Home is Where the Art Is

Home is Where the Art Is
by Diane Scolaro

The Green Mountain State is home to theaters, art galleries, craft studios, festivals, art educational centers, and even art trails! With such a variety of arts and culture in Vermont, from circus arts to Shakespeare, Vermont travelers will find art experiences that appeal to all ages and interests.

Feeling Crafty?
Try your hand at art with a painting class or workshop led by award-winning artist Barbara J. Pafume at Four Seasons Studios (www.art-in-vermont.com) in Cambridge. Learn new skills or refine existing talents as you paint the rural Northern Vermont landscape in your choice of watercolor, oil, acrylic or pastel. Lodging packages are also available.
A commercial art gallery, a community art museum and an art school all await you in the town of Chester at the Vermont Institute of Contemporary Arts (www.VTica.org). See live performances, take an instructional art class, or view and collect modern Vermont artworks at this inaugural and comprehensive center for the arts in south central Vermont.

A Haven for Theater-Goers
Performances at the New England Center for Circus Arts (www.necenterforcircusarts.org) in Brattleboro is a delightful twist in theater going, with student and professional trapezists, tumblers, jugglers, wire walkers and more!

A more traditional theater style, the Sandglass Theater (www.sandglasstheater.org) in Putney is an internationally-known theater company that combines puppets with music, actors and visual imagery.  Their 60-seat renovated barn theater is home to performances for both adult and young audiences.

A fixture in Southwestern Vermont, the Dorset Theatre Festival (www.dorsettheatrefestival.org) is a launch pad for acclaimed plays and playwrights. With shows ranging from classics, to Agatha Christie mysteries, to family programming, and with gallery and art exhibits, this venue fulfills many art and theater interests.

In Central Vermont, Lost Nation Theater (www.lostnationtheater.org) is hailed as "One of the Best Regional Theaters in America" by NYC Drama League. Productions of contemporary plays, classics, and original works take place in the intimate setting of Montpelier’s City Hall Arts Center.

Shakespeare in the Park, part of the Vermont Shakespeare Company (www.vermontshakespeare.org)  takes place every summer in The Champlain Islands at Knight Point State Park in North Hero, so travelers to the Northern region of Vermont have much ado about the arts!

For the Art Collector
A great place to start is the Vermont Craft Council’s annual statewide Open Studio Weekend, May 28-29, 2011 (www.vermontcrafts.com).  Every Memorial Day Weekend, more than 200 craftspeople open their studios to the public. These places of production and inspiration are located in downtowns as well as at the ends of dirt roads. Wherever their locations, they are exciting places to visit to meet artists and see them in action.

Vermont State Craft Centers such as the Artisans Hand Craft Gallery (www.artisanshand.com) in Montpelier, showcase the quality, uniqueness and variety of crafts produced in the Green Mountain State.  The designation of a Vermont State Craft Center is granted by the Vermont State Craft Center Overview Commission, appointed by the Governor. Visit the website to find all the state designated craft education centers and galleries (www.vermontcraftcenters.com).

Hit the Road....to Art and Culture.
Travel Vermont's byways (www.vermont-byways.us), six designated routes that range from 30 to over 400 miles in length, dotted with historic sites, museums, galleries, artisan studios and cultural experiences. Also, public arts trails like the Vermont Marble Trail and the Art in State Buildings Trail both  have on-line interactive maps, complete with driving directions, pictures, and descriptive text of each location (www.vermontartscouncil.org).

Open yourself to a Vermont art experience, whether it's catching a show, visiting a museum, or bringing home a one-of-a-kind craft item. Remember, home is where the “art” is, and we're confident the Vermont art scene, with its diverse offerings, will touch your heart and give you a reason to return, season after season, year after year.

Diane Scolaro is the Communications & Development Director for the Vermont Arts Council.