SPOTLIGHT: 22nd Annual Women’s Film Festival

Celebrated during Women’s History Month, the Women’s Film Festival is devoted to films by and about women. Over the course of five jam-packed days, (Friday, March 8 to Sunday March 10 and Saturday, March 16 to Sunday, March 17) the festival will screen 26 films this year: five feature films, 14 documentaries, and seven shorts from around the world. One of the films, Inocenti, has been nominated for an Oscar for Best Short Documentary. A vibrant coming-of-age documentary, it tells the story of a young artist’s fierce determination to never surrender to the bleakness of her surroundings. A special Opening Gala takes place Friday, March 8 at 7p with live music, champagne, hors d’oeuvres, and a screening of an audience favorite from last year, Girls in the Band. Tickets for the gala are $20 and can be purchased at womensfreedomcenter.net. This year’s film tickets will be $7.50 at the door, $6.00 for students and seniors and $30 for a 5-movie pass. All films will be shown at the New England Youth Theatre in Brattleboro. Filmgoers should arrive 15 minutes before the show time. Popcorn and drinks will be...

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SPOTLIGHT: “Vermont and Beyond 2013” Annual Art Exhibit

Become transported by some of New England’s most talented artists through Vermont’s scenic landscapes, and beyond Vermont to the far reaches of Europe at this free exhibit of watercolors, oils, pastels, and pen-and-ink renderings. With individual styles range from realism to impression, most exhibitors are full-time artists and signature members of the Vermont Watercolor Society and other New England–based and national art organizations. Many teach in their studios and local art centers. A raffle of demonstration paintings benefits Just Neighbors, a local charity. Refreshments and live folk music by Potluck add a festive touch to the...

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Spotlight: The Fifth Annual Culinary Awards and Oscar Party

Join The HotChocolate Society at its 2012 Oscar Party and help raise money to keep movies in Manchester. An industry-wide shift to all digital distribution threatens to close Manchester’s only cinema unless it raises $175,000 by March 15. The society (which “create[s] great times for people that appreciate chocolate and good stories,” according to its Facebook page) will contribute 30 percent from ticket sales to this year’s Oscar Party to the “Digitize Village Picture Shows!” Kickstarter campaign. The event includes a pre-show reception featuring Vermont artisan breads and cheeses and live entertainment, the broadcast of the 85th Academy Awards, a complimentary champagne cocktail for those over 21, dinner, and dessert, with green-screen photography and one photo print. The Culinary Awards challenges chefs to explore the art of cooking with cacao, cocoa, or chocolate. Guests can vote for Best Savory and Sweet Bite. There’s also a “red carpet” optional fashion competition and Oscar pool that will award prizes to the top three winners. Earlier in the day, chocolate lovers can attend a chocolate tasting event with Clay Gordon, author of Discover Chocolate! (Gotham Books, 2007), and creator of TheChocolateLife.com. Tickets may be purchased online or at Village Picture Shows and Zippy Chicks in Manchester or at Crazy Russian Girls Bakery in Bennington. The event is produced by Eons...

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Spotlight: Circus Terrificus

The Women’s Community Club of Grafton is assembling a show of circus acts to thrill the young and old in the style of the famed Cirque du Soleil. Featured will be three Vermonters whose talents were honed at this famous Canadian circus: Elsie Smith and Serenity Smith Forchion, who toured for four years as duo trapezists in Cirque du Soleil’s Saltimbano show, and Bill Forchion, acrobat, character actor, and Cirque veteran (and Serenity’s husband). The event promises fun for all ages, with popcorn and treats and circus items for sale. A children’s show will be presented at 2 p.m. with a general public show at 7:30 p.m. VIP tickets for the evening performance includes a pre-show reception and a meeting with the performers after the show. All profits will go to the Women’s Community Club of Grafton Scholarship Fund, which provides scholarships to qualified students every year to further their higher education. The club has been awarding scholarships since the 1950s....

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SPOTLIGHT: Two Exhibitions Devoted to Arts and Disabilities

Organized by VSA Vermont, a statewide non-profit organization devoted to arts and disabilities, and curated by Greensboro artist Paul Gruhler, “Engage” is a juried exhibition showcasing art created by 35 Vermont artists with various disabilities. “More Like You Than Not” is organized by Bennington Museum curator Jamie Franklin as a complement to Engage. This exhibition takes a look at some of the varied contexts in which artists with disabilities have worked in Vermont and the surrounding region during the last 200 years. The art in “More Like You Than Not” — a quote from Vermont artist and autism activist Larry Bissonnette — reminds us that we all share a universal humanity. Indeed, we are all more alike than...

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Spotlight: Hot Pot

A new exhibition from Brattleboro Museum & Art Center, “Hot Pot” will explore contemporary artistic expression in China. A hot pot is a communal dish of many ingredients in which each retains its distinctive flavors and textures. An integral part of Chinese culture for over 1,000 years, the hot pot serves as a metaphor. The volume and diversity of art being produced in China today is enormous and in many ways resistant to categorization. The exhibition explores three themes: image and identity, environment and politics, and reinterpreting artistic traditions. “Hot Pot” will feature more than 100 works in all media by two dozen artists, filling the museum’s six galleries and sculpture...

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SPOTLIGHT: Charlie Hunter’s Sugaring Season Paint Out

Sugaring season is a special time, and Charlie Hunter invites you to join a hardy crew of adventurous artists for an unforgettable five days of painting outdoors during one of Vermont’s most unpredictable seasons. Each day, the group will meet for coffee and an array of alarmingly calorie-laden pastries, then head out to one or another of Hunter’s favorite painting spots — a sugaring operation, a working farm in Grafton, to the industrial village of Bellows Falls — and then engage in a late afternoon critique session. Hunter also offers more formal demonstrations of his distinctive painting technique and time is devoted to working one-one-one with artists who wish to explore particular areas of interest. Those participating will head out from the Grafton Inn each day, returning each evening to discuss the day’s work and challenges, to socialize, to learn from one another. Patrons can sign up for just one to all five days, with or without lodging and meals. Lunch and dinner are provided each...

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SPOTLIGHT: RAMP art auction

The Rockingham Arts and Museum Project (RAMP) Art Auction and Raffle is a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon with artists and friends: with the suspense of bidding for great art for a good cause. More than 60 regional artists and performers contribute their time and artworks for this 11th annual benefit, including Charlie Hunter, Steve Procter, Natalie Blake, Phyllis Rosser, Chris Sherwin, and Robert McBride. Proceeds benefit the work of RAMP, a nonprofit that is dedicated to “revitalizing the community by developing awareness of the arts, creating vitality in the community with the arts, and demonstrating that the arts favorably impact the local economy,” according to its founder Robert McBride. You can purchase tickets in advance or at the door: $25 each or five for $100. Artists reception on Sunday, April 7 from 2-4p. View the work during BF3F on Friday April 19,...

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SPOTLIGHT: River Gallery School auction

The annual benefit auction supports the programs and scholarships of the River Gallery School, which has offered art classes, studio space, and a creative community since 1976. For $20 admission at the door, you get delicious appetizers, lively music, coffee, dessert, and a paddle number that lets you bid on fabulous items donated by local artists, craftspeople, businesses, restaurants, students, and friends of the school. A cash bar will be...

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Spotlight: Stone walls

What is more quintessentially Vermont than a stone wall? In this two-day outdoor workshop from the nonprofit Stone Trust, expert workshop leaders Travis Callahan and Chuck Eblacker will guide students in continuing the restoration of a beautiful wall across from the Dutton Farm House in Dummerston. Learn the structural techniques involved in building and rebuilding stone walls with no mortar so you can work on your own projects, or so you can simply admire and appreciate proper walling techniques of this traditional...

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