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Southern Vermont Arts Excursions | Fall 2020

The Latchis Hotel & Theatre in Brattleboro.

The historic Latchis Hotel & Theatre in downtown Brattleboro.

Spanning the rolling hills of Windham and Bennington Counties, the Southern Vermont arts scene centers around the towns of Brattleboro and Bennington.

In the riverside town of Brattleboro, the first Friday of every month is Gallery Walk, when the town’s galleries and arts venues open their doors to the public, and the historic downtown bustles with activity and special events. Since the Covid-19 pandemic, the town of Brattleboro has worked to make Gallery Walk a safe, socially distanced night that brings together the community.

Among Brattleboro’s many galleries are Vermont Artisan Design, a fine arts and craft shop and gallery open daily and by appointment, and Harmony Collective, a new gallery featuring eclectic work from 31 local member-artists. The gallery and venue 118 Elliot is exhibiting four local artists through October, with gallery hours 3-6 p.m. every Friday and Saturday.

On Flat Street, the Vermont Center for Photography’s annual members exhibition is open Thursday through Sunday, 12 to 5 p.m., until Dec. 20. Epsilon Spires, a new gallery and arts center in a restored Baptist church, is exhibiting the textile art of Christin Ripley until Nov. 6. On Oct. 17, Epsilon Spires is throwing an all-ages Halloween jamboree with music, food, and pumpkin carving in their socially distanced “Backlot Cinema,” where they have been screening drive-in movies throughout the pandemic. For a unique cinema experience, see a show in the main theater at Brattleboro’s Latchis Hotel & Theatre, known for its lavish Art Deco design.

Southern Vermont Arts Center in Manchester.

Southern Vermont Arts Center in Manchester. Photo by Catherine Crawley.

Overlooking the Connecticut River, the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center (BMAC) features a variety of exhibits. The galleries reopen on Oct. 23 with newly installed exhibits. On Sunday, Oct. 18 BMAC hosts their 13th Annual Domino Toppling Extravaganza featuring professional domino artist Lily Hevesh, with limited in-person tickets available.

Up the river from Brattleboro is Putney’s Yellow Barn, an international center for chamber music. Every Tuesday through Oct. 27, you can drop by the Yellow Barn patio for live conversations with musicians from their 2020 summer season.

Also in Putney is Next Stage Arts, a historic general store restored as a gallery and venue. In the Next Stage gallery until Dec. 31 are paintings by Susan Parenti.

Just up the road from Next Stage is Sandglass Theater, a renowned theater and puppetry company that has toured internationally since 1982. On Halloween weekend, Oct. 31-Nov. 1, the company will throw a live outdoor performance, Footpath to the CIRCUS Puppets, that will take you around the company grounds into a world of magic, music, and puppets.

Travel northwest on Route 30, into the Green Mountain National Forest, and you’ll descend into Manchester, home of the Southern Vermont Arts Center (SVAC). Until Nov. 1, SVAC is exhibiting the work of internationally known photographer Adrien Broom, and the painted veils of Patty Hudak, a recipient of a 2019 Creation Grant from the Vermont Arts Council. Through Jan. 10, SVAC’s 2020 All Member Exhibition features work by local artists on the theme of “Hope” in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Retreat Farm in Brattleboro.

Picnic Pairing: Retreat Farm, BrattleboroA waterfront community farm and forest, with gardens, trails, and a center green open to the public.

Travel south, through the Shires of Vermont, and you’ll reach Bennington, southwestern Vermont’s cultural hub. In the village of North Bennington, the 23rd Annual Outdoor Sculpture Show can be viewed until Nov. 1. In a repurposed bank on Bennington proper’s Main Street is Fiddlehead at Four Corners, a fine art and craft gallery featuring artists from across the country.

The “Stay in Your Car” Parade takes place on Halloween day, Saturday, Oct. 31, starting at 4 p.m. Prizes will be awarded to the best-dressed vehicles, cars, trucks, trailers, and motorcycles and passengers. The Bennington Traditional Jazz Bandwill play live music from Lincoln Square, which will also be home base for the parade judges. Coffee and food options will be on hand throughout the day. Visit event organizers Vermont Arts Exchange for full details.

Also on Main Street is the Bennington Museum, which celebrates the art and history of southern Vermont and New Hampshire, northwestern Massachusetts, and eastern New York State. The Bennington Museum’s current exhibits include an extension of the Outdoor Sculpture Show, an exhibit of objects chosen by popular vote, and the world’s largest collection of paintings by the 20th-century folk artist Grandma Moses.

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Last updated October 14, 2020.