Arts Council Pulls Back Curtain On Windham County's Artistic Pulse

May 6, 2016

Many enclaves within the state claim an artistic vibe and this weekend, it's Windham County's turn to prove it. ARTstravaganza — A Weekend Of Celebration In Windham County aims to share the music, art and performance that make the region creatively unique.

Photographer and artist Shanta Lee is president of the Arts Council of Windham County. She spoke with VPR about this weekend's events and on how art can further social change.

"One of the things that creates change is the building of unique partnerships ... especially through art. So, ARTstravaganza in many ways has been a platform, an opportunity, not only to remind individuals throughout the county of our work but also to invite ways of partnering with different individuals and continuing those relationships."

"I say in some ways, there is still a thread of that forming where I'm looking at ways to build these unique partnerships that would lead to change."

As an artist and performer, Lee said when she first visited Brattleboro in 2008 it wasn't "love at first sight ... it was love at first sight with Vermont." 

"I started to recognize the quirk and uniqueness. I was very inspired by the people I met, people that I often called, 'characters' and the landscape."

Credit Courtesy, New England Center for Circus Arts

"Windham County is just rich in terms of the scenery and the artistic culture and over time, it seduced me. It was the way that the landscape and the place itself demand that you think out of the box of be out of the box in your engagement with life and invites you in such a way to live your inspiration."

ARTstravaganza events fill three days and nights in Brattleboro and surrounding towns.

"Friday night is the official kickoff," Lee says, "with some world dance, live music, theater, all sorts of beautiful things.

"There is also going to be the New England Circus Arts and Arts After Dark which is running through the whole weekend. Art in unexpected and expected places and many around Windham County have contributed to this huge slideshow of running images — over 550 of them."

Lee says of Windham County's creative thread, "It's always there, always making, always creating. This thread, this pulse is always here."