BRATTLEBORO—Shanta Lee Evans-Crowley, president of the Arts Council of Windham County, believes Windham County has an enduring legacy of inspiration, creativity, and artistic culture.
“There are many who have visited Windham County and recognize it as a world unto itself,” Evans-Crowley says. “We are extending an invitation to come witness, be a part of this magic.”
From May 6 through May 8, 2016, the Arts Council of Windham County is celebrating what makes Windham County so special by inviting residents and visitors to a kinetic, visual, and aural feast of arts and culture with what they’re calling an ARTstravaganza.
Evans-Crowley says the event is intended to provide a showcase while celebrating all the vibrant talent that Windham County has to offer, and to prompt new partnerships and collaborations with unique partners and artists in the region.
“Ultimately, ACWC wants all of the artists and art organizations to know that they have a voice, and this celebration will showcase the ‘voices’ of the various arts and artists in all of the forms that include puppetry, theater, dance, music, storytelling, visual arts, and so many other things,” Evans-Crowley says.
The Brattleboro Town Arts Committee has supplied its support by passing an ARTstravaganza proclamation.
Adam Salviani writes, “As Chair of the Town Arts Committee, [I] am happy and excited to support the ongoing efforts of ACWC and their commitment to the artists and individuals of our community. ACWC serves as a great advocate for both established and emerging artists here in Brattleboro and should be applauded for their efforts."
Evans-Crowley says the ACWC is aligned with the Vermont Art Council’s VT Arts 2016 Campaign and has partnered with over 20 organizations, community groups, and businesses to present ARTstravaganza. “The Richards Group, Write Action, and the Shiatsu School of VT have contributed as sponsors,” Evans-Crowley adds.
ARTstravaganza will feature more than 30 exhibitions in downtown Brattleboro, including work in local galleries such as Gallery in the Woods, Vermont Artisan Designs Gallery, C. X. Silver Gallery, Mitchell Giddings Fine Arts, and Catherine Dianich Gallery.
An outdoor visual-art projection will showcase over 500 images of creativity throughout the region. In addition, a Saturday Art Market at the River Garden will feature artists and crafters from all over Windham County.
The art of Windham County is hardly centered just around downtown Brattleboro, however.
Brattleboro-West Arts will host a special Open Studio tour during the weekend, featuring some of their key artists and craftspeople including potter Naomi Lindenfeld, artist and crafter Jen Wiechers, founder of the Center for Digital Art Michel Moyse, mixed-media collage artist Sharon Myers, and a showroom of Walter Slowinski’s wood-fired pottery.
The first gallery to open in Readsboro, Confluence Gallery, will have its inaugural exhibiton as part of ARTstravaganza. And, on Thursday, May 5, Main Street Arts in Saxtons River will host an opening reception for its “Unfinished Myth” exhibition.
Other specific events at ARTstravaganza include:
• A celebration of diversity, heritage, and history presented by Windham Southeast Supervisory Union Diversity Equity Committee at the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center.
• A special viewing of “The Collection” at Beadniks, which features a special museum of antique beads and cultural artifacts, some of which are more than 3,000 years old.
• Live music and jamming at the Brattleboro Printmakers, a membership-based print club and home of Brink Gallery.
• A “Make Your Own Mala” workshop hosted by Beadniks and the River Gallery School of Art. All Malas will be blessed by the Venerable Tomas O Flaithearta, resident Monk at the AnaDaire Celtic Buddhist Center of Saxton’s River. Materials will be available.
• The Creativity Caravan will stop by as a part of the U.S. tour of the Tiny Book Show.
• A child-inspired storytelling, music, and movement potluck hosted at KidsPLAYce.
• A Vermont International Film Foundation and Latchis Arts presentation of “A Vermont Romance” (1916), a digitally remastered copy of the first feature film made in Vermont.
The weekend also will include aerial performances by the New England Center for Circus Arts, live music by the Celebration Brass Band, Moon Dogs, and World Dance, and theatrical shows by the internationally acclaimed Spybird Theater and some of the region’s talented young actors who are nurtured at the New England Youth Theater.
Finally, ARTstravaganza is hosting Arts After Dark in places where the art and partying do not end when Gallery Walk closes. Late-night events scheduled include “Mad Max After Dark” at Metropolis, live jazz at The Lounge, a Creative Convergence Cabaret at 118 Elliot St., an “Our Bodies Our Myths” poetry performance at Hooker-Dunham Theater & Gallery, and storytelling, dance parties, music in the streets, and more.