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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, July 7, 2020

Arts and Culture Nonprofits to Receive $5 Million in State Relief Grants

Posted By on Tue, Jul 7, 2020 at 1:00 PM

"Youth Triumphant" sculpture in Barre - FILE: SUE HIGBY
  • File: Sue Higby
  • "Youth Triumphant" sculpture in Barre
The Vermont Arts Council and the Agency of Commerce and Community Development will distribute $5 million to arts and culture nonprofits, as part of legislation signed by Gov. Phil Scott last week to provide $96 million in emergency economic recovery grants to Vermont businesses.

Applications opened Monday on the ACCD website for all the agency’s Economic Recovery Grants. Arts and culture nonprofits are eligible for up to $50,000 in funding. The arts council will partner with ACCD to review the applications.

“It’s an incredible boost for the nonprofit cultural sector,” said Karen Mittelman, executive director of the arts council. “It’s important as a recognition of the economic stress our sector is experiencing … And we also know it will not be enough. That’s true across the board [in every sector].”

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Friday, July 3, 2020

Vermont Arts and Culture Organizations Awarded $600,000 in Relief Funding

Posted By on Fri, Jul 3, 2020 at 3:26 PM

'Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?' at the Weston Playhouse in 2019 - COURTESY OF ALEX PERRY
  • Courtesy of Alex Perry
  • 'Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?' at the Weston Playhouse in 2019
Ten Vermont arts and culture organizations received more than $600,000 in direct grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities, as part of the federal coronavirus relief package.

The NEA awarded $50,000 grants to Kingdom County Productions, Dorset Theatre Festival, the Vermont Folklife Center, the Community Engagement Lab,  the Yellow Barn and the Weston Playhouse Theatre.

The NEH awarded $133,512 to the Vermont Historical Society, $69,263 to the University of Vermont, $29,362 to the Henry Sheldon Museum of Vermont History, $53,036 to the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum and an additional $97,017 to the Folklife Center.

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Thursday, June 25, 2020

The Flynn: No Main Stage Shows in 2020

Posted By on Thu, Jun 25, 2020 at 2:53 PM

The Flynn marquee - MARGARET GRAYSON
  • Margaret Grayson
  • The Flynn marquee
The Flynn in Burlington announced on Thursday that it will not hold any performances on its Main Stage for the remainder of 2020 due to operating restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic.

"This was not a decision made lightly, and we explored many possible alternatives before concluding that we cannot safely host performances in the theater for the remainder of this year," said interim executive director Charlie Smith in a press release. "Right now, we are unable to open to normal operations, but we’re eager to resume activity and will do so as soon as possible."

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Monday, June 1, 2020

Barre Opera House to Remain Closed Through 2020 Due to Pandemic

Posted By on Mon, Jun 1, 2020 at 12:36 PM

Barre Opera House - COURTESY OF DAN CASEY
  • Courtesy of Dan Casey
  • Barre Opera House
Barre-area patrons of the arts will have to wait a bit longer than expected to get their live performing arts fixes at the Barre Opera House. The historic, 650-seat Granite City theater will remain shuttered through the end of the year due to factors related to the coronavirus pandemic.

Barre Opera House director Dan Casey announced the extended closure in a press release on June 1, citing "uncertainty regarding COVID-19, restrictions on the assembly of large groups, and the ability and willingness of touring artists to perform on scheduled dates."

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Sunday, May 31, 2020

Revelry Theater to Close Indefinitely Due to Pandemic

Posted By on Sun, May 31, 2020 at 7:45 PM

The last show at Revelry Theater on March 7 - COURTESY OF ANTHONY APODACA
  • Courtesy of Anthony Apodaca
  • The last show at Revelry Theater on March 7
Revelry Theater, a 35-seat black-box venue in Burlington’s South End known for hosting intimate comedy shows, is closing “indefinitely” as a result of the pandemic. Founder and artistic director Anthony Apodaca said the board decided it didn’t make sense to keep the nonprofit theater open when the future of public events remains uncertain. He hopes to preserve funds to hold pop-up shows this summer and someday reopen in a new space.

“We don’t think it’s wise to keep burning cash or going into debt just to have to shut down again in the fall,” Apodaca said, referring to the possible resurgence of coronavirus outbreaks. “We don’t think we’re close to being out of the woods of the pandemic, especially on a national level.”

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Sunday, May 24, 2020

Vermont Shakespeare Festival Puts the Bard in Your Yard

Posted By on Sun, May 24, 2020 at 2:04 PM

John Nagle as Don Armado - PAMELA POLSTON
  • Pamela Polston
  • John Nagle as Don Armado
Clad in a frilly white shirt and jeans, a sword dangling from his belt, Don Armado tore into his scene. Passion drove his speech, dramatic gestures his actions. Smitten by secret love, the Spaniard conveyed his heart's desire to, um, an audience of two on a patio shielded by a magnolia tree on South Winooski Avenue.

My patio. My magnolia tree. Don Armado, aka actor and Vermont Shakespeare Festival cofounder John Nagle, presented one of the first home deliveries of "Shakespeare to You" on Saturday afternoon — a monologue from Love's Labour's Lost. Somehow the play, written by William Shakespeare in the 1590s, seemed just right for a warm spring day during a pandemic in 2020. All socially distanced and everything.

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Friday, March 20, 2020

The Flynn Has Laid Off or Furloughed 12 Employees

Posted By on Fri, Mar 20, 2020 at 1:43 PM

The Flynn marquee - MARGARET GRAYSON
  • Margaret Grayson
  • The Flynn marquee
The Flynn has laid off six employees and furloughed six others, according to interim executive director Charlie Smith. In a phone call Friday with Seven Days, Smith said "many of those" employees have an estimated return-to-work date, though he cautioned that Flynn administrators "don't have a clearer crystal ball than anyone else" and couldn't speculate when that date might be. 

On Friday, March 13, in response to concern over the spread of COVID-19, the Flynn canceled the remainder of its 2019-20 season, including all shows and programming through May 31.

"We hope and expect that these aren't permanent changes, though in some cases they are," he said. "We're just doing our best to prepare the Flynn to come back strong when we're able to."

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Monday, February 17, 2020

Drag Queen Sasha Velour to Speak at Center for Cartoon Studies Commencement

Posted By on Mon, Feb 17, 2020 at 11:15 AM

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The Center for Cartoon Studies in White River Junction announced on Friday that its 2020 commencement speaker will be Sasha Velour, a CCS alumnus and an internationally acclaimed gender-fluid drag artist.

Velour, who graduated from CCS in 2013, became a household name after winning the 2017 season of "RuPaul's Drag Race." In an interview with WCAX-TV after being crowned "America's Next Drag Superstar," Velour told host Darren Perron that her performance career began in White River Junction, when she would dress up to attend "Drag Race" watch parties.

Through her performances, Velour said, she channels her background in cartooning: "I always think about designing a character that would read in a comic book, and then I just get to put it out into the world," she said. 

"Cartooning played a crucial role in Sasha Velour's origin story," said James Sturm, cofounder and director of CCS. "She was asked to be the commencement speaker because she is brilliant and inspiring. I don't know what Sasha will say, but I do know that Sasha knows exactly what it feels like to be on the other side of the podium and can speak to the excitement and dread the graduates may be feeling as they leave a tight-knit community to make their way in the world."

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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

Anna Marie Gewirtz - FRÉDÉRIC SILBERMAN PHOTOGRAPHY
  • 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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