Arts & Culture

VPR reporting on Arts & Culture in the region. Follow the Weekly Conversation On The Arts and Art Hounds.

ponsulak /

Being a teenager is hard enough. There are awkward hormonal changes, increasing academic pressures, and seismic shifts in relationships in and outside the home. But today's teens have an additional challenge: the ubiquitous presence and lure of social media, smartphones and other technologies that allow gossip and rumor to go viral at the touch of a button. 

Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR

Students from Brattleboro, Killington and Williamstown traveled to the Vermont Statehouse on Friday to receive Vermont's first Letters About Literature awards. This is the 23rd year the Library of Congress has held the nationwide contest, but the first year Vermont has joined as a participating state.

Young Writers Project: Allegro

May 23, 2016
Courtesy, Susan Reid

I find light in the way you hum a melody and look to me for the words.
My heart is brimming and overflows more often than my eyes these days.
I never thought I would see this day,

Mary Williams, VPR

In a modest greenhouse tucked back from Route 7, just across from the iconic covered bridge of the Shelburne Museum, Jessica Gallas of Milton coaxes hundreds of seedlings, vegetable starts and flowering plants to grow.

Courtesy, Joel Najman

This week on My Place, hear an hour of vintage hit songs on the U.S. Hot 100 that were partially or entirely sung in Spanish, with memorable recordings by Ritchie Valens, the Coasters and the Sandpipers.

University of Vermont students at this weekend's commencement ceremonies will hear from one of their own, an alum who went on to forge a world-renowned career as an author and journalist. Gail Sheehy graduated from UVM in 1958 and then moved to New York just as a second wave of feminism was changing the rules of the game in traditional reporting and writing.

Courtesy, Bridge Street Art Fair

VPR's Art Hounds have found an annual art fair in Waitsfield, youth dancers performing Cinderella in Johnson and a call-to-artists to create a sculpture from an old bike.

Liz West / Flickr

Meet Jessamyn West, the radical librarian. She just got a big award from the Vermont Library Association for her role in the selection process for the next Librarian of Congress. She's behind one of the first librarian blogs, she's annoyed the FBI, and she's a crusader for keeping both sides of the digital divide in mind as we move further into the information age. Cory Doctorow of "Boing Boing" has called her an "internet folk hero."

Taylor Dobbs / VPR

Some couples renew their wedding vows to remind themselves and each other of the closeness they share and update the promises to reflect married life. Sometimes a close friend or a religious leader officiates the informal ceremony.

Sometimes, it's just some random guy from reddit.

BrianAJackson /

Technology is evolving faster than we could have ever imagined, and with it new challenges regarding social etiquette, privacy and security.

Courtesy of Dana Walrath

When Alzheimer's Disease led Dana Walrath to care for her mother Alice at home, Alice told Dana, "Promise me you will do something else when it gets too hard." The story of Alice's decline, and how it changed their family and social relationships is told in Walrath's new book, Aliceheimer's: Alzheimer's Through the Looking Glass.

Johnson State College

Jensen Beach's writing can simultaneously provoke readers' judgment while eliciting compassion. His stark, yet multiply-layered prose explores the deep uneasiness people feel, and communicates a complexity of emotions using an economy of words.

VPR's Mitch Wertlieb spoke with Jensen Beach, an assistant professor of writing and literature at Johnson State College, about his new collection of short stories called Swallowed By The Cold.

Young Writers Project: Cold

May 16, 2016
Photo courtesy of Susan Reid.

Daen moved slowly through the woods. Quietly, so the crunching of the snow beneath his boots was almost imperceptible, he prowled between the trees. His frozen cloak glittered in the faint moonlight. Like a phantasmal wolf, he glided on the ice, shining sword held before him like an eerily beautiful fang. Daen danced to the melody of snow and frost, lost to the song of cold and darkness.

Courtesy, Joel Najman

Over the years, many individual recording artists have professionally used just a single name. In modern times, Prince, Beyonce and Adele come quickly to mind.

This week on My Place with Joel Najman, we take a look back in time for the earliest examples of "mononymous" recording artists - those who have been best known by just a single name. Among the artists featured are Annette, Fabian and, of course, Cher.

George Evan

This week, VPR Art Hounds suggest a folk singer in Tinmouth, contemporary dance in Barre, an all-Bach concert on violin and more. 

Thursday, May 12 from 6 to 8:30 p.m.: Story Night to benefit A New Place, a homeless shelter in Burlington's Old North End, at the Old Lantern in Charlotte.

David Conrad

On a recent afternoon, I met Vermont poet Jean Connor near her home on the campus of Wake Robin in Shelburne. Seated at a round table in the center of the room, Connor had neat stacks of papers and her two books of poetry in front of her; she was poised and ready to talk about her work and writing practice.

When I first met my future husband in the Spring of 1991, I noted his infectious smile and quiet, thoughtful nature. We had similar simple needs, finding contentment with each other's company hiking a mountain or laughing over a home-cooked meal. Twenty years ago this month, we took the step of walking down the aisle together.

Young Writers Project: Never Coming Back

May 9, 2016
Courtesy, Susan Reid

Sitting by a lifeless form.
No idea that when we got back,
he would be gone.
Never knowing

Courtesy, Joel Najman

It was not unusual for an occasional hit record in the United States to have been recorded in a language other than English.  This week, My Place host Joel Najman features a collection of vintage popular songs recorded entirely or partially in French. Among the selections featured is 'Dominique' from 1963, the international hit recording by performed by Souer Sourire, whom Americans came to know as The Singing Nun.

Courtesy of Jake Brennan

What do Flannery O'Connor, Vampires in the Lemon Grove, Ulysses and State Treasurer Beth Pearce have in common? They're all referenced on the new record from Burlington-based band Violet Ultraviolet.

Songwriter Jake Brennan spoke with VPR about the new album Pop City and the inspirations behind it.