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Category: Arts in Community

Inviting Community

Inviting Community

Posted: December 6, 2017

A month after I arrived in Vermont I found myself driving on snowy back roads to a meeting in the Northeast Kingdom. Forty-five people gathered on this freezing cold night in the basement of a Unitarian church to explore the idea of a new incubator space in Greensboro. Participants in small brainstorming groups envisioned the potential of such a space for artists, entrepreneurs, and students in the community. Our group included people from more than a dozen towns, and I was struck by the wide range of backgrounds represented: graphic designers, high school and college teachers, the owner of a hair studio, an IT professional, a retired businessman, a glass artist, an agricultural policy expert, and a librarian. The excitement in the room was captured by a high school student who turned to his mom and said, “This is cool.” Read More
The Arts Mean Business

The Arts Mean Business

Posted: October 4, 2017

In Vermont, nonprofit arts and culture make up a larger than $123 million industry supporting thousands of jobs. The sector also generates millions of dollars in revenue to local and state government. These are just two important facts supported by data from the Americans for the Arts' fifth iteration of the Arts & Economic Study (AEP5). Eighty-eight Vermont organizations participated in this yearlong, nationwide survey to assess the economic impact of the arts. What is true across the nation is true in our state: Arts and culture are one and the same as economic development. It's not an either/or choice. Read More
An Art-Packed Summer Day

An Art-Packed Summer Day

Posted: July 20, 2017

In “Summer Blues,” Vermont poet David Budbill laments, “Ninety days is what we get, just Ninety days of frost free weather.” He then instructs, “we Just got to get outside and get together!” As the frost-free days accumulate, the Vermont Arts Calendar swells to include hundreds of events. Choosing becomes overwhelming. I find help in “How to Art Pack Your Day in Ten Easy Steps,” first published in July 2015. I begin by selecting my last stop: Rutland. A mural by Bill Ramage piques my interest. I'll follow it with free movie night at the Paramount. I decide to stay off the interstate. As I meander, I mentally highlight this part of tip #8: “Art can be found in the most surprising places.” I hit pay dirt on my first stop. Read More
A Short Distance to Vibrant Arts

A Short Distance to Vibrant Arts

Posted: July 6, 2017

The nation’s oldest hiking trail is 273 miles long and runs across the spine of Vermont’s Green Mountains. Also chasing along these peaks are towns and villages that were first established as farming and ski communities. Some of these towns are thriving arts hubs, as the state's valleys and dynamic mountains have both inspired and integrated the arts. The arts at the center of these communities have become as rich as the soil and steadfast as thru-hikers on the Long Trail. In this light, the Vermont Arts Council and the Green Mountain Club have partnered to provide arts and outdoors enthusiasts a collection of recommended regions that offer excellent arts and hiking opportunities. Read More
Compassionate Community

Compassionate Community

Posted: June 22, 2017

It’s just after 6:30 Thursday evening. I enter Burlington’s Town Center Mall and scan the directory for Victoria’s Secret. The group I’m looking for meets in an empty store across the hall from the lingerie boutique. Two bassists, a cellist, and an equal smattering of violinists and wind players are sitting on folding chairs warming up their instruments. Caroline Whiddon manages the group. She moves from the front of the room to the back, stopping to answer questions, check in, and hand out tickets for the upcoming concert. Other musicians filter in. When it’s close to 7:00, Ronald Braunstein arrives. He is the conductor, but it is a violinist who first takes the podium. She tells the players to put both feet on the ground. They do. She visibly inhales then exhales, gesturing with her arms as she breathes. Read More
Artists and Their Communities

Artists and Their Communities

Posted: May 31, 2017

I spent most of May speaking with artists about their community. I feel lucky. My purpose was to curate a survey of Vermont contemporary art organized around artists’ connections to one another by asking artists to select someone for the exhibition. The results of this experiment, the exhibition “Connection: the Art of Coming Together” will be on view June 5-October 6 at the Vermont Arts Council Spotlight Gallery in Montpelier. A version of the exhibition will appear in print in Vermont Art Guide #5, due out in August 2017. Read More