Mary Williams

Weekly Conversation on the Arts and Art Hounds Producer/Announcer

Mary joined VPR in October 2011. She earned a B.A. in Journalism from St. Michael's College and has spent the last two decades on-air and as a producer at several stations up and down the Champlain Valley radio dial.

Mary operated a baking business called, "Good Girls," and in the summer months, parked her hand-built vendor cart at area farmers' markets to try and change minds and bellies toward more compassionate eating, one vegan cupcake at a time.

 

Ways to Connect

For those who pen works of speculative fiction, there is a new awards prize program open to authors and playwrights around the globe. Last week, Dartmouth College announced the literary prize program that highlights works about the "near-future."
Courtesy, Neukom Institute for Computational Science

While scientists and technologists work to create the latest shiny, new digital gadget, it is the writers who place that new technology into the hands of their novel's characters, then write about its social impact. Sometimes the outcome is good. Sometimes, it does not end well.

It is just such works of speculative fiction that the Neukom Institute for Computational Science at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, aims to award with its new literary prize.

Vermont Youth Dancers will stage, 'A Better Place: A Twist On Oliver,' this weekend at Spruce Peak Arts in Stowe.
Vermont Youth Dancers, courtesy

This weekend has plenty of opportunities to seek out great art in the form of youth dance performances, a faculty visual arts exhibit and even by meeting a playwright who happened to pen a huge pop hit in 1979.

'Wet Cement' by figurative artist Heidi Broner is part of an exhibit titled, 'New American Realism,' up now through Dec. 22 at the TW Wood Gallery in Montpelier.
Heidi Broner, artist, TW Wood Gallery, courtesy

This weekend, you can find artistry in perfumery, in cabaret tunes and in the works of emerging poets.

(From left) Jacqui Russell from Chicago Children's Theater collaborated with Kat Redniss from Flynn Center's education team and CCT's set designer, Will Bishop on a new Vermont-centric performance piece for kids with autism.
Kat Redniss, Flynn Center For The Performing Arts

This week, each corner inside the Amy E. Tarrant Gallery next to Burlington's Flynn Center for the Performing Arts has simple props, like tiny chairs draped with child-sized, flannel button-up shirts, cozy blankets and soft animal puppets. For the past week, this space has served as an incubator for a work-in-progress for a very specific theater audience.

Artwork by Amy Königbauer

For Montpelier-based hip-hop duo Boomslang, the tracks on their albums borrow samples and beats from all over the musical landscape. The two layer the samples and sounds with high lyrical content intended to make you think and move you to get up and dance. In fact, the only elements you might be surprised to find are not looming in any Boomslang songs: misogynistic themes and bad words.

Singers Samirah Evans and Evelyn Harris perform an evening of songs by Etta James and Nina Simone at Historic Town Hall in Wilmington.
Samirah Evans and Evelyn Harris, courtesy

Sign up your young animators for a stop-motion workshop in Lyndonville, take in pastoral symphonies in Middlebury and dance for Puerto Rico in Burlington.

This weekend marks the fifth year that Off Center For Dramatic Arts in Burlington's North End holds its Fringe Festival, where local actors and playwrights try out new material in front of an audience.
Linda Provost

You can see theater on the fringe, some one-act plays, a photo exhibit of discarded shoes and more this weekend throughout Vermont.

See a play by an actor who won't lay eyes on the script until opening night, take in an art exhibit made with materials found in nature and a stroll through an annual fall craft show.

Vermont Shakespeare Festival invites an audience to a reading of 'Shakespeare's Sister,' and to join in the discussion that follows. The play is part of VSF's Salon Series, featuring female playwrights inspired by Shakespeare.
Design, Dok Wright

It is no surprise that, since its inception in 2005, professional theater company, Vermont Shakespeare Festival, stages plays written by William Shakespeare. Adding to its roster the last few seasons, the company also curates a Salon Series, with a handful of intimate readings of plays written by those inspired by Shakespeare, one of which is Shakespeare's Sister.

A classical concert in Montpelier and live music to benefit both hurricane relief efforts in Texas as well as an organization in Ethiopia round out this week's Art Hounds picks!

Utilizing the momentum and popularity of the Farm To Ballet Project, choreographer and dancer Chatch Pregger is launching a new ballet company, Ballet Vermont. The troupe premieres Pregger's original choreography in a new ballet, "Bees & Friends."
Tim Peters, 2017

Behind the full-length classical ballets staged amidst the bales of hay and animals on Vermont farms is Chatch Pregger. The Fair Haven native, dancer and choreographer created Farm To Ballet, which just wrapped its third successful season, to showcase Vermont's working landscapes and bring ballet to communities that might not otherwise see it. Pregger is taking the momentum gained from that endeavor, and creating a new dance company in the state, Ballet Vermont.

This weekend's 'steAmfest' aims to combine the science and technology fields with the arts and aesthetics. The street festival will feature live bands, a maker faire and interactive science and tech exhibits.
Essex Hub For Women And Business, courtesy

The village of Essex Junction may have its share of STEM-related manufacturing companies and school curriculum rich in science and tech subjects but it is also home to many makers, artisans and artists.

Create the ideal living space for magical woodland creatures this weekend. The Nature Museum in Grafton holds its 9th annual Fairy House Festival with events for all ages.
The Nature Museum, courtesy

Dance to nuevo tango, celebrate a Vermont library's 50th anniversary and pay tribute to Vermont author Howard Frank Mosher.

Couples dance to live tango music performed by Tango Norte. The local group will hold another milonga, or social dance, for tango enthusiasts this weekend in South Pomfret.
ArtisTree, courtesy

More time to tango, a quilt guild exhibit with quilts featuring famous board games and the last concert in a summer series in St. Johnsbury.

This chair in the "Johnny Swing: Under The Influence Of Motion" exhibit at Bundy Modern in Waitsfield, is made from coins.
Bundy Modern, courtesy

It’s still summer but doesn’t it feel like you’re ready to head indoors for some concert series, workshops, and gallery exhibits?

Vermont woodworker Steve Hadeka creates unique birdhouses in his workshop, Pleasant Ranch. Using local hard and soft woods and acrylic, his creations bring a modern aeshetic to a traditional form.
Steve Hadeka/Artist, courtesy

If TV show "Mad Men's" character Don Draper needed a birdhouse to tack to a tree in his backyard in the suburbs, the ones that Vermont woodworker Steve Hadeka creates would totally fit the bill.

Plainfield artist Michelle Wallace uses natural materials to create mandalas that she then photographs.
Michelle Wallace, artist

Michelle Wallace knows her gardens very well. "I have a deep love for the plants ... I think that's where this art is rooted," she said. Recently, those garden spaces have acted as her art supply store. The leaves, flowers, stems, seeds and pods that the Plainfield artist gathers become one-of-a-kind mandalas, which she photographs and then casts to the wind.

Actor, writer and director Rob Cunning relied on self-discipline, a group of supportive friends and resources he found online to create the film, "Haze." It took him the better part of three years to complete.
Rob Cunning, courtesy

With a with ton of self-discipline and 27 pages of script, Burlington's Rob Cunning made a featurette-length film with no money. Plus encouraging words from his film-making idol just days before beginning to shoot turned out to be priceless.

A new bluegrass band takes the stage in East Fairfield and two local actors read 50 years' worth of love letters in Middlebury.

Peacham Acoustic Music Festival, courtesy

An outdoor music fest, a chance to hear live Argentinian music performed by a diverse set of musicians and a step back in time and into some colonial homes.

Pages