Museum marks half a century with a gala and community party

BRATTLEBORO — The Brattleboro Museum & Art Center (BMAC) will celebrate its first half-century with a 50th Anniversary Gala and a free day-long BMAC Birthday Bash.

The festivities are generously sponsored by Brattleboro Savings & Loan, The Richards Group, and Trust Company of Vermont.

The Gala will be held at BMAC on Friday, Sept. 9, from 6 to 10 p.m. The evening will include cocktails, appetizers, dinner, dessert, and a champagne toast to the next 50 years. There will be live music by Bill Conley & Friends before dinner and “Dancing Under the Stars” with DJ Keith Marks afterward.

The event will be catered by Wheelhouse Farm of Amherst, Mass., with beverages provided by Saxtons River Distillery of Brattleboro. The celebration will include a raffle drawing for a Paris getaway, a rare magnum of Screaming Eagle's 2018 “The Flight,” and an oil painting by Vermont artist Michael Abrams.

All proceeds from the Gala will benefit BMAC, with two ticketing options available: $250 for a Gala ticket, which includes access to the entire event, including the dance party with DJ Keith Marks and open bar; or $50 for a “Dancing Under the Stars” ticket, which includes the dance party, late-night bites, and one complimentary drink. Attire is black-tie optional. COVID-19 vaccination is required.

The Sept. 10 BMAC Birthday Bash is a day-long community celebration, free and open to all. The party will take place in the galleries and on the grounds of the museum from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. It will feature live music, art workshops and demonstrations, birthday cupcakes, Ben & Jerry's ice cream, and a beer garden hosted by Beer Naked Brewery and Snow Republic Brewery.

Musicians slated to perform in the museum's sculpture garden include The Eugene Uman Trio, Samirah Evans, The Sweetback Sisters, Burlington-based African/hip-hop group A2VT, and the The Vermont Jazz Center Sextet.

Local artists, including Charlie Hunter, Aaron Foster, Marta Bernbaum, David Eichelberger, and Daniel Chiaccio will demonstrate plein air painting, guitar making, glass, ceramics, screen printing, and more. Participants of all ages can have fun with giant bubbles, sidewalk chalk, face painting, lawn games, and caricatures.

First Proof Press will print custom 50th birthday tote bags on site. Brooks Memorial Library will offer miniature book-making and a poetry wall, and River Gallery School will lead a collaborative art project in the Community Sculpture Garden.

BMAC was founded in 1972 by two groups of Brattleboro citizens committed to saving their town's historic train station from the wrecking ball. One group sought to transform the former Union Station into a museum of local history, the other into a center for art classes and exhibitions. They agreed to work together, and the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center was born.

Following months of laborious cleaning and renovation done by scores of volunteers, BMAC opened its doors to the public on Sept. 10, 1972. One side of the former train station lobby contained display cases featuring historical artifacts, the other an exhibition of new artwork by Wolf Kahn, David Rohn, and other artists with local ties.

Today, BMAC is a non-collecting contemporary art museum and an anchor of southern Vermont's cultural life. Each year, the museum presents 15 to 20 exhibitions, 60 to 70 public programs, and extensive educational offerings developed in partnership with area schools and service organizations. For more information, call 802-257-0124 or visit

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