalogue of the exhibit published by Kasini House Books. The exhibition will take place July 8th to October 8th, 2011.