The Visual Art of a Musician: Eric Despard

February 28, 2013

Photo: “Saint ‘So and So’”- c. 2005, Acrylic on paper by Eric Despard

As an accomplished musician living in Pownal, Vt., Eric Despard, Music Director and Adjunct Professor in The Hunter Division of Humanities and at Southern Vermont College (SVC), has been involved throughout his life in the making of visual artworks that connect to and complement his musical ability as an instrumentalist on guitar in a variety of genres. His exhibit runs from March 5 through March 29. The regular gallery hours are Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Despard’s current exhibit at SVC is a selection of works from the last 25 years: a snapshot in time of his love affair with visual expression. According to the artist, “Music and art are intimately linked with the vocabulary of one discipline informing how we think about the other.” For Despard, visual art has a distinct sound and likewise music can be seen as well as heard. For the artist, both music and visual art begin with the idea and then undergo an extensive series of revisions until they produce a final, transcendent experience. He acknowledges that his process brings together external and internal reality, and that is what Despard finds valuable about the whole process.

Despard’s journey as an artist and musician began in Maine and continued when he pursued a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music at the Hart School of Music in Hartford, CT, and later earned a Master’s degree at the Yale (University) School of Music in New Haven. At SVC, where he has been an adjunct professor since 2001, Despard has taught numerous courses in the academic study of music and its history as well as instrumental instruction in guitar. He also serves as the College’s Music Director and faculty leader for the SVC Music Ensemble and College Choir. Recently, he has served as the interpreter of the College’s collection of Stephen Hannock’s paintings and woodcut prints for a variety of college classes across all disciplines.

For more information on Despard’s exhibit, contact SVC Associate Professor Greg Winterhalter at 802-447-6316 or e-mail