Calendar: Day to Day

June 1: West River Trail Run, 11.5 miles, starts South Londonderry, vermontvacation.com. 1: Artist Panel: Art and the Mystery of Life, Vermont Institute of Contemporary Arts, Chester, 7p, vtica.org. 5-9: Slow Living Summit, conference focused on developing supportive communities, all day, slowlivingsummit.org. 6-9: Roots on the River Music Festival, Bellows Falls, rootsontheriver.com. 7: Brattleboro Gallery Walk, 5:30p, gallerywalk.org. 7: First Friday events in Bennington, betterbennington.com. 7-9: Strolling of the Heifers Weekend. 10a on June 8 Heifers stroll down Main Street in Brattleboro. Following the parade will be an all-day Slow Living Expo. Weekend features bicycle tours, street festival, farmer’s breakfast, more, strollingoftheheifers.com. 8-9: 27th Manchester Antique & Classic Car Show, fun for the whole family, Dorr Farm, 8a-3p daily, visitmanchestervt.com. 9: Tour de Heifer Cycling Tours, Southeastern Vermont, strollingoftheheifers.com. 9-10: Vermont Days, free admission to all state-owned historic sites and day-use sites in the state, historicsites.vermont.gov. 13-17: Vietnam Veterans Memorial Moving Wall, Mount Snow’s Howe Farm, Route 100, visitvermont.com. 14: Jazz Series: Mo Jazz Redo, at Wilmington’s Mo Jazz Café, 8p, visitvermont.com. 14: Art and Symbols with Ami Ronnberg, VTica, Chester, 7p, vtica.org. 15: Pitchin’ for Families Bean Bag Tournament, West River Park, Brattleboro, fundraiser for Northeastern Family Institute, for more write LydiaMahan@nafi.com. 20-23: Wanderlust festival of yoga, music and more, all day, stratton.com. 21: Dairy Day, with celebrations at the Bellows Falls Farmers Market, all day, vermonttravelplanner.com. 21: Summer Solstice Street Fest, Main Street in Manchester, 6-9p, visitmanchestervt.com. 22: Bennington Community Natural Health and Food Show, 9a-5p, First Baptist Church, betterbennington.com. 22: Burlington Wine and Food Festival, Waterfront Park, burlingtonwineandfoodfestival.com. 22: Believer in Waitsfield Burlington Ensemble concert, Waitsfield, 7p, burlingtonensemble.com. 22-23: Music in the Meadow Race for the Cure Benefit, Motel in the Meadow, Chester, chestervermont.org. 22-23: Grafton Food Festival, Grafton Inn, graftonfoodfestival.com. 28-Oct. 20: “Red Grooms: What’s the Ruckus?” exhibit, Brattleboro Museum & Art Center, brattleboromuseum.org. 29: Okemo Bicycle Hill Climb at Okemo Mountain Resort, all day, Ludlow, okemo.com. 28-July 1: Hills Alive!, world-class stage productions, concerts, play readings, and more, throughout Southern Vermont, visitmanchestervt.com. 29: North Hill, New Plants, New Voices, 18th annual summer symposium on new plants, ideas, and upcoming generation of gardeners, all day, Mount Snow, West Dover, northhillgarden.com. 29: Culinary and Medicinal Herbs class from Second Nature Herb Farm and Horticultural Services, 10a-noon, Wells, 802-645-9346. 29-30: Westminster Garden Tour, 10a-3p each day. Features gardens of Mary and Gordon Hayward, nationally known garden designer, writer, lecturer. Four other Westminster gardens on the tour, westminstercares.org. July All month: Midnight Madness in Bennington, betterbennington.com. TBA: High-bush blueberry picking, grass fed beef, pork, maple syrup, organic seedlings and vegetables for sale, Two Dog Farm, Danby, twodogfarmvt.com. 1,...

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A group effort
Jun22

A group effort

Chester looks to promote itself as an ‘arts destination’   Arts- and culture-related organizations and businesses in Chester have strong allies in several of their neighbors who’ve banded together to promote the town as a top arts and culture draw. ArtUp!, a collaborative launched here in the fall of 2012, is working toward leveraging Chester’s strengths as a top arts destination, and giving Brattleboro and Burlington a run for their money among visitors making travel plans. ArtUp!’s founding members are Abby Raeder and Robert Sarly of the Vermont Institute of Contemporary Arts [Vtica.org], Jessie and Michael Alon of DaVallia Arts and Accents [thedavallia.com], and Katherine Henry and Harry Hudson of Atelier Annex [atelierannex.com]. According to Sarly, Chester has always been a vibrant community, and it’s unfortunate that travelers often see only a small portion of the town when traveling Route 103 through the historic Stone Village. “Just {1/4} mile off Route 103 lies Chester’s second historic district, the Village Green. If you’ve been to the Village Green, you know why Chester’s slogan is, ’The Vermont you’ve been hoping to find,’” Sarly said. ArtUp! notes that Vermont ranks in the top 10 for the number of visual artists per capita — boasting an estimated 750 contemporary artists — and Chester is home to more independent galleries than any of nearby 14 towns, including Manchester, Grafton, Bellows Falls, and Ludlow. “We don’t have to get these people (artists) here; they’re already here,” Sarly says. ArtUp!’s founders created a brochure to help residents and tourists more reliably find fine arts and crafts happenings in Chester. They also worked up an advertising budget and are sharing costs to attract visitors to town and Chester’s arts...

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Calendar: Garden Tours

Bennington Arts Guild 103 South St., Bennington benningtonartsguild.org, 802-447-0388 Thru June 3: New Works by BAG members show. June 7-July 1: Zentangle-inspired art in 2D & 3D. July 29: Contemporary ceramics & stoneware. Aug 2-Sept 2: Group show featuring exquisite glass works, jewelry and other items fashioned from recycled zippers and vintage fabrics and...

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Photo: Best Little Quilt Show

Our nationally and internationally award-winning quilters have shown their works in major shows and museums, and have had attention lavished on them in the glossies. Now, as the quilt show moves from Jamaica to Brattleboro for the first time, you can enjoy this rare opportunity to admire these exciting works during Strolling of the Heifers weekend.

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Summertime is garden time
Jun22

Summertime is garden time

Summertime garden tours Cider Hill Art Gallery & Gardens June 14, July 15, ciderhillgardens.com Visit for the gardens and the art: 7 painters, all about peonys. Westminster Cares Annual Garden Tour June 29-30, 10-3p 802-722-3607, westminstercares.org. See 5 beautiful gardens. Prices are $15.00 and 2 for $25.00 (rain or shine). New Plants New Voices North Hill Annual Summer Symposium June 29, 8:30-4:30p Northhillgarden.com 18th annual summer symposium with this year’s theme about new plants, new ideas to engage a new and upcoming generation of gardeners. A visit to the garden at North Hill is included in enrollment. Tunes n’ Blooms North Forte Gardens July 20, 4-6 rain date July 21 802 464-5872, 464-8179 or 464-7230 Wander the spectacular Forte gardens in Wilmington, which features waterfalls, walkways and Vermont flora. Puppets in Paradise Sept. 7-8 10-4p Sandglasstheater.org Two afternoons of puppetry and performance in the enchanted setting of landscape architects Gordon and Mary Hayward’s gardens. Food and...

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Rock-solid accolades
Jun22

Rock-solid accolades

Rock-solid accolades Stone house wins top honor from design site Terrigenous Landscape Architecture of Chester, owned by Scott Wunderle, is winner of the Best of Houzz Community Design award for 2013. The firm won for its design of a local outbuilding: a coop made from local stone and extruded glass rods. Wunderle says he undertook the work as a private challenge and was inspired by Chester’s Stone Village, listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The project leverages historic lime mortar, found objects, and the skills of local craftspeople. Houzz is a Palo Alto, Calif.,-based online community founded in 2009, devoted to architecture, interior design and decorating, landscape design and home improvement. Its design award is based on images chosen as the most popular among the company’s millions of members. That global stamp of approval struck Wunderle as a “nice twist” for a modest project: “I work at many different scales and materials and I view this project as an extension of the unique Vermont landscape,” he...

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Reaching for the stars
Jun22

Reaching for the stars

Nurturing the Arts: Dina Janis, Theater: Reaching for the stars By Allison Teague Dorset, in Bennington County, has nurtured performance theater since 1927, when residents staged a three-act play, “39 East,” in the Town Hall. It was received with such great enthusiasm that it spun out the Dorset Players, and a legend was born. Two years later the community raised funds for a larger space, the Dorset Playhouse. Let’s leap ahead, first to the 1970s, when Jill Charles and John Nassivera founded the Dorset Theatre Festival. DTF and the Dorset Players shared the playhouse, and by and by the community called for a serious upgrade, dreaming of siting a proper regional theater. In 1999 that’s what took shape: a $3 million restoration and expansion project that was completed in 2001. Now enter Dina Janis, Dorset Theatre Festival’s artistic director hired in 2009 to carry the work still further into the future. “When I came on board, they had been trying to live up to the new theater. It was quite a venue with full studios and beautiful seating. But no one had really been able to take it forward. It had been a period of six or seven years before finding someone to take over. They were in trouble,” she recalls. Janis lived in Dorset, was raising a family, and had been teaching at Bennington College’s drama department for 10 years. Her work with some of Broadway’s top writers, directors, and actors made her the DTF’s ideal candidate to elevate it into the ranks of world-class theater. It helps that she knows Vermont audiences. It helps more that she’s cultivated such striking, and effective, professional connections: Count among them the actors Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ellen Burstyn, Cusi Cram, José Rivera, Al Pacino, and Harvey Keitel. As a director, she’s intimately familiar with the plays of Theresa Rebeck, Sherry Kramer, Stephen Adly Guirgis, George Plimpton, and so many others. She was courted for the post for what the DTF said at the time was her breadth and depth of fresh air, energy, and context that lived up to the promise of state-of-the-art theater in Dorset. And she came on board familiar with the festival’s challenges — and with a big idea that would leverage her friendship with playwright Theresa Rebeck, who’d created and co-produced, with Steven Spielberg, the NBC musical-drama television series “Smash.” “[Rebeck] is one of the most successful American woman playwrights, and she thought I could really bring [Dorset] up to the level of a Williamstown [Mass.] or Berkshire theatre festival,” Janis said. So the two persuaded talent on Rebeck’s level to come up. The first year, DTF...

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Tour open studios: Artists at work, art for sale
Jun22

Tour open studios: Artists at work, art for sale

Tour open studios: Artists at work, art for sale 21st Rock River Artists’ Studio Tour July 20-21, 10-6p. Rock River Artists, a collective of fine art and craft professionals, offers chance to win a free weekend for two in a charming cabin along the Rock River in South Newfane, coinciding with 21st annual Rock River Artists’ Open Studio Tour. Winners get two-night stay with breakfast in a guest cabin on grounds belonging to nationally acclaimed photographer Christine Triebert, a founding member of the Rock River Artists. Visit 16 artists’ studios, homes, and working environments and see it all happen. Many studios tucked away from the road, with lush gardens, hilltop views, river frontage, and unique rural settings. Details for weekend for two and studio tour at RockRiverArtists.com. Winners notified July 1. 7th Annual Readsboro Arts Festival  Sept. 21. From 10a-4p. Artists and craftspeople of Southern Vermont, performances by local musicians, art activities for all ages. Free. Readsboro Central School, 301 Phelps Lane. Call 802-423-7706, info.readsboroarts@gmail.com. Brattleboro-West Arts Studio Tour Sept. 28-29. From 10a-5p. Fifteen or so of possibly the most eclectic group of artists ever to share a six-mile radius. Where else can you watch a weathervane maker, a rug braider, a woodcarver, and a stone mason practice their craft alongside artists who work with hand-dyed silks, colored porcelain, blown and fused glass, and locally harvested hardwoods? And that’s before you get to the landscape artists, portraitists, and abstract painters. The artists all live along the Whetstone Brook watershed, in the villages of West Brattleboro and Marlboro. For information, visit Brattleboro-westarts.com. Vermont Open Studios Weekend (Oct. 5-6) River Valley Artisans Tour Oct. 12-13. From 10a-4p. Opening reception Friday, Oct. 11, 7-9p. Westmoreland Town Hall, Route 63, Westmoreland, N.H. View a sampling of artists’ work on the tour. Travel scenic back roads of Southern New Hampshire in the Connecticut River Valley during peak foliage season while enjoying the work of local artists and artisans in their studios. Self-guided tour encompasses Chesterfield, Spofford, Walpole and Westmoreland. Info Rivervalleyartisans.com. 35th Anniversary Putney Craft Tour Nov. 29-30; Dec. 1. From 10a-5p. Twenty-eight artists and craftspeople in their studios in the Putney area. Blacksmiths, glass blowers, potters, jewelers, weavers, woodworkers, artisan cheesemakers, invite visitors to discover, ask questions, sip hot cider and find that one-of-a-kind gift. Start at the Putney Inn, where a preview exhibit showcases works of the artists on tour. Maps, coffee, restrooms, too. Info visit putneycrafts.com. Walpole Artisan Tour Nov. 29-30; Dec. 1. Wed-Sat 10a-5p; Sun 11a-3p. Sponsored by Walpole Artisans Cooperative. Featuring studio demonstrations throughout Bellows Falls, Walpole, and Alstead, N.H. Start at the Walpole Artisans Cooperative Gallery, 52 Main...

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Photos: Plein Aire

Painting en plein air means painting outdoors while capturing the immediacy of the subject at hand under changing light and weather conditions. Over the course of the five-day Plein Air Vermont painting competition, 41 juried artists from as far away as Florida, Missouri, and Nova Scotia, Canada will find captivating scenes in the towns, villages, forests and fields in Manchester, Bennington, and everywhere between. The public is invited to seek out the artists as they create their visions of Vermont on paper and canvas. The paintings will go on exhibit at the Bennington Center for the Arts, beginning with an Opening Reception at 7pm Saturday, Sept 7th. The exhibit will continue on Sunday with the Grand Exhibit and Awards Presentation. Many of the paintings will remain on exhibit at the Bennington Center for the Arts through December...

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Hot glass in cool Vermont
Jun22

Hot glass in cool Vermont

Hot glass in cool Vermont By Joyce Marcel If we’re going to talk about art glass, we might as well begin with Aldous Huxley. In “The Doors of Perception,” Huxley’s 1954 book on his mescaline experience, he theorizes that mankind’s “otherwise inexplicable passion for gems” might arise because precious stones “bear a faint resemblance to the glowing marvels seen with the inner eye of the visionary.” And if you can’t have gemstones, he suggests, colored or stained glass makes a lovely surrogate.   In other words, the sparkling, translucent, glistening, light-reflecting, highly colored and deeply emotional properties of glass refer, in some buried (or not so buried) way, to a “magical and transporting” primal emotion that we all can respond to. So many glass artists make their home in Windham County — about 25 — that you might think that all of us who live close to them are by now part visionary ourselves — or at least have gotten a contact high. Glass artists are people who have helplessly fallen in love with their medium. “I fell in love with glass 26 years ago,” said Brattleboro’s gifted glass artist and powerhouse marketer Randi Solin of Solinglass. Solin’s work is in the permanent collections of the White House and the American embassies in Algeria, Guinea, Praia, Guatemala, Paraguay and Mauritania. She is represented by about 75 galleries nationwide. Among her recent achievements, she won Best of Show at the Crafts Alliance in Chautauqua, N.Y. She also recently exhibited with the Architectural Digest Home show in New York City. “Glass seduced me with its liquid light, its texture and its heat,” Solin said. “Over time, I continued to remain interested due to the challenge. I always say, ’Glass takes advantage of an unfocused mind.’ I feel the struggle constantly engaging. I guess if I ever reach perfection I will stop — but for now the battle goes on.” Besides its visionary aspect, glassblowing is also sensual. Here’s how Putney’s Robert Burch of Brandywine Glassworks, a Vermont glassblower for more than 30 years, talks about his love affair with glass. “I was down in North Carolina, walking through the woods one night, and I walked by a tiny cabin. There was this roar coming out of it. So I wandered in and there was this guy blowing a glass bowl. I had walked in just as he was spinning it out. You use centrifugal force and spin the rod really quickly and the glass opens up. At that particular moment, the glass is really, really liquid. It’s flowing, it’s moving, it looks like a manta ray. It has incredible grace, a...

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A country store and so much more
Jun22

A country store and so much more

A country store and so much more West Townshend builds community by embracing multiple uses — including arts and music — for a revitalized general store The West River Community Project is dedicated to preserving and promoting the West River heritage in order to sustain a healthy future full of music, the arts, and local agriculture. It’s a work very happily in progress. The West Townshend Country Store, at 6573 Route 30, is up and running: the project-built cob oven is turning out around 45 pizzas every Friday night; its café is serving light, local-product meals on weekends; and its thrift store is a treasure trove of second-hand clothes, housewares, and bric-a-brac. Café walls showcase the works of local artists, usually in month-long exhibits. Concerts in the space pulse with vintage bluegrass and not-so-vintage everything else. And, of course, there’s even a post office. All the more impressive is that this revitalization of West Townshend has taken place only in the past three years. Largely the initial vision of West Townshend farmer, artist, mother, and board president Clare Adams, the project is breathing new life into what used to be a handsome general store but since its construction in 1848 was left to its own devices, facing flames and disrepair. Now with restoration and a bold new plan, its offerings radiate enthusiasm where it’s sorely needed in the West River community. The project leases it at a steal — $5 a year for 20 years — from its new owner, an angel if there ever was one. Also credit man for all seasons Robert DuGrenier, a glass blower, farmer, and the father of a young son. Next week DuGrenier begins designing new panels for the elevators in The (Paris) Hôtel Ritz. He’s also helping turn out his family’s Taft Hill Farm products on Route 30, and is president of the Townshend Historical Society. Adams and DuGrenier speak of The West River Community Project as a journey on the way to drawing out, preserving, and building on a sense of place for the West Townshend community. “We were in danger of losing the even the post office,” says Adams. That was the turning point for her. Something had to be done. Board vice president DuGrenier adds, “A sense of place is absolutely crucial” to community. And so they went to work. The village had served as a hub for Jamaica, Wardsboro, Windham, and Townshend, and just might fill that role again. Adams says there’s potential to connect to about 10,000 residents, plus drivers on busy Route 30. Many volunteers are backing this effort, as is an eight-member board of professionals...

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Calendar: Music and Theater

Music and Theater   Barnaby’s Presents 34 Meeting House Rd., Rockingham Hill Farm, Rockingham barnabyspresents.com, 802-376-8802 June 27-30: Rockinghill Music Festival 2013, see website for lineup. Bellows Falls Opera House 7 Centennial Square, Rockingham bfoperahouse.com, 802-463-3964 May 25-26: Circus Terrificus, styled on Cirque du Soleil, featuring aerial artists; scholarship fundraiser. Bennington Center for the Arts 44 Gypsy Lane, Bennington thebennington.org, 802-442-7158 June 28: Classical pianist Katherine Chi, first female winner of Honens International Piano Competition, 8p. July 12: Contemporary Chamber music from Cordis, 8p. July 27: Vance Gilbert presents Gypsy swing, 8p. Aug 3: Graceful Harmonies from Pearl and the Band, 8p. Aug 17: Samite presents African rhythms and smooth vocals, 8p. Brattleboro Music Center 38 Walnut St., Brattleboro bmcvt.org, 802-257-4523 June 9: Student String Orchestras at the River Garden, Brattleboro. June 22: The Brattleboro Concert Choir presents Faure’s Requiem and Charpentier’s Te Deum at the Persons Auditorium at Marlboro College, 8p. July 13-14: Northern Roots Weekend, with intensive teaching workshops in traditional instruments. Also features pub- and ballad-style singing and informal jam sessions. The Dorset Players P.O. Box 521, Dorset dorsetplayers.org, 802-867-5111 May 23-26: Anyone Can Whistle, 2p (May 19, 26) and 7:30p. Grafton Inn 92 Main St., Grafton graftoninnvermont.com, 802-843-2231 All shows at the Phelps Barn, 8p, unless noted June 1: The Break Maids, original rock with a twist of folk punk.June 8: Hungrytown, original roots music. June 15: Jandee Lee Porter Band, country. June 22: Milkhouse Heaters, Americana.June 22-23: Grafton Food Festival, a food-lovers event celebrating local food and farms in Southern Vermont. Cooking demonstrations, farmers market tables, special dinners, 10a-4p each day. June 29: Vinnie DiBernardo, folk rock and pop. 5th Annual Grafton Music Festival Various location in Grafton graftonmusicfestival.com June 29-July 3: Live music over several days, local artisans displaying their wares, demonstrations, road race, and more. Included is the Vermont Symphony Orchestra & Fireworks July 3, Samirah Evans and Her Handsome Devils July 5, Starline Rhythm Boys, Compaq Big Band with Rebecca Holtz July 6. Latchis Theatre 50 Main St., Brattleboro latchis.com, 802-254-6300 Ongoing: See website. Manchester Music Festival Arkell Pavilion at Southern Vermont Arts Center, Manchester, 7p. mmfvt.org, 802-362-1956 July 11-Aug 25: Panoramas: Eight concerts, eight musical vistas, with a pops concert featuring Audra McDonald. July 11: Gala Panorama with guest pianist Vassily Primakov. July 18: Beethoven and the Dawn of Romanticism. July 25: Jumpcut: Mozart to Morricone. Aug 1: Russian Blockbusters. Aug 8: English Landscape. Aug 15: DvoÅ™ák, Piazzolla, and a Bayan Bash. Aug 22: Rising Stars from the Metropolitan Opera. Aug 25: Manchester Pops Concert with Audra McDonald. Marlboro Music Festival 2585 South Rd., Marlboro marlboromusic.org, 800-343-0049 July 13-Aug 11:...

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