Weekly Conversation On The Arts

Thursdays 4:50p.m.

Weekly Conversation On The Arts is your window into the Vermont arts community. Every week, we talk with authors, actors, playwrights, musicians, artists and the people who make the arts happen in our area.

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.

Clever Girls' bandmembers are, left to right: Winfield Holt, Rob Slater, Diane Jean, and Tobias Sullivan.
Brett Marshall, Winwood LLC

If Diane Jean, from the Burlington-based band Clever Girls, was shipwrecked on a desert island, she knows just which five records she'd like to listen to until the rescue ship arrived.

This photograph by Liam Lenel captures the detail of the finished murals by artist Sarah Rutherford in Jeffersonville. This marks the ninth year of the fine arts festival that fills Main Street in Jeffersonville with over 50 artists and artisans.
Liam Lenel

Main Street in Jeffersonville will be busy on Saturday. Its the 9th Annual Festival of the Arts presented by the Cambridge Arts Council. Over 50 artists in all media set up booths that line the street, ready to meet and talk about their life's work. And this year, a Lamoille Valley bike tour company is encouraging art lovers to take a new trail to get there.

This marks the 10th year that street performers will fill the Church Street Marketplace and City Hall Park with their craft during the Festival of Fools.
Andrew Krebbs/Burlington City Arts, courtesy

Celebrating the street performer is the spirit behind this weekend's 10th annual Festival of Fools in downtown Burlington.

(From l to r) Frog Hollow director Rob Hunter takes a floor mop to the interactive mural designs to make way for a new one; chalk pieces used to create mural; artist Tara Goreau pauses during drawing session; a young artist joins Goreau.
Rob Hunter/Frog Hollow, courtesy

The medium is impermanent but the artists and organizers behind the Community Interactive Mural project hope its imprint lingers.

Julia Luckett Photography

"When you're in a band and especially when you're touring, it's like being in a big marriage." That's the take from guitarist Nick Wood, with the Burlington-based funk-rock band, Gang of Thieves.

Wood and band-mate Tobin Salas, who plays bass guitar, recently sat down with VPR, fresh off the group's Work Together tour.

Last year's Do Good Fest welcomed over 5,000 spectators on the lawn at National Life headquarters in Montpelier. Again this year, the event is free and the $20 parking fee benefits Branches of Hope.
National Life, courtesy

This Saturday, the National Life building in Montpelier is opening up its "back lawn" and inviting a few friends over. It's the 4th Annual Do Good Fest, underwritten by the financial services company and boasting a musical line-up of national and local performers.

The 2016 Aphasia Choir in the McCarthy Arts Center;  Karen McFeeters Leary directing;  Jess McDonald, UVM speech pathology student (left) and Cheryl Lattrell, stroke survivor (right) enjoy a laugh during practice.
Jessica Clarke

How is it that survivors of stroke and certain brain injury are often unable to speak but they still can sing? The answer lies in the brain's physiology. By tapping into the undamaged right hemisphere, the stroke survivor can recall familiar melodies and express them through song. Enter, the Aphasia Choir.

Montpelier-based musician Ben Dunham hand-picked a dozen musicians to form The Backline Collective. The group performs the songs Dunham penned and the album-release party is Friday night at Positive Pie in Montpelier.
Tommy Burns/Matrix Marketing, courtesy

Local songwriter Ben Dunham's eight new songs chart his own personal growth over the past year. But in order to record them in all their multiple shades and moods, he needed to enlist a diverse bunch of Vermont musicians to get the job done. The finished project, called Backline Collective, will premiere at an album-release party this Friday night in Montpelier.

By practicing skits and playing theater games, students from The Bridging Program at CCS learn advocacy and decision-making.
Emily Anderson, courtesy

Classic theater warm-up games like, 'Zip, Zap, Zop!' can help teach focus and teamwork in a fun way. And recently, Emily Anderson has been borrowing these techniques with a unique group of young adult students.

John Killacky, The Flynn Center For The Performing Arts, courtesy

Chelsea Lafayette is a Vermonter by way of New Orleans. Ten years ago, after attending college in Louisiana, she followed her now-spouse north. And on her first night in Burlington, the neon marquee of the iconic Flynn Theater ensured she'd never look back.

Artist Sarah Van Arsdale

When asked whether she falls into the camp that believes the catamount still roams Vermont's woods, author/illustrator Sarah Van Arsdale sees herself among those who fervently want to believe it's true.

Courtesy, Julia Kitonis

When Julia Kitonis chose a final project for the NEXUS program at Champlain Valley Union High School in Hinesburg, the senior knew she wanted to focus on accessibility to the arts. And coupled with her own theater background and a revival of her favorite musical, Spring Awakening that included both hearing and non-hearing actors, the seed of an immense idea was born.

Courtesy, David Schein

What began as a theater space in the Ethiopian city of Awassa to educate community members about HIV/AIDS has strong Vermont ties.

Beltrami Studios

Finally heeding her then pre-teen daughters' book recommendations to read the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, Montpelier author Laurie Forest devoured and loved the books. And then she stepped into a writing realm that was entirely new to her: Fantasy fiction.

top, Steve Solberg, from r to l, courtesy Seven Days, Caleb McKenna and Karen Kevra

This weekend, Marshfield classical composer and musician Evan Premo will premiere a song cycle he's written, which sets late Vermont writer David Budbill's poems to music. Budbill, a poet and playwright and musician, died in the fall of 2016.

courtesy

Before her tribe was recognized along with three others in Vermont in 2011 and 2012, Vera Longtoe Sheehan wasn't able to call herself an "Abenaki artist."

K-Films Amérique

The Global Roots Film Festival is a program of the Vermont International Film Foundation which aims to bring movies made about and by many diverse cultures. This year, the movies screening in downtown Burlington will focus on the cinema of Québec.

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