Town Arts Fund awards second round of grants

BRATTLEBORO — The Arts Council of Windham County (ACWC) has announced the second round of grantees for this year's Brattleboro Town Arts Fund program. Nine community-focused creative initiatives were selected from a competitive field of proposals received in this second round of funding this year.

In a news release, TAF members describe the group as promoting “the development and presentation of creative projects that contribute positively to the greater community and to the vibrancy and diversity of Brattleboro's arts and cultural landscape.”

This year, in response to the COVID-19 crisis, TAF has solicited proposals for low-cost, short-term creative projects that, according to the news release, “aim to build connections, support, solidarity, and solace for those most impacted by social isolation in these pandemic times.”

Grant awards are set at $1,000, and projects must be completed within 90 days of when funds are received.

“The selected projects embody TAF's mission and values, but also respond to this season we're entering, when safe, in-person gathering is possible and people are seeking creative ways to reconnect, grieve, laugh, and share joy together,” ACWC chair and vice-chair Sharon Fantl and Chrissy Lee said.

TAF is guided by a community advisory committee composed of artists, teachers, arts administrators, and other community members.

Following are the grant recipients:

• Adventures with Super Bee: Project Laugh Leaves & Tickle Grass (Cyndal Ellis): An interactive dance/theater show for young children and their families, to be held outdoors, picnic-style.

“Laughter has mysteriously gone missing! Join Super Bee and her friends on a whimsical journey to solve the mystery and restore laughter to the world,” the artist says in her description. “Leading up to and following the show, take part in the online Local Laugh Challenge by posting jokes or games that give you the giggles. Your jokes may be selected and performed at the live event.”

The event takes place on Saturday, June 19, at 4 p.m., at the Brattleboro Town Common. Rain date is Sunday, June 20.

• Bollywood Night at Backlot Cinema (Epsilon Spires, On Friday, Aug. 27, Epsilon Spires presents a free, socially distanced outdoor screening of the Bollywood film Ship of Theseus (2012, 150 min.). The film centers on connections between an experimental photographer, an ailing monk, and a young stockbroker to explore identity, justice, beauty, and the meaning of life and death.

The film will be guest-curated and introduced live by Vidhi Salla, host of Vidhi's Bollywood Jukebox on Brattleboro Community Radio, WVEW 107.7 FM. Cuisine will be available from Shital's Vegetarian Indian Food of West Dover.

The film begins at 7:30 p.m., and will be made available to watch online after the event for those unable to attend.

Brattleboro Artivist Movement (BAM) Project (Jonas Fricke, Saturn Ladyheart Millner, SUSU Healing Collective): Inspired by a virtual and live “CommUNITY Ritual” hosted by SUSU and the Root Social Justice Center in 2020, this project will create a large mural on fabric, accompanied by custom-created flags, signs, and banners.

The artists intend these elements to “amplify the voices of BIPOC activists and community members who shared their voices as part of the previous event.”

The project “will build spirit, and energize future actions and events. The mural and banners will serve as central resources for a SUSU-organized event in July/August 2021, and will be publicly displayed in venues around Brattleboro (including Zephyr Designs), as well as featured in the September Gallery Walk event.”

The New Normal Brass Ensemble (Riley Goodemote): “The New Normal Brass Ensemble invites you to enjoy fresh, artful brass music in unexpected places this summer. Online and in downtown Brattleboro, the brass quartet will be performing open-air, guerrilla chamber music concerts for all to listen.”

• Community Mural Project (Nina Nabizadeh, Emily Tatro): Co-sponsored by the Downtown Brattleboro Alliance, this project envisions the creation of a community mural that expresses “what makes Brattleboro a special place.”

The mural is proposed for the High-Grove parking lot (pending town approval), alongside the existing AIDS Quilt mural.

“Share your ideas about what makes Brattleboro Brattleboro, and/or help paint the mural,” the grant recipients write, noting that the project is “open to participation from people of all ages and abilities” and “will culminate in a community celebration with music and food.”

• Songs From Tin Pan Alley (Susan Rosano, Green Mountain Strummers): The Green Mountain Strummers will offer a singalong ukulele concert with songs from the Great American Songbook. “Audiences can share in the joy of singing together and learning familiar songs from the past,” the group writes.

Three outdoor concerts will be performed for three senior audiences and residences in the area.

• Kindred Spirits (Erin Scaggs, Zach Weinberg): The town's community of young people has lost a long list of bright, beloved friends in recent years. This project aims to create a work of art and physical space for those in our community experiencing grief and the loss of family and friends, as well as those impacted by mental illness, homelessness, and isolation.

Local metal artist Zach Weinberg will draw on input and words from community members to create a decorative bench that will be installed in public space. It will offer “a sacred space for folks to sit with grief and support others who may be struggling,” the grant recipients write.

Main Street Flea@Gallery Walk (Julia Tadlock, KariLyn McLellan; Main Street Flea is a local makers market and collective of largely young makers and craftspeople. On the first Friday of the month, from May through October, up to 40 vendors will set up on the west side of Harmony Parking Lot to sell their wares as part of Downtown Brattleboro Alliance's Gallery Walk.

These monthly markets will “showcase the vibrancy of the local arts community and provide an accessible venue for artisans to show and sell their work,” the grant recipients write. “TAF funding will support the cost of producing this series of events and help to keep vendor fees to a minimum.”

• Petal It Forward (Vermont Center for Photography): Vermont Center for Photography has selected a group of local fine art photographers to create works that center around the theme of flowers, to be exhibited for and given to seniors living in local care facilities.

Each elder living at Holton Home and Bradley House in Brattleboro will be able to choose a print created by a local photographer. The project will also support three to five such artists by sharing their work within the community.

Due to the volume of applications received in the first two rounds of awards this year, ACWC will not be accepting additional TAF applications this spring. The application process for next year's grant program will open in the fall of 2021.

Subscribe to the newsletter for weekly updates