Natalie Blake with ceramic art

Ceramic artist
Natalie Blake is also
the evening's stage director


Painting by Ryan Burch, BUHS

A participant at the
2007 Affair of the Arts


Painting by Emily Bourne, BUHS

Fulcrum Arts co-founder
Randi Solin, left, working
on a glass vessel


Stephen Stearns teaches clowning

Stephen Stearns
teaches clowning








An "Affair of the Arts" Celebrates Community

Theatrical players on Affair Day

Some theatrical players
getting into the act

On Saturday, March 7, join the Brattleboro Music Center, Fulcrum Arts, New England Center for Circus Arts, and New England Youth Theatre for the second annual Affair of the Arts. This collaboration of artists, acrobats, actors, and musicians -- a celebration of our vibrant arts community -- offers a full day and night for everyone to enjoy the arts!

On Saturday, from 11 am to 4 pm, the Affair of the Arts begins with a FREE day of engaging performances and hands-on workshops held at New England Youth Theatre (NEYT), located on the future site of the Brattleboro Arts Campus on Flat Street in Brattleboro.

On Saturday evening at 8 pm, the venue changes to the Latchis Theatre in downtown Brattleboro for a spectacular collaborative performance featuring all four host organizations.

Daytime activities, presented in collaboration with several other local arts organizations, offer opportunities to participate in New England Center for Circus Arts (NECCA) sample classes (ages 5-7, 8-12, and 13-adult), a Gould & Stearns clowning workshop, and the Brattleboro Music Center (BMC) Moving Into Music class with Annie Frelich (ages 1- 5); to take part in an Opera workshop with Jim Anderson and Hugh Keelan; sing Showtunes with Becky Graber; view open rehearsals of NEYT's "Just So Stories" and the BMC's Prima Orchestra; attend performances by NEYT's Theatre Adventure Program and the BMC's Music Adventure Program; work with clay with Fulcrum Arts potter Natalie Blake; "play" in the BMC's Instrument Petting Zoo; enjoy performances including a painting and sword dance by Cai Silver, NECCA's circus acts, Inez Zeller, and music by the BMC's Celtic Session; build paper cranes, enjoy drumming, get your face painted, and more.

The evening performance, loosely based on concepts from Lewis Hyde's book "The Gift," will explore the ways creativity and life forces are passed from person to person and family to family to form a flourishing community. This one-time-only performance celebrates the collaborative vision of the Arts in Brattleboro.

This show is sure to "thrill and delight all ages with circus, aerial, and fabric trapeze, live music, shadow puppetry, pottery throwing on stage, and Gould and Stearns comedy, all in a contiguous 90-minute ensemble of stage magic," says evening performance stage director and Fulcrum Arts co-founder Natalie Blake.

The show opens with a bird emerging from a clay vessel, created on stage by Blake, symbolically representing the birth of creativity. Through a collaboration of shadow puppetry, NEYT actors, and BMC musicians, we see creativity shared, moving, and growing as the bird moves and grows, eventually taking flight to ensure that creativity is honored and shared and does not become stagnant.

"The arts are a complex language, a way to communicate our innermost thoughts, our eurekas, our fears, our shames -- in a second, in a long hour, in a color, in a piece of clay, in a crescendo. They give us our voice," said Affair of the Arts event coordinator Kate Anderson. "On March 7, we weave a gorgeous mix of music, muscle, and mime -- of blue, of lifts, of simple funny, of storytelling."

Ceramic vessel by Natalie Blake

A ceramic vessel
by Natalie Blake

The Brattleboro Music Center, Fulcrum Arts (Solinglass and Natalie Blake Studios), New England Center for Circus Arts, and New England Youth Theatre are members of the planned Brattleboro Arts Campus and sponsor this event as a way to share the gift of the arts with our community.

Still in the planning phase, the Brattleboro Arts Campus is a unique development venture fueled by the energy and imagination of these organizations. Leaders imagine an arts campus where theater, music, circus arts, ceramics, and glassblowing take place in new and renovated facilities designed so that practical and creative synergies are fostered. Where form, gesture, and balance are a common language spoken by potters, glassblowers, actors, acrobats, and musicians. Where shared green space in the interior courtyard is filled with kids, adults, and visitors playing and enjoying casual and creative conversation in an environment that is uniquely Brattleboro.

The Affair of the Arts is a chance "to explore the collaborative relationship between the various organizations, thus illustrating to the community and to ourselves how joyous, inclusive, and successful that can be," explains NEYT managing director Rebecca Waxman.

On March 7, many local businesses will show support for the arts and this event by offering discounts to customers presenting Affair of the Arts evening performance tickets. Affair of the Arts posters in shop windows will indicate the business' participation and display their offer, including discounts at Gallery in the Woods, Sam's, Peter Havens, TJ Buckley, Verde, Shoe Tree, Delectable Mountain, Brown & Roberts, Brattleboro Books, Boomerang, Baker's, Altiplano, Twice Upon a Time, and several others.

Glass vessel by Randi Solin

A glass vessel
by Randi Solin

Note also that there are photographic exhibits throughout March at Amy's Bakery Arts Café and in the Latchis main theater relating to the "Affair of the Arts" collaborators. In-Sight Photography students and seasoned professionals have captured images of works in progress. A display of work by ceramic artist Natalie Blake and glassblower Randi Solin is open to the public in Latchis 4 during Gallery Walk on Friday, March 6, and again after the Saturday evening Affair of the Arts performance.

For more information contact Brattleboro Arts Campus organizations sponsoring the Affair of the Arts: Brattleboro Music Center, 802-257-4523, bmcvt.org; Fulcrum Arts, 802-254-9761, natalieblake.com/802-251-0989, solinglass.com; New England Center for Circus Arts, 802-254-9780, necenterforcircusarts.org; and New England Youth Theatre, 802-246-6398, neyt.org.

Daytime activities from 11 am to 4 pm at NEYT are FREE. Advance ticket purchase is recommended for the Latchis Theatre evening performance at 8 pm: $15, $10 for students 18 and under, and free for children under 2. Tickets are available from the Book Cellar (120 Main Street, Brattleboro) and the Brattleboro Music Center (802-257-4523), and also online at BrattleboroTix.com.

Copyright 2009, Gallery Walk, Brattleboro, Vermont

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