Photos courtesy of Duncan Campbell Author and former Rutland Herald journalist Yvonne Daley unveiled her new book, "Going Up the Country: When the Hippies, Dreamers, Freaks, and Radicals Moved to Vermont." The Chaffee Art Center in Rutland opened a new exhibit featuring works from local artists profiled in the book.
Rutland unveiled its new exhibit Friday, showcasing works from local artists who were profiled in Yvonne Daley’s new book, “Going Up the Country: When the Hippies, Dreamers, Freaks and Radicals Moved to Vermont.”
Daley explained that her book tells a story of a generation of dreamers and back-to-the-landers who moved to Vermont by the thousands in the late 1960’s/early 1970’s. During this period, the state was gradually losing its population of young people, and younger people relocated here from cities in order to engage in a more participatory government.
“By the end of the ‘60’s, we were all pretty discouraged,” Daley said. “And the next political statement was coming here to Vermont.”
Artwork displayed at the exhibit included paintings, sculptures, photographs and clothing created by Daley and other counterculture followers. Each display contained information about the artist and an excerpt from “Going Up the Country” featuring them.
Daley herself moved to Goshen from Boston during this period. There, she and her first husband raised five children, made cheese from the goats she raised and created a food co-op out of her house. Like fellow counterculture followers who moved north, she learned from natives how to protect her crops, how to weave, how to can food and how to live in a rural place. She added that during this time period, they retreated from mainstream society for a while, interacting with commune members like a family.
“It was a wonderful time and we made many friends of Vermonters, who I would say really saved us in many ways,” Daley said.
“Going Up the Country” is the sixth book written by Daley. Additionally, she has had a prolific journalism career, writing for People Magazine, Time, The Boston Globe and The Rutland Herald. Regarding the latter, she said that she appreciated writing for a smaller community because it motivated her to be 100 percent accurate in her reporting.
“To me, local journalism is so important and I really hope that people will support (local journalism),” Daley said.
In addition to the artwork featured, another striking display was a collage of newspapers reporting the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy, Sen. Robert Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In her book, Daley wrote that she felt a general distrust in some aspects of the government, which stemmed from the years when these men were murdered.
“For, despite the insularity and safety from suffering that our parents had tried so hard to provide, we felt cheated of the dreams these men embodied,” she wrote.
Daley added that she has had mixed thoughts about another movement like this occurring in the future. She explained that the communal lifestyle she experienced grew from an era where it made sense financially to live with people her own age. She said she feels that the rising cost of living in a city will facilitate a revival of this concept. However, she retracted her statement, saying that due to the innovations and dependence on technology, it would not be like it was in the ‘60’s.
“I don’t think you’re going to get a big invasion of young people into Vermont until you have reliable internet and cell service,” she said.
The exhibit will run from Sept. 20 to Nov. 1, and will feature book readings, music and spoken word for most Friday evenings.