Arts & Culture

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

Vermont organizations have a long tradition of promoting peace and non-violent protest.
bkindler / iStock

Vermont has a long tradition of pacifism and activism for peace. The movement can be traced from the early Quakers through to the back-to-the-land movement, and to the many groups advocating for peace in the state today.

Do you have a favorite book? Maybe it’s a novel you read again and again. But has a work of fiction ever inspired your vacation plans? New Bedford is the destination for devotees of one famous literary leviathan.


An art professor just spent four days publicly painting a six-foot-tall portrait of Trayvon Martin, the black teen whose murder in 2012 polarized the country and ignited a debate on racial profiling and civil rights.  

An illustration of books on shelves.
iStock / marrishuanna

The Vermont Book Award is entering its fourth year and the prestigious honor for work of outstanding literary merit by Vermont authors has a new twist in 2018.

In the past, the nominations have been made by a committee of independent booksellers and publishers. But for the first time, this year's nominations can be submitted by the public.

"Heart Spring Mountain," a new novel by Vermont author Robin MacArthur.
Harper Collins Publisher, courtesy

Southern Vermont author and musician Robin MacArthur won acclaim for her first book, a collection of short stories called Half Wild. Her debut novel, Heart Spring Mountain, is also getting rave reviews. The story jumps back and forth in time to follow the lives of the women in one rural Vermont family, as they search for a family member who disappeared during Tropical Storm Irene.

A new podcast aims to amplify the voices of LGBTQ Vermonters of color. It's called Brown 'n Out and it's hosted by Reggie Condra.

Local comedian Tina Friml performs at "Comedy And Crepes" at The Skinny Pancake in Burlington on Nov. 27, 2017.
Anna Ste. Marie / VPR

Tina Friml, an up-and-coming local comedian, set the stage of a recent performance by describing herself as “a bit of an enigma.”  At age 24, she has quickly gained popularity for her unique — and almost taboo — style. She avoids some of the more typical comic fodder like dating and the workplace. Instead, Friml jokes about what it’s like to live with a disability.

Young Writers Project: 'Real Americans'

Feb 9, 2018
Isabel Blankenbaker writes in response to the Young Writers Project prompt asking what it means to be a real American.
YWP Photo Library, photo by Hazel Civalier, Burlington, VT

Calling all the real Americans!
I’ve voiced it before and I know what it means.
I remember the term, but not pleasantly.
I suck in breath, knowledge seeping in.
I know where I’ve heard it before:
in a small sleepy town,
where they used it against me.

Awesome Etiquette: Familiar Strangers On A Train

Feb 9, 2018

If you have a morning commute via bus or train into work, you might use that down time as a chance to catch up on a book or to listen in to your favorite podcast. But what happens when, each morning, a co-worker who takes the same public transportation, would rather chat during your whole commute?

This week, enjoy one-acts about love in Morrisville, Latin jazz in Williston, a poetry slam in Montgomery and choral chamber music in Colchester.

Photo/artwork, Sarah Crowley

If you feel the same as local theater performer Erin Evarts does, then you think there is a space in the local arts landscape for dinner theater.

Using the momentum created by a previous cabaret-style dinner and show in December at ArtsRiot on Pine Street in Burlington, Evarts has gathered a new cast of theater actors for Ladies Who Laugh: A Night Of Comic Cabaret.

New works in progress by black playwrights will be performed this weekend in the Upper Valley. The festival is sponsored by JAG productions, a relatively new black theater company that’s been drawing audiences across western New Hampshire and eastern Vermont.

Young Writers Project: 'Schizo'

Feb 2, 2018
Sara Young, 17, of Sheldon writes about how she wishes she had known a relative before he was diagnosed with schizophrenia.
YWP Photo Library, photo by Alexandra Contreras-Montesano, Burlington

I wish I had known you
before the darkness crept in,
before the voices whispered,
before the demons lurked in every corner.
Kind, compassionate, caring.
All manner of “C” sounds to describe you then.
They describe you now still,
only changed.
Only not.
It first manifested
ceaseless, complex, cacophonic.
Your diary read, “I can’t take this,”
and you hit your mother with a wrench,
or so you thought.
Meal time was spent on the porch, alone.
Inside the house, siblings laughed.

Our Art Hounds found an exhibit of visual art that explores all kinds of love, a chamber music performance interpreting a Greek classic and a play written by a famous stand-up comedian.

Courtesy / AP

Ski icon and filmmaker Warren Miller died last week at the age of 93. For decades, ski fans have watched his films each fall to inspire themselves for the upcoming ski season. 

Students at Dover Elementary School gathered in the library to discuss Kelly Barnhill's novel "The Girl Who Drank the Moon" and posed with the paper birds they made.
Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR

Students at Dover Elementary are trying their hands at making origami birds. Paper birds like these play an interesting role in Kelly Barnhill’s fantastical novel The Girl Who Drank the Moon. The birds in the book are magical, and they can be both helpful and vicious.

Young Writers Project: 'Teachers Say, Students Say'

Jan 26, 2018
Maddie Thibault is a 12-year-old seventh grader from Vermont.
Young Writers Project Photo Library, photo by Desiree Holmes

*NOTE: Some readers may find the language within the writing selection offensive*

Teachers say you're perfect.
They say don't listen to hate; but how do you not listen to hate when it surrounds you?