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Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Burlington Mourns Beloved Bartender Monique Ford

Posted By on Tue, Apr 6, 2021 at 4:53 PM

  • Courtesy of Matt Perry
  • Monique Ford
The first flowers appeared by the front door of Three Needs Taproom in Burlington sometime on Sunday night. By Monday morning, several more bouquets had joined those in the entryway of the Pearl Street bar, along with candles, a few cards and at least one bottle of Polar seltzer. As of this writing on Tuesday afternoon, the shrine is overflowing onto the sidewalk with flowers, tokens, candy, chalk drawings and other offerings to the memory of a Burlington legend.

Monique Ford died suddenly over the weekend. The cause has not yet been determined. Her unexpected death sent shockwaves through the Burlington community and beyond. In Queen City circles, social media have largely focused on two topics since Sunday: people registering for or getting the coronavirus vaccine and those sharing memories and grief about "Mo."

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Tuesday, September 29, 2020

StoryWalk Comes to Leddy Park

Posted By on Tue, Sep 29, 2020 at 11:55 AM

A StoryWalk post at Leddy Park - SALLY POLLAK ©️ SEVEN DAYS
  • Sally Pollak ©️ Seven Days
  • A StoryWalk post at Leddy Park
A path is for sharing. Along a path in Burlington's  Leddy Park, trees share the way with a children’s book, Pie is for Sharing.

The pages of the book are displayed on a set of posts at the edge of the path. As you walk the path you can read the book —  a combination of activities known as StoryWalk.

Pie is for Sharing
, a lovely book written by Stephanie Parsley Ledyard, is illustrated by Jason Chin, a children’s book artist and author who lives in South Burlington. He encountered his first StoryWalk about a decade ago at a zoo in New York City and has been a fan since.

In a phone call with Seven Days, Chin talked about why he likes StoryWalk, including the enjoyment of coming upon one when he’s out with his kids.

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Saturday, September 12, 2020

Burlington to Memorialize a Site of Black Vermonters’ 19th-Century Enslavement

Posted By on Sat, Sep 12, 2020 at 11:27 AM

Stopping Stones plaques to be installed in Burlington - PHOTO COURTESY OF STOPPING STONES PROJECT
  • Photo courtesy of Stopping Stones Project
  • Stopping Stones plaques to be installed in Burlington
Vermonters often take pride in the fact that theirs was the first state to enter the Union slave-free — at least on paper.

But as the Rev. Arnold Thomas, pastor of the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Jericho, pointed out, “We were not truly a slave-free state. And so we need to debunk that historical narrative and show what was truly happening at the time.”

In fact, Thomas explained, there was great tolerance on the part of mainly wealthy and prominent Vermonters to allow slavery to continue within their own families, even after its prohibition in the Vermont constitution. Those prominent families included the daughter of Ethan Allen, Lucy Caroline Allen Hitchcock, who enslaved mother and son Lavinia and Francis Parker, from 1835 until 1841.

So on Sunday, September 13, Thomas, himself a Black Vermonter, will join with members of Burlington's Ohavi Zedek Synagogue and other civic leaders and activists to permanently embed two memorial plaques in the sidewalk outside of Skirack. That historic building in downtown Burlington is the Parkers’ last known residence while enslaved.

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Thursday, August 27, 2020

Burlington's File Cabinet Sculpture to Be Moved

Posted By on Thu, Aug 27, 2020 at 7:02 PM

"File Under So. Co. Waiting for…" by Bren Alvarez - FILE: MATTHEW THORSEN ©️ SEVEN DAYS
  • File: Matthew Thorsen ©️ Seven Days
  • "File Under So. Co. Waiting for…" by Bren Alvarez
The towering stack of rusting file cabinets on Burlington's Flynn Avenue, across the street from City Market, Onion River Co-op, is a popular destination for both locals and tourists. People come from all over to take selfies in front of it — and perhaps add a tag or a sticker. Officially titled "File Under So. Co., Waiting for…" by its creator, architect Bren Alvarez, it was erected in 2002 for that year's South End Art Hop. It was supposed to be temporary.

That was 18 years ago. This year, on September 10, the sculpture is going to be moved at last. But fans of the quirky attraction needn't fret; it's not going far.

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Monday, July 27, 2020

Removal of Bank Street Murals Around Burlington 'Pit' Sparks Concern

Posted By on Mon, Jul 27, 2020 at 4:22 PM

  • Courtesy photo
The murals along the Bank Street edge of the would-be CityPlace construction site in Burlington have been temporarily removed, as an SD Ireland crew works on restoring the sidewalk there. Over the weekend, the murals, mounted on plywood, were placed haphazardly in the pit, prompting concern from observers that the artwork was being mishandled. City staff and SD Ireland insisted that none of the murals was damaged.

A Seven Days reader spotted the murals in the pit over the weekend and photographed them, concerned that they were going to be trashed. Burlington City Arts commissioned 25  8-by-10-foot murals in October 2019 to adorn the construction barriers around the lot where the former mall stood, paying each artist $1,000 for their work. Last week, the city announced that Brookfield Asset Management, the project’s majority owner, wants to abandon plans to build two 10-story structures on the lot.

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Wednesday, June 24, 2020

On Church Street, a Black College Student Wants to Discuss Race

Posted By on Wed, Jun 24, 2020 at 3:50 PM

Danyeh Gutema, left, talking with a man about race and law enforcement - KEN PICARD
  • Ken Picard
  • Danyeh Gutema, left, talking with a man about race and law enforcement
Danyeh Gutema knows how hard it is for people to talk about race, especially in the current political climate. So this summer, the 21-year-old college student, who is Black, is devoting two hours each day to sitting on Burlington's Church Street and inviting strangers to sit down and have a conversation with him.

“How do we move forward? How do we come to solutions? It’s by talking to one another, sharing ideas [and] by communicating,” Gutema said. “That’s how you humanize a movement.”

Under a sweltering Tuesday afternoon sun, a masked Gutema sat in front of Burlington City Hall with two hand-lettered signs taped to his folding table that read, “It’s uncomfortable. Join me and let’s talk about race,” and “We move forward by talking to each other.”

A Vermont native, Gutema is studying environmental engineering at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., and is home for the summer. As he explained, the killing of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police last month sparked a lot of anger in him, but also a desire to address issues of racial inequality in a more productive way than just exchanging barbs on social media.

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Friday, January 17, 2020

Executive Director Anna Marie Gewirtz Resigns From the Flynn Center

Posted By on Fri, Jan 17, 2020 at 4:06 PM

  • Frédéric Silberman Photography
  • Anna Marie Gewirtz
On Friday, Anna Marie Gewirtz announced her resignation as executive director of the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts. In a press statement from the Flynn's board of directors, she cited "family reasons" to explain her departure from the Burlington nonprofit after roughly 18 months. Gewirtz replaced the previous Flynn Center executive director, John Killacky, in July 2018. Her family has since been split among Vermont, Massachusetts and New Jersey, the announcement said.

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Thursday, October 24, 2019

Daniel Bernard Roumain Begins 24-Hour Protest Performance

Posted By on Thu, Oct 24, 2019 at 4:53 PM

Daniel Bernard Roumain performing with members of the New Economistas on Church Street - MARGARET GRAYSON
  • Margaret Grayson
  • Daniel Bernard Roumain performing with members of the New Economistas on Church Street
As the clock above Burlington City Hall rang out at 2 p.m., a woman in purple velour pants was dancing a jig under a slight drizzle of rain. The dancer was Paula Higa, and she was accompanying violinist and composer Daniel Bernard Roumain, known by his initials DBR, as he entered the second hour of his 24-hour protest performance on Church Street.

As DBR’s plucking of violin strings turned into dramatic, scratchy notes, Higa moved to dance behind him. Both violinist and dancer sank toward the ground as the song concluded.

DBR and local musicians and artists will perform continuously until 12 p.m. on Friday in protest of Trump administration policies on issues including immigration. More than 30 other groups or individuals had signed up to join DBR as of this afternoon.

The performance was organized and sponsored by the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts and Burlington City Arts. DBR is in the middle of a residency with the Flynn Center, the University of Vermont’s Lane Series and the Vermont Symphony Orchestra.

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Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Sail Away: Community Sailing Center Launches Free Program

Posted By on Tue, Aug 20, 2019 at 5:00 PM

  • Courtesy of the Community Sailing Center
  • Sailors in a CSC boat
An old chestnut in sailing circles is that the best two days of a sailor's life are the day he or she buys a boat … and the day he/she sells it. For landlubbers, the joke is that, while sailing can be a blissful pastime, it's also a notoriously expensive and consuming hobby.

This week, the Community Sailing Center in Burlington announced a new initiative that will take away much of the hassle and virtually all of the expense of sailing for those looking to get out on the water.

Beginning in September, the CSC will offer weekend sailboat rentals gratis through its new Free Sailing Program, which is believed to be the first of its kind in the United States.

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Thursday, May 9, 2019

Christy Mitchell Named New Executive Director of SEABA

Posted By on Thu, May 9, 2019 at 9:28 PM

  • Courtesy of Lauren Mazzotta
  • Christy Mitchell
It seems only right that someone who's been an artrepreneur on Burlington's Pine Street the last 15 years of her life should rise up to helm the South End Arts and Business Association. And that's exactly what has happened.

Christy Mitchell, founder/director of the S.P.A.C.E. Gallery in the Soda Plant, was today named executive director of the nonprofit organization that brings us the annual South End Art Hop. She will replace interim director Jeanne Kirby, who will rejoin the board. Previous ED Adam Brooks stepped down last December.

A graduate of the Savannah College of Art and Design and an artist herself, Mitchell has been an active member of the city's art scene since her arrival in it. In addition to launching S.P.A.C.E. — which in addition to the gallery offers studio space to emerging artists — she has opened additional working artist spaces in the South End and was the director of maker space Generator in its early years. She was also instrumental in designating the official term "South End Arts District."

“My passion for the arts and love of creative endeavors has led me down a path of connecting artists to opportunity," Mitchell writes in a press release. "My vision for the South End consists of building up relationships and paving new ways for artists and entrepreneurs to connect and communicate with each other and the broader community."

Seth Mobley, president of the SEABA board of directors, said, “Christy is the right person to guide SEABA, to nurture its strengths, and to support the innovation taking place across our community.”

One of the first orders of SEABA business is planning the 27th annual Art Hop — this year September 6 through 8. But in addition the board is engaged in a longer-term process of honing goals for the organization, as well as priorities for serving businesses and artists in the ever-evolving South End.

According to Mitchell, one goal will be to find a new home. Last December, SEABA's lease at 404 Pine Street was not renewed (ArtsRiot has expanded into the space), and it has been operating from a significantly downsized office in Generator on Sears Lane.

Meantime, Mitchell writes on Facebook: "I can’t wait to lead this organization, creating a platform to raise awareness and give a common voice to artists and businesses, so that we all may thrive. I’m looking forward to many exciting days ahead!" 

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