Arts News

The Vermont Symphony Orchestra is substituting its its first-ever Virtual Summer Festival Tour June 27-July 5 for the annual Summer Festival Tour.

Contributions should be sent to jim.lowe@rutlandherald.com or jim.lowe@timesargus.com at least two weeks in advance.

VSO cancels — sort ofBURLINGTON — The Vermont Symphony Orchestra Summer Festival Tour is one of the VSO’s favorite annual traditions, and along with thousands of Vermonters, its members look forward to it year-round. Though the staff has been hard at work organizing this year’s Summer Festival Tour for months now, the difficult decision to cancel the tour due to the COVID-19 pandemic became necessary, organizers said. The health and safety of audiences, musicians, volunteers and staff are more important than any one tour, and the VSO wants to make every effort to help you all stay safe until it can welcome you back to future concerts, the organization said in a release.

In lieu of a physical tour, the VSO will be holding its first-ever Virtual Summer Festival Tour June 27-July 5, the originally scheduled tour dates. This virtual tour will include recordings, photos, memories from each stop on our tour, and content prepared just for you by VSO musicians. Stay tuned for more information about how you can “attend.”

The VSO will be collaborating with Shelburne Museum, whose team has set up creative ways to explore their “Color:” exhibit from the comfort of your own home. You can view photos of the collection, download coloring pages, hear from their curator and object conservator, and listen to “Color in Music,” a playlist put together by VSO Creative Projects Chair Matt LaRocca.

Did you know that you can hear your VSO every week on the radio? Hosted by Walter Parker, “VSO on VPR Classical” airs at 8 p.m. every Wednesday night and features recordings from our past performances. You can find your local VPR Classical frequency here, or listen online here.

For the latest, go online to www.vso.org

$14M arts lossesMONTPELIER — In the two weeks since a new joint emergency relief fund for Vermont arts and cultural organizations was created, more than 100 museums, performing arts venues, libraries and other cultural centers have applied, collectively projecting an estimated $13.9 million shortfall due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The COVID-19 Cultural Relief Grant, jointly administered by the Vermont Arts Council and Vermont Humanities, provides $5,000 to $10,000 depending on organization size for general operating expenses. The first round of grants will be awarded next week, totaling $195,000 in aid to 28 cultural organizations.

It is seeded by more than $700,000 from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act of 2020.

“The first 100 applications we’ve received illustrate the devastating impact that COVID-19 has already had on a community theater or a museum that is shut down, and will see absolutely no revenue for the spring or summer season,” said Vermont Arts Council Executive Director Karen Mittelman. “Many of these organizations are struggling for survival.”

Vermont’s arts and culture sector provides more than 40,000 jobs annually and comprises 9.3% of all employment in Vermont, higher than the national average.

The grant, which does not require a match, aims to fund a diverse range of organizations of different disciplines, geographic locations, and backgrounds.

The deadline for applying is May 31, but awards are made on a rolling basis until available funds have been distributed. The grant application takes about 30 minutes to complete and is evaluated based on demonstrated need rather than on a polished application.

Though the demonstrated need far exceeds currently available funds, the Vermont Arts Council and Vermont Humanities are continuing to work with Vermont’s Congressional delegation to advocate for more emergency funding for the arts and humanities sector.

For full details and to apply for the grant, applicants can visit either the Vermont Arts Council application page at www.vermontartscouncil.org/culturalrelief or the Vermont Humanities application page at www.vermonthumanities.org/c19-grants

Jewish Film FestivalSTOWE — Launched in the early days of the Covid-19 quarantine as a reimagining of Spruce Peak Arts work to create connections and generate community through the performing arts, Spruce Peak Arts Off is announcing the fifth annual (virtual) Stowe Jewish Film Festival!

Taking place over three weeks, the festival features three films festival organizers believe are the most exciting selections yet. The unifying theme for 2020 is “Crossing Boundaries.” Each of the films deals with subjects of unusual, unexpected intra- or inter-cultural collaboration, individual quests across divides, or situations that result in surprising transformations and understanding of “others.”

Virtual attendance is free and each film is available to view from home over a three-day period starting on the dates noted on the registration page for the individual films. The line-up is:

- May 24-26: “Crescendo” – A world-famous conductor takes on the challenge of forming an Israeli-Palestinian youth orchestra in an attempt to create harmony out of discord.

- May 31-June 2: “My Polish Honeymoon” – The highly emotional subject of Jewish tourism in Poland is surprisingly dealt with as a romantic comedy seen through the eyes of a young couple seeking a connection to their ancestral home.

- June 7-9: “The Samuel Project” – Art helps bridge a generational and historic divide as a talented teen helps his grandfather relate his traumatic war-time experience through an animation project.

Admission is free but donations are appreciated; to register or for more information, go online to www.sprucepeakarts.org/off-stage

Quarantine SessionsMIDDLEBURY — While Town Hall Theater’s scheduled events are postponed, connecting with its audiences and collaborating with its artists has been a top priority. To this end, THT conceived and launched The Quarantine Sessions, a series of short videos showcasing THT all-stars, including resident companies and staff, filmed in their homes and delivered to yours.

The content is fun, heartwarming, inspiring and broad ranging, from opera to THT education talent, and from rock stars to its own Doug Anderson (a rock star). THT is offering a daily diet of these videos via its social media channels, Facebook and Instagram, as well as on its website and new YouTube channel.

For the latest schedule, go online to https://townhalltheater.org

Exhibits extendedBRATTLEBORO — In the hope that it will be able to welcome visitors back to the museum sometime this summer, the Brattleboro Museum & Arts Center has extended the current exhibits through Oct. 12. The museum is also working on plans to reschedule many of the events originally planned for this spring, either online, or when it becomes feasible, in person.

For the latest, call 802-257-0124, or go online to www.brattleboromuseum.org

Children’s artBURLINGTON — While COVID-19 interfered the 33rd annual Children’s Art Exhibition Ceremony scheduled at City Hall for March 19, Burlington City Arts launched an online platform to host this longstanding community tradition and display over 189 young Burlington artists’ artwork.

Started in 1987, the Children’s Art Exhibition displays the artworks of local elementary school children at City Hall each year. While the 2020 exhibition was installed in February of this year, the annual ceremony, where children meet the mayor, was moved online due to the coronavirus.

This year, the exhibition features the work of the following elementary schools: Champlain Elementary; C.P. Smith Elementary; Edmunds Elementary; Integrated Arts Academy; J.J. Flynn Elementary; and Sustainability Academy.

This exhibition recognizes the incredible diversity and creativity of Burlington’s children.

The exhibition can be seen at www.bcachildrensartexhibition.org

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