Arts News

Violinist Curtis Macomber and composer Stephen Jaffe share their experiences working with composer Mario Davidovsky, Yellow Barn’s Young Artists Program “residents” as they prepare their first performances of Davidovsky’s “Synchronisms.”

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Young ‘residents’PUTNEY — Yellow Barn’s Young Artists Program is off and running. Co-Artistic Directors Seth Knopp and Mimi Hwang recently welcomed 30 instrumentalists and composers coming together from across nine time zones to work with faculty spanning the distance from one U.S. coast to the other, and across the Atlantic Ocean.

Taking full advantage of what the musicians can gain from a “distance learning” program, visiting guests this week included Brett Dean for a conversation about his String Quartet No. 2 (“And once I played Ophelia”), Lewis Lockwood for an exploration Beethoven’s autograph manuscripts and sketches, and, Curtis Macomber and Stephen Jaffe on their experiences working with Mario Davidovsky, offering invaluable advice to YAP musicians as they prepare their first performances of Davidovsky’s “Synchronisms” and other works for solo instruments and electronic tape.

While the lens is different, the core elements of the program are in full swing, including new works written during the program by YAP composers for their performer colleagues. This year composers are focusing on writing for solo instruments, and right now the first set of pieces are being premiered and recorded in house concerts with family members.

Go online to for more information, including upcoming performances.

Chaffee reopensRUTLAND — The Chaffee Art Center, “Your Center for Creativity,” is now open with a new exhibit, “Expanding Your Senses Through the Arts.” The exhibit features two individual artists with work by Colleen Wilcox and Robert Waldo Brunelle Jr. in first-floor galleries, as well as Chaffee juried Artist Members art displayed throughout the first and second floors of the mansion. This exhibit will be on display until July 24.

“When you visit, we hope you take a moment to view each piece with the theme in mind, expanding your senses,” the art center statement said. “Explore how the five senses — smell, hearing, taste, touch, sight — that help us understand and perceive the world around us, relate to the art. The mansion lends itself to this process as well, with its rich wood on floors, walls and ceilings, plus exquisitely detailed craftsmanship throughout.”

For now, occupancy is limited, masks will be required, as well as hand sanitization before entering, plus 6-foot social distancing.

Go online to or for information, call 802-775-0356.

BMAC educationBRATTLEBORO — At a time when museums across the country are cutting education staff and reducing programs, the one-person education department at the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center (BMAC) spent the past few months supporting area students, teachers, and the wider community, including frontline health care workers and people experiencing homelessness.

BMAC Education Curator Linda Whelihan pivoted from classroom and museum visits to outreach efforts, hand-delivered supplies and online art offerings. Whelihan moved on from her position at BMAC at the end of the spring semester, but the museum’s commitment to education and outreach continues.

“When schools first closed, we donated the art kits that we’ve been using with our ArtExpress program to Hinsdale Elementary and other area schools,” Whelihan said. “The kits in Brattleboro were dispersed through the lunch delivery program. Both Hinsdale and Brattleboro received around 90 kits. I also packed up little crafty kits for the families at Windham Elementary early on in the stay-at-home period.”

Whelihan went on to distribute additional art materials to the 160 families of students at the Green Street School. She described how she and Green Street School art teacher Rachel Mangean delivered the art kits, with one of them driving and the other “jogging up to doorsteps” to make deliveries.

Mangean said, “When Linda told me that the museum would be able to supply all of my students with watercolors, a paint brush and paper, I was ecstatic! Once the supplies came in, Linda and I got to work organizing and planning our routes together. After three long days, each kiddo from Green Street had their kits, and it felt darn good to know that we were able to spread the art love into these families’ homes in such a trying time.”

Go online to for more information, or call 802-257-0124.

Picnic basket raffleMIDDLEBURY — It’s picnic season in Vermont, and the Sheldon Museum in Middlebury will raffle seven spectacular picnic baskets painted by local artists. The fundraiser traditionally takes place at the popular Independence Day Pops Concert. Sadly, this year’s concert had to be canceled as result of COVID-19 restrictions — but the raffle will go on. A live raffle drawing via Zoom will take place mid-summer.

Artists who painted the baskets are Gayl Braisted (Cornwall), Lillian Kennedy (Vergennes), Warren Kimble (Brandon), Danielle Rougeau (Orwell), Sonny Torrey (Vergennes) and Ashley Wolff (Leicester).

Raffle tickets are $10, $20 for three, $40 for seven; go to online.

Valley Players meetWAITSFIELD — On June 7, The Valley Players held its annual meeting via the conferencing platform Zoom. Twenty members were in attendance.

The Valley Players Performing Arts Scholarship was founded in 2001 to encourage and support the pursuit of education in the performing arts. This year’s recipients are Ella Holter, of Warren, and Emma Greenwood, of Waitsfield. Holter will study vocal jazz at the Lamont School of Music at University of Denver, and Greenwood plans to study classical voice at UNC Greensboro.

The Vermont Playwrights Award was established in 1982, with the intent of promoting theater arts and encouraging and supporting the creation of original plays by residents of Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. A cash prize is awarded and the winning play may be produced by the Valley Players. This year, the winner is “The Unicorn from the Stars,” by David John Preece, of Manchester, New Hampshire. The play is a fictionalized story about the poet-writer Sylvia Plath during her time living in England, and her friendship with one of her neighbors.

Go online to for more information.

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