The Feast of Venus, when a gallery owner has a brilliant idea to help feed Vermont
I first heard about this event from my dear friend interior designer Amy Thebault. Amy was on a committee which was putting on an event in our local community and she was doing her amazing tablescapes. I’ve known Amy for ages and I was curious why she was raving about this event so much!! After the event it was the talk of the town. Glorious gallery owner Lisa Helmoltz-Adams had created a magnificent event and was giving back to the community. Everyone was talking about how special it was and I was wondering what on earth I had missed! Last year I went to the Feast of Venus and I was completely blown away. Lisa, who owns a gorgeous gallery in Manchester, Vermont had opened her doors and thrown her second fabulous party to raise awareness and money to feed the hungry in Vermont. When The Duchess of Sussex got behind the Hubb Community Kitchen in England which was serving people who had been affected by tragic fire in the Grenfell Tower I immediately thought of our Lisa and the amazing Feast of Venus, both the painting and the party. In the introduction to her cookbook Together: Our Community Cookbook the Duchess says “The kitchen buzzes with women of all ages; women who have lived and have seen life; laughing, chatting, sharing a cup of tea and a story, while children play on the floor or are rocked to sleep in their strollers. Now I have come to know these women and this place well… You will feel joyful in their company, and you will leave counting the days until you go back” I share the Duchess’ admiration for the women of Grenfell Tower and I also admire this woman in Vermont who has gathered other women to cook, to share, to raise awareness, and to raise money to feed others. I am honored to tell you about Lisa Helmholz-Adams. And I too can’t wait to go back!
Questions and Answers with Lisa Helmholz-Adams
How long have you been in the gallery business and what is your gallery like?
I have worked in the art world going on 25 years as well as working with International artists and artists in rare mediums and sculpture! My love for art comes from my mom who is a huge influence and she is my Director in my Tribeca gallery and all about family working together!! I work with the most incredible artists who embody mostly very rare mediums and 21st Century mixed media as well and have about 30 - 45 years being artists!! Their creative works are always coming through and evolving!!
How did you come up with the idea to throw this event?
I saw A Place at the Table at Burr and Burton Academy at the Riley Center 4 yrs ago and it was presented by Hunger Free Vermont and I was so taken about what they do, for the state and families going through hard times, with nutritious foods and farms with dignity!! This spoke to me and I knew I would one day do something to give back as I love this beautiful state and raised my boys and now grandson here. I knew that the Hunger Free Vermont headquarters is in Burlington and they are always in the papers, NPR, and VPR and taking care of 133,000 people in Vermont and more!! 3000 people just in our neck of the woods and that really HIT ME HARD!! The idea The Feast of Venus came from the painting called The Feast of Venus by Elizabeth Torak that took 5 years to paint and is all about the community of woman coming together, with a very rare medium from the 17th Century Elizabeth prepares herself. This painting spoke to me and I woke up in the middle of the night and I could see 100 woman coming together in our community and getting the word out. It was a huge success and then I did it the next year and another 100 women came!!
Now that I’m on the Board of Directors for Hunger Free Vermont and at headquarters in Burlington I really understand the depth and breath of all they do. I needed 2 years under my belt before I would do The Feast of Venus lll coming May 30th with 200 people and now with men!!! Hunger Free Vermont is celebrating their 25th anniversary taking care of children and families and the elderly across the state!!
What is the event like?
It is so special with 3 top chefs coming together Gail Morin, Sherrie Baker and Amy Chamberlain with there culinary chops and using local farms to make their dishes!! We will have Stonecutter Spirits and TÖST and wines along with Ben & Jerry’s and Mother Myricks chocolate goodies !! Most importantly at 6pm We will have the Executive Director Anore Horton who will say some words about The 25th Anniversary and on a very large Screen you will see on a loop of what Hunger Free Vermont does for this state. That will run for the 2 hrs with thanks to the sponsors and team!!
Who comes to the event?
The first 2 Feasts of Venus I did back to back were 100 woman and it was done to get the word out and now it will be a great mix with men and woman and folks from all different backgrounds!!
Do you have volunteers? What do they do?
I have an amazing team that makes the magic happen and the experience in itself becomes very very special!!! You will have all of your senses alive!!!
How often have you done this and how much money have you raised?
I have done this 2 times and raised around 25,000. And with tickets at $50 so it would be very affordable to come! (Editors note: This event has now also garnered 200 more people understanding the food needs in Vermont.)
How can people get tickets to come?
Thank you Lisa. Thank you for the amazing joy you bring to our community with your gorgeous feisty and fun spirit. Thank you for bringing spectacular works of art to our community. And thank you for being you and doing something so breathtakingly beautiful.