Arts & Culture

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

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.

Robert Siegel spent more than 40 years working in radio news, and has reported from across the country and around the globe. Senior host of NPR's All Things Considered since 1987, he'll be stepping away from the mic in January 2018.
Stephen Voss / NPR

Robert Siegel, senior host of NPR's All Things Considered, is speaking to the Vermont Humanities Council this week, reflecting on more than four decades working in radio newsrooms. It's an apt time for reflection for the seasoned host, as he prepares to step away from the mic and retire in January 2018.

On this "Vermont Edition" we speak with Mark Bushnell, author of "Hidden History of Vermont."
Mark Bushnell, Courtesy

The new book Hidden History of Vermont collects 15 years of Mark Bushnell's writing about the state’s past.

There are up-close-and-personal stories about well-known figures like Ethan Allen, and obscure but fascinating people like Lucy Cook, who cured patients while in a trance.

Molnar: Land And Lens

Oct 31, 2017
Photographer: Richard Misrach (b. 1949 ) / Middlebury College Museum of Art

To paraphrase an old saying about the power of art, a photo exhibit at Middlebury College Museum of Art demonstrates that the camera can sometimes be mightier than the keyboard.

Meg Malone / VPR

About a hundred students from elementary schools in Swanton, Highgate and Sheldon packed into the children's room of the Swanton Public Library on a recent Friday the 13th — a fitting date to welcome author Marina Cohen to talk about her spooky novel The Inn Between.

President Calvin Coolidge donned cowboy regalia while at a July 4 celebration in Rapid City, S.D., in 1927.
Associated Press

Vermonters may be fairly familiar with the Coolidge Homestead in Plymouth Notch, but there are few reminders of Calvin Coolidge's presidency beyond his native state.

However, a visit Coolidge paid to South Dakota 90 years ago is credited with helping create an iconic national memorial and shaping the economy of the Black Hills.

Back in high school English class our teacher introduced us to the timeless poem Elegy in a Country Churchyard; then he made us memorize all 128 lines of it.

Young Writers Project: 'Wind Wishes'

Oct 27, 2017
Hazel Civalier, 15, of Burlington writes an appreciation of wind power.
Hazel Civalier

I see 
wind turbines as a soaring bird,
a dove,
carrying green hope through the wind.

They symbolize a future,
a future where this expansive,
sun-washed, green valley
is "marred" 
only by these pearl wind-dancers.

Stained brown posts
and an infinite jumble 
of looping black electrical cord
entangle our homes,
yet they are nearly transparent
to our eyes.

Couldn't a distant white silhouette,
graceful arms turning to give us light
also go unnoticed,
if not admired?

'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.

A pasture full of cows overlooks the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant in Vernon, Vt. Robbie Leppzer's film "Power Struggle" documents efforts to close Vermont Yankee; the plant was closed in 2014.
Robbie Leppzer / PowerStruggleMovie.com, courtesy

The Vermont International Film Festival is screening a documentary on Sunday chronicling the grassroots movement to close the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant, and the events both global and local that surrounded its closure in 2014.

The cast of "Mill Girls" at the Champlain Mill in Winooski. There will be free performances of the show at Saint Michael's College in November.
Jerry Swope / Saint Michael's College

A new play premiering at Saint Michael's College tells the story of the women who worked the textile mills in Winooski and across New England in the mid-1800s. But it's also a story about America's shift from small towns to big cities, how women were treated and compensated in the country's earliest factories, the fight for workers' rights and the mills' connections to slavery before the Civil War.

The Boy Scouts are opening their program to girls. Vermont Edition talks about scouting for boys and girls in Vermont Monday, Oct. 23.
gloch / iStock

The Boy Scouts of America this month officially welcomed girls for the first time in their century-long history. Girls will be able to enroll in the entry-level Cub Scout program by 2018, with a path toward ranks like Eagle Scouts in the coming years. But after decades of declining membership, is it a bold move toward inclusion or a necessary change for a struggling organization?

Young Writers Project: 'Old'

Oct 22, 2017
Fiona Goodman, 14, of Brattleboro writes about her fear of growing old, not of dying, but of being “an old lady who sulks ..."
YWP Photo Library, courtesy/Desiree Holmes, Essex Junction

I think a lot about fear
and about death,
and I've come to the conclusion
that I'm not afraid of death.
After all, death is nothing.
And there's no point being afraid of nothing,
since you can't exactly do anything about it,
can you?

Toshi Widoff-Woodson

It's been called a memoir in verse, a collection of vignettes about time, place, family and race. The book Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson defies convention and can be read in any number of ways, as it will be for this year's Vermont Reads, a statewide reading project presented by the Vermont Humanities Council. 

Enno Kapitz

The enormity and horror of the Holocaust has been chronicled soberly in newsreels, in history books, in documentaries and Hollywood films. And yet one of the most revered depictions of the 20th century's greatest atrocity is communicated in a medium too often dismissed as a frivolous diversion: cartoons.

In 1992 the graphic novel Maus won the Pulitzer Prize for offering readers a simple but brilliant and relatable distillation of the Holocaust by rendering comic book versions of Nazis drawn as cats and the Jews they slaughtered as mice. A sequel told of survivors struggling to make a new life in the U.S.

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.

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