Celebrating the Area's Young Artists
This month there are several new and returning venues participating in Gallery Walk. Particularly exciting is an expanded emphasis on art by children and youth, apt for the long-awaited spring season. The area's annual Student Art Month (see story below) began in March with exhibits by elementary school students in store windows and other public spaces around the region; the annual High School show is opening at A Candle in the Night during Gallery Walk and will travel to Bellows Falls mid-month for that community's monthly 3rd Friday Art Walk -- well worth the short trip! In addition, the national Month of the Young Child celebration in April has spurred local organizers to arrange for new displays of artwork by the very young at The River Garden and other downtown venues (see story below for complete details). Other Gallery Walk stops showing work by area youth and college students include Pathways, the In-Sight Photography Project, and the Boys & Girls Club. Please make an effort to visit these venues to show your support of programs that encourage creative expression by the younger generation.
Student Art Month
The Arts Council of Windham County initiated a celebration of student art in March 1983. At that time, there was a feeling that the community had very little knowledge of the scope of the arts activities in Windham County schools. Area art teachers, working with parent arts coordinators and the Arts Council of Windham County, came up with the idea of a public showcase for student art work by promoting exhibits that covered art produced at both the elementary and high school levels.
In the early years of Student Art Month celebrations, there were exhibits and performances at Brooks Memorial Library. Entertainment by area school children included the Brattleboro Honors Band, the Advanced Orchestra of the Brattleboro Public Schools String Program, and the Vernon Marionettes. Short sketches were performed by participants in a drama workshop taught by an artist-in-residence, a program sponsored by the Arts Council of Windham County. In later years, Student Art Month festivities included a performance by student musicians held at the Walnut Street School auditorium under the direction of Peter Amidon. In addition to the exhibit at Brooks Memorial Library, displays of student art have expanded to include various store windows along Main Street and in libraries and other public spaces in many towns around the county. A number of elementary schools in Brattleboro plan Arts Nights during March and April.
Since the inception of this annual celebration of student creativity, the Brattleboro Board of Selectmen has declared March "Student Art Month," and for many years Student Art Month banners have been hung across Main Street. The program involves over 30 elementary school art teachers representing some 40 public and private schools, as well as the homeschoolers, in Windham County. Because some of the best work by older students is on display in Montpelier during March, the High School portion of Student Art Month is celebrated in April and May. This traveling exhibit involves 6 to 8 public and private secondary schools and will be displayed this year in both Brattleboro and Bellows Falls. The high school show is supported by a grant from the Brattleboro Savings & Loan Association and receives corporate support from Zephyr Designs and Clear Solutions.
For more information, contact the Arts Council of Windham County, 69 Main Street, Brattleboro, VT 05301 or call Marie Procter at (802) 254-2115.
The Month of the Young Child
The Early Childhood Council of Windham County will celebrate the Month of the Young Child in April, kicking off the festivities with a children's art show opening during Gallery Walk at the Robert H. Gibson River Garden, sponsored in collaboration with Building a Better Brattleboro and the Arts Council of Windham County. Area agencies and programs serving young children will offer activities, refreshments, and information at the River Garden from 5:30 to 8:30 pm. Artwork will be also be shown in a number of galleries and storefronts, including Vermont Artisan Designs (upstairs gallery space), Gallery in the Woods, and the Hooker-Dunham Youth Gallery (accessed from the main foyer in the alleyway).
On Saturday, April 24, the Early Childhood Council will host the Crabgrass Puppet Theatre at 10:30 am at the Robert H. Gibson River Garden. A performance of Anansi, Spiderman of Africa! A Tangled Web of Trickster Tales will be offered to the community free of charge. The Crabgrass Puppet Theatre, founded by Jamie Keithline and Bonny Hall of Halifax, Vt., has won critical acclaim for its performances, including the prestigious Citation of Excellence from the American Center of the Union Internationale de la Marionette or the production of Anansi.
These and other special child-friendly events, including an open house of child care facilities and a sing-along for young children, will be listed in the calendar section of the April/May issue of Parent Express. This free newspaper is a local resource for parents and caregivers of young children and is available throughout Windham and Cheshire counties and at all Month of the Young Child events.
The Month of the Young child, a national celebration sponsored by the National Association for the education of Young Children, was first established in 1971 in recognition that early childhood experiences (birth to age 8) lay the foundation for success in school and later life.
The Early Childhood Council of Windham county is an open-membership community council that advocates for the full development of Windham County's young children. The Council invites the greater Brattleboro community to join in the celebration of young children and to promote and recognize the high quality programs and services that meet their needs.
Copyright 2004, Gallery Walk, Brattleboro, Vermont