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Sunday, September 20, 2020

JAG Productions Wins $100K Grant, Launches Anti-Racist Ambassador Program

Posted By on Sun, Sep 20, 2020 at 6:23 PM

From left: Stevie Walker-Webb, Marie Cisco and Jarvis Antonio Green - COURTESY OF JARVIS ANTONIO GREEN
  • Courtesy of Jarvis Antonio Green
  • From left: Stevie Walker-Webb, Marie Cisco and Jarvis Antonio Green
When the spread of COVID-19 shut down all performing arts venues in March, JAG Productions had to halt its off-Broadway staging of Esai's Table. The play by Nathan Yungerberg previously had a month-long run in White River Junction, where JAG Productions was established in 2016. It was the first time Vermont's only Black theater company was copresenting a work in New York City, and the premature close was a disappointment.

But founder and producing artistic director Jarvis Antonio Green got much happier news a few months later when he learned that the Bay & Paul Foundations was granting $100,000 to JAG Productions. The New York-based nonprofit's heady mission is "to foster and accelerate initiatives that prepare agents of change working to strengthen  our social compact and develop authentic solutions to the challenges of this pivotal century."

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Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Vermont Poet Laureate Mary Ruefle Named a Pulitzer Prize Finalist

Posted By on Tue, May 5, 2020 at 2:06 PM

  • Courtesy of Hannah Ensor
  • Mary Ruefle

The 2020 Pulitzer Prizes were announced yesterday afternoon via livestream, but Vermont poet laureate Mary Ruefle did not tune in. Ruefle, who lives in Bennington, doesn’t own a computer; her sole portal to the internet is her iPad, which she checks a couple times a day to stay apprised of the news.

Later that evening, as she caught up on headlines while making dinner, Ruefle discovered that her poetry collection,
Dunce, was one of two finalists for the Pulitzer Prize in poetry. She went on cooking.

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Thursday, February 20, 2020

UVM Prof, Author Emily Bernard Wins Christopher Isherwood Prize

Posted By on Thu, Feb 20, 2020 at 8:29 PM

  • Courtesy of Stephanie Seguino
  • Emily Bernard

Emily Bernard, a professor of English and critical race and ethnic studies at the University of Vermont, was named the recipient of the Los Angeles Times' prestigious Christopher Isherwood Prize for autobiographical prose for her 2019 essay collection, Black Is the Body: Stories From My Grandmother's Time, My Mother's Time, and Mine.

Each essay presents a different vantage of Bernard's experiences "as a woman, a black American, a teacher, writer, mother, wife, and daughter," as she writes in the book. Bernard reflects on what it feels like to be a person of color in Vermont, on the process of adopting Ethiopian twins with her husband, and on going to Mississippi, where her close relatives live, in the wake of her grandmother's death.

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Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Post-Fire, Center for Cartoon Studies Recovers From Water Damage

Posted By on Tue, Feb 4, 2020 at 9:01 PM

The saturated laboratory at the Center for Cartoon Studies - DAVE LLOYD
  • Dave Lloyd
  • The saturated laboratory at the Center for Cartoon Studies
Updated February 5, 2020.

If the fire doesn't get you, the water does. That's what the Center for Cartoon Studies in White River Junction learned the hard way last month.

On January 3, when the school was on break, an accidental fire broke out in an apartment over its offices and lab space, in a former department store called the Colodny Building. (CCS' classrooms and extensive library are in a second building, the former post office, just down the street.) The apartment was unoccupied and being worked on when a fire started and was quickly contained.

But not quickly enough to prevent the sprinkler system from doing its job, which was to saturate everything in sight.

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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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Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Dispute Over Vermont Mozart Festival Cancellation Hits Facebook

Posted By on Tue, Jul 16, 2019 at 7:00 AM

Michael Dabroski conducting a concert in 2017 - COURTESY OF STEPHEN MEASE
  • Courtesy of Stephen Mease
  • Michael Dabroski conducting a concert in 2017
The former leader of the Vermont Mozart Festival took to Facebook on Monday to blame the nonprofit organization’s board of directors for the cancellation of this summer’s planned concert events. A volunteer involved with the board denies these claims.

Michael Dabroski was the leader of the Vermont Mozart Festival until June 16, when he resigned and notified concert venues and the board that this year’s festival would be cancelled. The festival publicly announced the cancellation via Facebook on July 9, as reported by the Shelburne News. According to the festival website, the shows were scheduled to begin Monday and run through August 4.

On Monday afternoon, a post appeared on the VMF Facebook page titled “Official Statement by Michael Dabroski.” This was posted without prior knowledge of the board, according to Gene Richards; the director of the Burlington International Airport has volunteered to help the board navigate the cancellation. Dabroski did not respond to Seven Days' requests for comment.

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Monday, July 15, 2019

Burlington City Arts Announces New Round of Grant Recipients

Posted By on Mon, Jul 15, 2019 at 3:25 PM

Ramblers on North Street in 2017 - THE RAMBLE
  • The Ramble
  • Ramblers on North Street in 2017
Burlington City Arts announced Monday that it will distribute $35,000 to 14 artists and organizations to address community needs through the arts. The recipients include projects to, among other things, engage middle schoolers and senior citizens through writing and storytelling, document the stories of Burlington residents, explore new technologies, and support the annual Old North End Ramble.

Many of the recipients are new, but the ONE Ramble also received a BCA grant in 2018. The free annual festival returns for its 16th year on Saturday, July 27, with a full day of art, music and food. The event, which celebrates Vermont’s most racially and economically diverse neighborhood, received $2,500 in support from the BCA in 2018 and $3,000 this year.

Among the grantees this year are several education programs for Burlington’s youth. Girls Rock Vermont, a music nonprofit that provides a summer camp and after-school sessions for girls and gender-nonconforming youth to encourage self-expression, received $3,000.

The Bhutanese Nepali Cultural Heritage Dance Group of VT, which teaches Nepali dance to the young members of the Bhutanese and Nepali refugee community and works to raise awareness of their cultural heritage, received $3,000. BCA also awarded $2,400 to Mindy Wong to support the continuation of writing workshops for high school students through the Young Writers Project; and $3,000 to Alyssa Faber for a program to create public art with middle school students.

Not all the grantees are focused on the young, however. One project, led by Michael Kellogg and awarded $1,500, will record and present stories from elders at the Champlain Senior Center.

Grant funds will also be used to explore new technologies. The Illumination Collective, an artist group that created an interactive lighting exhibit during the 2018 Highlight Festival, will invite the community to help create an illuminated artwork to be displayed at the Generator maker space.

Yet another project will explore the history of some of Burlington’s most controversial art. Matthew Kelly was awarded $3,000 to make a documentary about the “Everyone Loves a Parade!” mural, which protestors have called “white supremacist,” and which the Burlington City Council voted to remove by 2022. The mural was vandalized and partially covered by a tarp in November 2018.
"Everyone Loves a Parade!" mural in downtown Burlington - SADIE WILLIAMS
  • Sadie Williams
  • "Everyone Loves a Parade!" mural in downtown Burlington

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Monday, June 3, 2019

UVM’s Major Jackson Selected as Co-Editor of 'The Best American Poetry'

Posted By on Mon, Jun 3, 2019 at 9:05 AM

Major Jackson - COURTESY
  • Courtesy
  • Major Jackson

Acclaimed poet and South Burlington resident Major Jackson, an English professor at the University of Vermont, has been selected as co-editor of the 2019 edition of The Best American Poetry. Yes, non-poetry peeps: that is a BFD. The anthology, published by Simon & Schuster, is slated for release on September 10 — the day after Jackson’s 51st birthday.

The recipient of a Pushcart Prize and a Whiting Award, Jackson is the author of four volumes of poetry. Two of his books, Hoops and Holding Company, were finalists for the NAACP Image Award. His debut collection, Leaving Saturn, won the Cave Canem Poetry Prize for a first book of poems and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award.

Jackson's poems and essays have appeared in The American Poetry Review, Callaloo, the New Yorker, the New York Times Book Review, the Paris Review, Ploughshares and Tin House, as well as several volumes of The Best American Poetry.

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Friday, May 17, 2019

Margaret Coleman Takes the Helm of T.W. Wood Gallery

Posted By on Fri, May 17, 2019 at 10:27 AM

  • Owl's Iris Photography
  • Margaret Coleman
It didn't seem like the best time for Margaret Coleman to take on another job. Co-founder and executive director of the national nonprofit Art Shape Mammoth, founder and director of the O.N.E. Arts Center in Burlington, and mom to two little ones — ages 2 and a half years and 4 months — she had her hands full.

In recent months, too, Coleman had taken over management of Flynndog gallery and was involved in developing new arts spaces in that South End building. "It's wild timing," she conceded.

But none of this stopped Coleman from applying for, and accepting, the position of executive director at Montpelier's T.W. Wood Gallery. She was won over by "the commitment to accessibility [to art] and the historic collection." She also liked the gallery's diversity in programming, including after-school classes, adult classes, art camps and exhibition space for contemporary exhibitions, as well as works from the Wood collection. The gallery also hosts film nights for local filmmakers and other community events.

The Wood "is at a place in history where it has the potential for growth, and I'm excited by that," Coleman said. "It's an open book for what can happen."

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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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