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Arts Calendar: Arts Festival in Southern Vermont




Wednesday, July 11, 2018

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The New York Times features the 4 FREEDOMS FESTIVAL as one of 15 summer favorites! Read more here:

This summer, Vermonters take the lead in honoring The Four Freedoms when THE MILL hosts the first annual 4 FREEDOMS FESTIVAL℠. Inspired by his Arlington neighbors, Norman Rockwell captured the essence of Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Worship, Freedom from Want, and Freedom from Fear in simple everyday scenes. The FESTIVAL not only celebrates the 75th anniversary of the famous oil series’ original printing in The Saturday Evening Post, but also recognizes the current relevance of these 4 essential human rights in 2018.
“These works of art, created three quarters of a century ago right here in Arlington, are as relevant today as they were when they were first painted” said producer Joshua Sherman. “The Festival celebrates all that is just and good in our society. I am extremely proud of the entire Festival – and I am thrilled to present the musical Perfect Picture.”

Festival Headline:
PERFECT PICTURE - The musical, inspired by the life of Norman Rockwell and his quest to paint the Four Freedoms, is the centerpiece of the month long 4 FREEDOMS FESTIVAL℠. A Broadway cast and production team will bring Rockwell’s story to the stage of the Arkell Pavilion at Southern Vermont Arts Center.

THE STORY: In 1942, illustrators enjoyed celebrity status – and Norman Rockwell was a superstar. He was too old to enlist, but still wanted to do his part, so he volunteered his services to The War Department to paint a series of posters inspired by F.D.R.’s Four Freedoms Speech. Despite his fame, Rockwell was flat-out rejected. They told him: “In the last war, we used illustrators like you. This time around, we want fine arts men. You know… real artists.” Using this episode as a framework, the musical PERFECT PICTURE explores Rockwell’s life, loves, insecurities, and resilience.

4-Time TONY AWARD Nominee, Randy Skinner (Broadway’s 42nd Street, Dames at Sea, State Fair, White Christmas) directs and choreographs the musical, which juxtaposes the extraordinary story of Rockwell’s quest to create the iconic 4 Freedoms suite (which ultimately helped win World War II) with a portrait of the artist and his life, which was anything but a perfect picture.

TONY and EMMY AWARD Winner Lillias White (Cy Coleman’s The Life, Dreamgirls, Sesame Street) stars as “Amy the Wild Woman” who taught Rockwell his creed: “Don’t show life the way it really is, but how folks want it to be.”

The cast also includes OLIVIER AWARD Nominee Scarlett Strallen (Mary Poppins, Travesties); Sara Esty (An American in Paris, Beast in the Jungle); Danny Gardner (Dames at Sea); and Jeremy Benton (Cagney, 42nd Street). Additional cast members to be announced shortly.

Book by Eileen Bluestone Sherman with Music & Lyrics by the EMMY AWARD Winning “Bluestone Sisters” (Gail C. Bluestone & Eileen Bluestone Sherman). Musical Direction by Timothy Graphenreed (The Wiz). Musical Arrangements by Sam Willmott with additional Dance Arrangements by Rob Berman. Scenic Design by William
John Aupperlee. Costume and Lighting Design by Ken Mooney. Press Representative: Keith Sherman & Associates. Sponsorship Consultant: The Erlick Group. Legal Consultant: The Law Offices of J.J Sherman, P.C.

This is a co-production between Joshua Sherman Productions and THE MILL.
PERFECT PICTURE will be presented at Southern Vermont Arts Center (SVAC)’s Arkell Pavilion on Friday, July 20th at 7:30pm; Saturday, July 21st, at 3:00pm; and Saturday, July 21st at 7:30pm. Ticket Sales are open now. Please visit the FESTIVAL website with questions or to purchase tickets:
In addition to PERFECT PICTURE, the first annual 4 FREEDOMS FESTIVAL℠ Official Schedule of Events follows. Updates will be shared on the FESTIVAL’s official website:

January 6, 2018 marked the 77th anniversary of President Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms Speech. In honor of that historic declaration, the 4 FREEDOMS FESTIVAL℠ and THE MILL launched their first festival initiative, focused on arts education and engaging today’s youth. The CREATE 4 FREEDOM℠ Contest encourages 9th – 11th grade students to choose one of The Four Freedoms (Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Worship, Freedom from Want, or Freedom from Fear) and create a new work of art that expresses how and why that freedom is relevant in 2018. In addition to a cash prize, the winning work will be published by Mountain Media.

Saturday, July 7. 2018, 11:00am
Norman Rockwell's "kid" models are no longer kids, but their mischievous humor and charm are more present than ever. This special gathering will take place at Arlington Memorial High School from 11:00am-2:00pm. The models will share stories of their time in Rockwell's studio and reflect on their youth in Arlington, Vermont.

The location for this year's reunion carries extra significance as selected by the reunion organizers. Arlington’s high school burned to the ground in November of 1940. In January of 1941, an emergency town meeting was held to debate whether or not to re-build what stands today as Arlington Memorial High School. Rockwell attended the Town Hall meeting and witnessed his neighbor standing up and exercising his Freedom of Speech. He was inspired to create the first of his four iconic Four Freedoms paintings.

A presentation by local art historian Don Trachte, Jr. is scheduled to take place at the high school's MACK Performing Arts Center from 11:00am-12:30pm. In keeping with tradition, The Arlington Lions Club will again prepare a fundraising barbecue luncheon at the high school immediately following the models reunion presentation from 12:30pm-2:00pm. This event is open to the public and subject to limited seating.
Saturday, July 7, 2018

Arlington was home for many well-known painters, musicians and writers during the 20th century. Among the most famous was Norman Rockwell. Collectively, Rockwell, Mead Schaeffer, John Atherton, George Hughes and Gene Pelham painted more than 275 Saturday Evening Post covers and illustrations. This exhibit chronicles the work of these artists and the community they created – acting as their own critics and models while becoming close friends. Exhibit dates are June 30 through August 18, 2018 at The Canfield Gallery at the Martha Canfield Memorial Library in Arlington, VT.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018, 7:00 pm
The Bennington Garden Club welcomes regional farms to speak to both avid and amateur gardeners. This special FESTIVAL event highlights Freedom from Want; supporting the practice of growing one’s own food and supporting Vermont's farm-to-table heritage. The Club will revisit the purpose of Victory Gardens in American history and the advantages of growing a modern day Victory Garden. This speaking engagement takes place at The Bennington Museum at 7:00pm in the Paresky Education Center.

Friday, July 13, 2018
Author, innovator, and educator Dorothy Canfield Fisher stated, “The Vermont tradition grapples energetically with the basic problem of human conduct... how to reconcile the needs of the group... with the craving for individual freedom.” Inspired by this quote, world-renowned illustration expert, Roger Reed, will curate a special “pop-up” exhibition at The Bennington Museum focusing on the delicate balance of individual liberty and community responsibility. The exhibition will feature original works by the Arlington illustrators (Rockwell, Atherton, Pelham, Schaeffer, and Hughes) as well as other celebrated artists. The exhibition concludes on Sunday, August 5, 2018.

Friday July 20, 2018, 4:00pm
A full weekend of FESTIVAL events between Manchester, Arlington, and Bennington commences at 4:00pm EST with the first ever state-wide RING 4 FREEDOM℠. Town and Church Bells will ring across the state of Vermont for 4 minutes to recognize and celebrate The 4 Freedoms. Vermonters and visitors are encouraged to record the RING 4 FREEDOM℠ celebrations in their towns with short videos; using the FESTIVAL’s official hashtag #4freedomsfestival.

Saturday, July 21, 2018, 12:00 noon
At 12:00 noon, Freedom of Speech and Freedom from Fear will be celebrated with a patriotic and inspiring ceremony at The Factory Point Town Green in Manchester. The community will pay tribute to the brave men and women currently serving in our military, the veterans who have fought for our country, and the war heroes who have fallen fighting for our FREEDOM.
The TRIBUTE 4 FREEDOM℠ ceremony will celebrate Vermont’s Motto of “Freedom and Unity”. The Winners of the CREATE 4 FREEDOM℠ Contest will be publicly recognized. There is no cost to attend this event.

Given Norman Rockwell’s long association with The Boy Scouts of America, Boy Scout Troops from Arlington and neighboring towns are partnering with the FESTIVAL to place over 2,000 American flags, lining the perimeter of the Factory Point Town Green.

Saturday, July 21, 2018
For those seeking a festive outdoor celebration, don’t miss a chance to celebrate our local heroes with the 65th Annual Arlington Fire Company Carnival. Enjoy a Chili cook off and evening fireworks!

The Carnival is the largest fundraiser of the year for the local fire company. Venue: Friday and Saturday, July 20-21, 2018 at the Arlington Recreational Park.

Sunday, July 22, 2018, 1:00pm
PRAY 4 FREEDOM℠The 4 FREEDOMS FESTIVAL℠ closes the weekend’s events with an interfaith ceremony at Norman Rockwell’s home and studio in West Arlington, Vermont at 1:00pm. The event brings together spiritual and religious leaders, with a non-denominational focus on Freedom of Worship. FESTIVAL organizers join regional interfaith leaders in their commitment to Grateful Hearts, community food cupboards and local food banks, by encouraging all participants to donate food, upholding Freedom from Want.
Grateful Hearts, an all-volunteer not for profit gleans produce from local farms and culled produced from grocery shelves to create meals that nourish and energize the hungry in our greater community. Meals are distributed through school backpack programs and local Community Food Cupboards. The interfaith community, concerned citizens, farmers, local businesses and not-for-profit organizations have come together to support the Grateful Hearts mission to provide local food for local hunger. In 2017, Grateful Hearts produced over 30,000 meals from food that would otherwise have gone to waste.

Sunday, July 22, 2018, 3:00 pm
PRICE FOR FREEDOM film screening
THE MILL is pleased to announce a special screening of the film, Price for Freedom, produced by Arlington resident and TONY AWARD nominee Roger Cooper at the Manchester Community Library. Price for Freedom was awarded Best Picture at the prestigious Palm Beach International Film Festival in 2017. Based on the true story and best-selling novel by Dr. Marc Benhuri, Price for Freedom depicts his attempt to counter oppression after the 1979 Islamic Revolution. The film will be shown at 3:00pm in the Hunter Room. Due to limited seating, reservations are encouraged in advance. Reserve your seat on the FESTIVAL’s official website:

As there is no charge for admission, donations to support THE MILL will be accepted at the door.

7/7/18 11:00am - 7/22/18 2:00pm

Southern Vermont, Manchester