Side Dishes: Vermont artist examines food and emotion
What do we eat when we feel seductive? Jealous? Indecisive? Painter Valerie Hird  explores those emotions and more in a new short film entitled “Mood Food.” The folks at Florida’s Key West Literary Seminar  commission a work from Hird for their event each year, but the Burlington resident says this year she felt uninspired by the idea of painting “a still life with fruit” for the fest’s foodie theme. Instead, Hird decided to produce a 3-minute flick.
The St. Michael’s College professor polled students and other acquaintances about their emotional associations with food, then wrote a script and filmed it with performance artist Maggie Sherman . Barb Bardin,  owner of Splash at the Boathouse , helped Hird choose locations for the five scenes in her film, including Mirabelles , City Market/Onion River Co-op  and Blue Cat Café & Wine Bar .
The project will have its official premiere at Lucky Street Gallery in Key West on January 7. Vermonters eager to see Hird’s work can check it out sooner. The artist plans to host a wrap party and screening at her Burlington studio the second week of December.