GIFT! 2017



Jen Fogel’s signs and succulents pair nicely with Anna Schuleit Haber’s painting, Lamont Sequence


GIFT! Inspires Community Connections
December 13, 2017

GIFT! is an annual holiday arts event at the Lamont Gallery that showcases fine craft by Phillips Exeter Academy employees. It is a gathering place for community and good cheer where PEA students, employees and members of the local community come to buy handmade goods, enjoy student musical performances, and participate in some hands-on arts activities.

This event – in its fifth year – has its roots in community giving and charity. The first GIFT! was held during the Catalyst exhibition in 2013 and proceeds supported local arts organizations such as Arts in Reach (AIR) and Community Access to the Arts (CATA). The event has evolved since then but many participating artists continue to donate portions of their proceeds to local charities in the spirit of PEA’s motto, Non Sibi, which means, “Not for one’s self.”

Darlene Houde selling some goodies to Diane Fandrich

This year we welcomed eleven artists to GIFT! who made items that included expertly knitted hats, hand-painted festive signs, earthy drift wood wreaths, delicate beaded jewelry, funky ceramic mugs, custom headbands, cute stuffed animals and many more. This year’s group of participating artists included: Marilyn Bott, Academy Library; Chelsea Davidson, College Counseling Office; Rebecca Dunham, Lamont Gallery Volunteer; Stacey Durand, Lamont Gallery; Diane Fandrich, Information Technology; Jen Fogel, Parent Giving; Darlene Houde, Planned Giving/Major Gifts; Kate Lennon Walker, Academy Library; Elizabeth Niebling, Academy Library; Tad Nishimura, Academy Library; Marissa Vitolo, Exeter Summer Art Department.

Beautiful – and warm – knitted items by Elizabeth Niebling

As community members sipped hot cocoa and ate sweet treats they had the opportunity to ask the artists questions and buy some holiday gifts for loved ones – or something for themselves. Many students also took advantage of the card-making workshop and created a custom card for a friend or a card to be mailed to a 4-year-old girl undergoing cancer treatment in a Boston hospital.

Jazz combo, Big Red Blues performing.

We were very excited to welcome a few student performers who took time out of their very busy schedules to perform for those visiting GIFT! First to perform was the jazz combo, “Big Red Blues” which includes Lucas Stevens ’18, Oren Stern ’18, Dylan Yin ’19, and Justin Shao ’19. As soon as they started to play, many people poured into the gallery from the halls curious to see what was going on and excited to see some live jazz. In the afternoon Kristen Richards ’19 came equipped with her ukulele and sweet selection of songs to share. The crowd was smaller and more intimate by this time of day which made her performance even more special.


This year GIFT! welcomed close to 200 visitors from the entire community. Those that were lucky enough to come in the afternoon also took part in some cookie decorating (and eating). Our wonderful catering department (who supplies food for all of our events) baked a few dozen cookies in festive shapes. We supplied some frosting and candy and our visitors brought their creativity and their appetites and crafted some edible masterpieces – we don’t have many photos since they were all so delicious and did not last very long.


A big ‘thank you’ to all of our participating artists as well as our creative group of gallery staff and student workers who turned the entrance of the Lamont Gallery into a winter wonderland complete with lights, digital snow, and paper tree silhouettes.

–  Stacey Durand, Lamont Gallery Manager

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