BRATTLEBORO — The Arts Council of Windham County (ACWC) recently announced the grantees for this year's Brattleboro Town Arts Fund (TAF) program. Ten community-focused creative projects were selected from a competitive field of proposals received in this third year of the TAF program.
According to a news release, TAF “promotes 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's grant program continues a shift that ACWC made in 2021 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic by soliciting proposals for low-cost, short-term creative projects that can have an immediate impact in the community.
“We saw so many amazing proposals this year - projects seeking to build community and connection, reach out across culture and experience, and inspire joy and healing through creative practice,” ACWC chair and vice-chair Sharon Fantl and Chrissy Lee said in a news release. “We're thrilled to support this year's grantees and to see new works, conversations, and visions emerge from these initiatives.”
The 2022 TAF grantees are:
• ArtLords Mural at Brattleboro Foodworks (Artlords): A collective of mural painters from Afghanistan have resettled in Brattleboro after fleeing the Taliban. Known as the “ArtLords,” these five young artists are looking to continue their craft and paint murals on walls around their new home of Brattleboro.
One such project is to paint a large mural on the exterior of the Foodworks building on Canal Street, in the neighborhood where many Afghan families have resettled. The mural design will be related to food and will celebrate Vermont's agriculture. This grant is cosponsored by Downtown Brattleboro Alliance.
• Chinese Five Elements through Tai Chi and Cooking (Cai Xi): Explore Chinese Five Elements - fire, earth, metal, water, and wood - through tai chi and Five Animal Qigong movement and cooking. Join with Artist/Chef Cai Xi to hold your body and mind in the center of your heart, practicing tai chi movement every Friday, 9 to 10 a.m., on the Brattleboro Common, starting August 12. On rainy days, it will be on Zoom. Prepare meals with Cai's family recipes from 5 to 7 p.m. on Sept. 6, Oct. 4, and Nov. 1, on Zoom. For more information on both events, contact [email protected].
• An Evening of Afghan Film, Food, and Dialogue (Epsilon Spires): Join Epsilon Spires and the ArtLords for a cross-cultural evening, exploring Afghan art and culture under the stars. The event will feature an exquisite Afghan film, followed by a community discussion and Afghan foods.
• Sonic Blanket (Jonathan Gitelson): Sonic Blanket is a 15-minute sound collage by Brattleboro artists Jonathan Gitelson, Weston Olencki, and Diana Whitney; it is broadcast nightly at midnight on WVEW-FM. This project also includes community-based art installations, art making workshops, radio listening parties, and more. More information at sonicblanket.org.
• Ability Arts (River Gallery School): River Gallery School's Ability Arts program offers educational and entrepreneurial art experiences for disabled individuals in Windham County. The program provides classes to youth and adults with physical or developmental disabilities to make art and create community.
• Regenerations: Reckoning with Radioactivity (Megan Buchanan): This interdisciplinary performance project of poetry, dance, projection, and live music explores the issue of spent radioactive fuel left behind by Vermont Yankee in Vernon and in many other sites throughout the world. This project will be in residency at BMAC beginning mid-October 2022 through January 2023, with Sunday public creation/work sessions with collaborators onsite in the main gallery.
• Krystal Puppeteers (Kenya) All School Show (Sandglass Theater): Sandglass Theater's Puppets in the Green Mountains Festival presents Krystal Puppeteers' Tears By The River, a musical folktale about courage addressing modern-day themes of migration and climate change. Krystal Puppeteers sing, drum, puppeteer, and dance in this “vibrant and joyous” performance, which celebrates the oral traditions of Africa.
• Thrival (Shea Witzberger): Using community conversations from 2020's Community Safety Review and beyond, this public art project will add story and sound and visual form to Brattleboro area residents' dreams for a thriving, safe community.
• Young Filmmakers Apprenticeship (The Vermont Suitcase Company): Vermont Suitcase Films is creating two mentored positions in their upcoming film project. Two New England Youth Theater students and alumni, Django Grace and Esther Martel, will join as production assistants and learn about the profession by being on set and by working with adult mentors.
• Emancipation: Celebrating Ancestors, Land, and Self (William Forchion): Emancipation is an interactive solo theatrical experience crafted of song, chant, poetry and ritual incantation that draws on African and African-American storytelling traditions, as well as the ancestral stories and lived experience of creator and performer William Forchion. In addition to the performance of Emancipation, slated for late summer 2022, William Forchion will offer a community storyweaving workshop that will guide participants in creating their own stories.
ACWC says it “is excited to see these projects take shape and grateful for the energy of local artists and organizations and the investment in the arts supported by the people and Town of Brattleboro. Updates about TAF projects and opportunities can be found at artswindhamcounty.org/taf and @artswindhamcounty on Facebook and Instagram.