Weekly Conversation On The Arts

Amanda Shepard / VPR

Vermont is known for its sweeping vistas, colorful foliage and ski resorts. Tourists come for these attractions, helping to boost the local economy. But Alex Aldrich, executive director of the Vermont Arts Council, wants Vermont to also become a tourist attraction for its vibrant art scene.

Steve Hadeka

Steve Hadeka of Burlington is a busy drummer, well known for his work in several Vermont groups, including The Seth Yacavone Band, Lowell Thompson and Josh Panda and The Hot Damned.

Hadeka is also an avid woodworker, creating functional pieces with a mid-century twist in his studio space, Pleasant Ranch.

Mark Logan

Toys aren't usually categorized as art, but one creator in Brattleboro is breaking that mold.

Mark Logan, self-taught toy maker and artist, is co-owner of the Teeny Tiny Toy Store in Brattleboro. He creates fanciful, one of a kind sculptures from fabric. One of his toys of Pres. Obama even made it all the way to The Smithsonian, taking a spot in their permanent collection.

Karen Pike

Susanne Schmidt started telling stories over a year ago, during a comedy fundraiser for the lunch ladies of Vermont. “The day before the event, I was having a really hard time deciding what to do for my set, when I realized I had a story about my lunch lady when I was growing up," Schmidt says. “So I threw out my comedy set, got up in front of 200 people and told my story.” 

From that point forward, Schmidt hasn’t stopped connecting with people through her storytelling.

Vermont Veterans Home

At the Vermont Veterans Home in Bennington, every day is Veterans Day. The residence is home to many aging vets, some living with dementia and Alzheimer's Disease.

Caregivers there have introduced art classes, music enrichment and yoga exercises as ways to enhance the veterans' quality of life.

Melissa Jackson, CEO of Vermont Veterans Home, talks about the specific unit, called Freedom Village, which is home to aging veterans and the arts programs there.

Lynn Barrett / SO Vermont Arts & Living

There's a big concert coming to the Brattleboro area this weekend. The Boston Gay Men's Chorus makes a rare appearance at the Latchis Theater on Saturday, Nov. 1 at 7:30 p.m.


Heidi Pfau is an artist and social worker with VSA Vermont, the state organization on arts and disability. She is also helping to organize the second annual BOOM VT event, which takes place this Saturday in Colchester.

Pfau joined VPR to talk about the event and the VSA, whose mission is to "use the magic of the arts" to build the confidence and capabilities of children and adults with disabilities.

Fran Bull

Brandon artist Fran Bull's current exhibit, now showing at both the Chaffee Gallery and the Castleton Downtown Gallery in Rutland, is called Stations. The 14 larger-than-life sculptural paintings, as she describes them, encourage visitors to move from one piece, and one story, to the next.

Bull spent her Saturdays as a child exploring the art at her local museum. She studied painting at Bennington College and earned an M.A. in art education.

Beth Robinson

All things ghostly and ghastly often crawl out from the shadows to give us a good scare this time of year. Can those things also be artistic?

Local artist and doll-maker Beth Robinson is co-curator of The Art of Horror, a juried show at the S.P.A.C.E. Gallery on Pine Street in Burlington. She came to the VPR studios to help define the "dark art" genre, what to expect at the Art of Horror exhibit and about her own Strange Dolls.

Joe Levine

How cathartic would it be to step onto a stage and give the performance of your life, literally? Steven Cadwell grew up in Pittsford in the 1950s and didn't come out as a gay man until the 1970s. He is now a married and works as a psychotherapist in the Boston area. His one-man performance is called Wild and Precious.

In the performance, Cadwell uses his own poetry, song, photos and costume changes to tell the story of his own life and the immense changes that have taken place in gay history in the last 50 years.

South End Arts and Business Association

Once a not-so-mod neighborhood with hulking and empty factories and processing plants, the South End of Burlington is seeing much better days.

Thanks to the influx of artists, art galleries and new creative businesses in the last 30 years, plus the South End Art Hop -- which entices tens of thousands of visitors to explore and purchase art and meet the artists -- the South End is thriving.

Solo But Not Alone

Aug 21, 2014
Dave Kaczynski

Night of Arrows is a band of one. Singer and songwriter David Kaczynski writes the lyrics and melodies and plays all the instruments — electric and acoustic guitars, bass and drums — on his self-produced albums.

His home studio in Jeffersonville acts as a kind of therapist's couch: A safe space to pour out pain, sadness and loss and give words and sound to difficult emotions through his raw, spare music.

Eduardo Milieris

You may think you know Tango, through the movies and perhaps through the recordings of Astor Piazzolla. But Tango has a rich history that goes back over a century.

You can immerse yourself in the sound and culture of Tango in the upcoming Stowe Tango Music Festival, August 20 through the 23.

The festival's Artistic Director, Hector Del Curto is also a a world-renowned bandoneon player.

Del Curto says Tango was born in Argentina,  with roots stemming from European immigrants and African slaves.

Courtesy Vermont Shakespeare Company

The Vermont Shakespeare Company opens it’s seventh season this weekend with A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

In addition to performances at the company’s home base at Knight Point State Park in North Hero, the company will also bring the production to Shelburne Museum and the University of Vermont.

Carving Studio and Sculpture Center

How do you take a clay model and carve it in marble two, three or even 10 times larger? Normally, you’d have to go to Italy to develop this rare skill. But The Carving Studio and Sculpture Center in West Rutland is bringing Italy to Vermont.

They’re offering a special six-day course in advanced Italian compass enlargement techniques.

Neal Charnoff, VPR’s longtime local host of All Things Considered, will be setting his alarm clock a bit earlier as the new host of Morning Edition at WFDD public radio in Winston-Salem, NC. The news of Neal’s departure from VPR was shared with his colleagues earlier this week. He cited long Vermont winters and a desire to be closer to stepchildren as reasons for his decision.

Wavebreakmedia Ltd / Thinkstock

It’s natural that people, for the most part, do not like to talk about death and dying. An audio exhibit in Montpelier this weekend is trying to change that.

The Wake Up To Dying Project gathers stories about death, dying and life, and supplements them with art exhibits and discussion. The traveling exhibit is at Montpelier's Christ Episcopal Church July 24-26.

Leonard Ragouzeos

The impact of Tropical Storm Irene is still reverberating in the arts community. The 2011 storm ravaged homes and studios in the Rock River Valley in the area around South Newfane.

This weekend’s Rock River Artists Open Studio Tour features 17 artists who will welcome visitors to  what for some are re-imagined studio spaces.

Not only did some artists have to rebuild their studios, they rethought their approach to creating their work.

anyaberkut / Thinkstock

Writing about a difficult experience can be therapeutic for the writer and informative for those who read the finished product. A writing workshop in Burlington this summer is dedicated to writing and sharing stories of addiction and recovery. Montpelier-based writer Gary Lee Miller speaks about the "Writers for Recovery" workshops. Learn more about the workshops.

Charlotte Albright / VPR

A few years ago, writer Becky Munsterer had the idea of publishing a novel online…one page at a time.

Her page-per-day audience at Novel Nibble.com gradually grew to over one thousand followers, who enjoyed the serialized story-telling component. 

Now Munsterer, who lives in Norwich,  is writing an observational blog--again, one page at at time. The caveat is that each page is deleted at the end of the day,  lost to the ether, and immune to comments both complimentary and snarky.