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Visitors gather for an evening of the simple life at Canterbury Shaker Village. Courtesy photo.




Village Rising
Where: 288 Shaker Rd., Canterbury
When: Saturday, Aug. 16, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Cost: Included with the cost of admission 
Call: 783-9511
 




Progression and peace
Village Rising shows Shakers in a contemporary light

08/14/14



Back in the day, the “big” City of Concord had nothing on Canterbury’s village.
 
“Shakers were a very progressive-minded group,” said Funi Burdick, executive director of Canterbury Shaker Village. “Once electricity was discovered, the Shakers found a way of electrifying the village. Canterbury even had electricity before Concord.”
 
On Saturday, Aug. 16, Village Rising will offer more insight into the lives of village Shakers and how their progressive outlook would fit into to the modern era.
 
“They were all about embracing technology and utilizing it, not about simply stay[ing] in our community,” said Burdick. “They would have fully embraced Facebook and Twitter, using solar-power, finding ways to be responsive to the land and environment. Shakers are not the Amish. The challenge for us is to dispel the notion that they are not like us.”
 
Village Rising is a day of special exhibits and tours immersing visitors in the Shaker lifestyle. Burdick is curating an exhibit called
 
“Shaker Traditions: Contemporary Translations,” which will showcase works of art created by previous visitors, a roomful of interpretations through several different art mediums about how the Shakers influenced them.
 
“A lot of people come take photographs, people come paint, write poetry, create sculptures,” she said. “So I thought, wouldn’t it be fun and instructive to create an exhibit where it’s about the audience and their reflection about what we’ve presented them with?”
 
Kicking off the event will be a walking tour led by landscape designer and farmer Lauren Chase-Rowell, who will take visitors around the village to discuss the natural qualities that the Shakers used to construct their landscapes. Chef Todd Sweet, the executive chef of the University of New Hampshire Philbrook Kitchen, will follow that with a demonstration of Shaker-inspired recipes. Artful Noise will take Shaker musical themes and play them as a contemporary string quartet, combining tuneful melodies with the booming foot-stomp marches that were the characteristic in Shaker music.
 
Peg Donahue, a feng-shui design consultant, will also be hosting a walking tour later in the day called “Translating the Shaker Aesthetic for Contemporary Life.” Donahue said the purpose of the walk is to develop a greater understanding for the positive energy and use of light that the Shakers used to create a vibrant atmosphere.
 
The beginning of the walk, Donahue used as example, will lead to the meeting house. Several trees are aligned along the dirt path. Each tree, she said, was given to an orphan who lived in the village to care for.
 
“The Shaker setting has always been a very natural setting, a very spiritual setting,” she said. “When you go through Shaker Village, the first thing you notice is the symmetry of the buildings. [There are] also the colors, like the colors of the meeting house which is blue and white. Blue is a meditative color, while white is a spiritual color, both reflect that the Shakers were a meditative type.”
 
So, despite their progressive nature, the Shakers managed to live serene lives as well.
 
“People are striving to find peace and simplicity,” Donahue said. “People are running around so fast. They want to slow down. These people are looking for answers for a well-balanced life. The Shakers led a more well-balanced life.” 
 





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