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Lauren Paulet

Cynthia Parker-Houghton works on one of the Brattleboro Words Trail map murals.

The Arts

Countdown to Brattleboro Words Trail starts with BMAC exhibit

For more information on the Words Trail, visit BrattleboroWords.org.

BRATTLEBORO—The countdown to the launch of the Brattleboro Words Trail begins Saturday, Oct. 24, at the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center (BMAC).

Cynthia Parker-Houghton’s “Our Storied Landscape: Revealing the Brattleboro Words Trail” presents the clay murals and wall maps commissioned to represent the project.

The maps will be unveiled as part of BMAC’s fall/winter exhibits. A limited opening is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 24, with viewings available during normal museum hours until the close of the exhibit on Feb. 14, 2021.

The Words Trail is a production of the Brattleboro Words Project, a community-wide effort backed by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).

The Trail consists of audio-based tours of people and places significant to the history of words in the region, to be featured in an online platform and app, with a printed companion map designed by Parker-Houghton based on the large exhibition murals on display.

Visitors to the museum from Oct. 24 to Nov. 18 will be able to view Parker-Houghton’s work up close, as well as sample a representative audio segment from a site on the Trail.

The exhibition will assume greater aural dimensions when the Brattleboro Words Trail goes live on Thursday, Nov. 19, with an opening event from 4 to 7 p.m. at BMAC. From that day, everyone will be able to access the full array of Trail stories online and on the app and find printed versions of the map at select locations in the greater Brattleboro area.

During December’s Gallery Walk, on Dec. 4, from 3 to 8 p.m., the Project and 118 Elliot will host a first exhibit of Brattleboro daughter and World War I nurse Marion McCune Rice’s original photos and letters from France.

Rice’s nephew, Stephen Hooper, curates the 118 Elliot Gallery exhibit and narrates an audio story pinned to her family home on Chestnut Hill on the Brattleboro Word’s Trail.

Limited, first-run copies of Print Town: Brattleboro’s Legacy of Words (also developed by the Brattleboro Words Project), and a special collector’s edition of the map, will be available for sale at the event.

Parker-Houghton, who is also the lead designer at Natalie Blake Studios, “writes the landscape” with her unique exhibition murals comprising 10 hand-carved clay tiles. The larger Windham County mural depicts places linked to audio stories for self-guided biking and driving tours starting in Brattleboro, including sites in New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

A smaller mural represents the Trail’s Downtown Brattleboro Walking Tour, which includes an initial 34 sites. The murals and hand-carved “portrait medallions,” featuring eight people on the Trail, have been digitized to create an attractive physical companion map for the audio Trail.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #584 (Wednesday, October 21, 2020). This story appeared on page B1.

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