Arts Council elects new president, honors Wallens-Penford

At this year's annual meeting, the Arts Council of Windham County (ACWC) recognized Joy Wallens-Penford for her many years of organizing and promoting Brattleboro's monthly Gallery Walk. Wallens-Penford has been overseeing Gallery Walk, a project of the Arts Council of Windham County, since 2001.

At this year's annual meeting, the Arts Council of Windham County (ACWC) recognized Joy Wallens-Penford for her many years of organizing and promoting Brattleboro's monthly Gallery Walk. Wallens-Penford has been overseeing Gallery Walk, a project of the Arts Council of Windham County, since 2001.

The council also elected new officers and as of Monday Oct. 26, Shanta Lee Evans-Crowley was elected as ACWC President taking over from John Dimick. Dimick served the council for one year and has transitioned out of his role as ACWC President and trustee.

Shanta Lee is a multi-faceted professional with experience and expertise in: community outreach, leadership/management, marketing/branding, event planning, and building partnerships. She has launched several community initiatives in Connecticut. Shanta is also an artist cultivating her loves-bellydance, photography, and writing. Her work has been featured on Ms. and along with regular features in The Commons and the Brattleboro Reformer.


Shanta is currently the Director of Development for Windham Child Care Association and coordinates the Slow Living Summit in addition to the marketing buzz she has created for several clients. Shanta Lee is also the co-founder of a new site WildlyCreative.World, a site connecting creatives around the globe.

The council is also looking for anyone interested in serving as trustee. If you have any questions or if you are interested in learning more about the council, contact Shanta Lee Evans-Crowley at or by calling 802-275-8152.


Tony Barrand and Keith Murphy concert at Brooks Library Renowned folk musicians Tony Barrand and Keith Murphy will perform a benefit concert in the Main Reading Room of Brooks Memorial Library, 224 Main St., Brattleboro, on Friday, Nov. 6 at 7 p.m. They will feature songs and ballads composed by James Atwood and family members during the mid-19th century in West Dover.

The Atwood collection includes dramatic ballads, romantic and funny songs about domestic life and marriage, and children's songs. Tony and Keith will sing "Jubilee Jim Fisk," a song about Brattleboro's own Jim Fisk, notorious Robber Baron of the Gilded Age.

The Atwood songs were initially published by Edith Barnes Sturgis in 1919 as Songs from the Hills of Vermont. Through connections with Vermont folk artist Margaret MacArthur, descendants and friends of the Atwood and Sturgis families, Keith and Tony have tracked down additional tunes and lyrics to perform.

Advance tickets are available at the Library's Main Circulation Desk, or at the door on the evening of the event. The ticket price is $10 each and $5 for children under 10. Cash or checks made payable to the "Friends of Brooks Memorial Library" only. For further information, please contact the Library at 254-5290. The Library is located at 224 Main Street in Brattleboro.

The mission of the Friends of the Library is to support the Library through advocacy, public relations and fundraising. Funds raised through concerts and other events help support the Library's First Wednesday lecture series, technology updates, Children's Room activities, and purchase of library materials


Opening reception for Petria Mitchell's solo exhibit

On Thursday, Nov. 5 from 5 to 7 p.m. at Mitchell • Giddings Fine Arts, 183 Main Street, Brattleboro, the public is invited to an opening reception for a solo exhibition of Petria Mitchell's newest body of work. "Recent Work" will continue on exhibit through Nov. 29. An artist talk is scheduled for Sunday, Nov. 15 from 4 to 6 p.m.

The gallery is especially pleased to present Mitchell's exhibit, her first solo show since founding Mitchell • Giddings Fine Arts one year ago with her husband, co-owner, Jim Giddings.

"Lush", "moody", and "ethereal", are some of the words that have been used to describe Mitchell's painting over the last 30 years. This exhibit will feature her semi-abstract reflections on landscape where the artist's emphasis on heightened color and vibrant brushwork create a sense of movement and place even as the scenes are fabricated and imaginary.

Mitchell Giddings Fine Arts features innovative works by midcareer and established artists in a variety of media. MGFA is open Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Youth bands to battle during Gallery Walk Area youth bands will compete at Youth Services' Battle of the Bands at the River Garden on Friday, Nov. 6, during Gallery Walk night, from 7 to 10 p.m.

The public is encouraged to attend and vote for their favorite group with their applause. Competing bands to date are: Negative Space, The Regulars, Wicked Thirsty, Raspberry Jam, Sometime Sunday, and Nomad vs. Settler. Opening the event will be a performance by the indie-rock band Snaz, which helped get their start as winners of the Battle of the Bands in 2012.

Judging the Battle are musicians Aaron Chesley, Lisa McCormick, Spencer Crispe, and youth judges Dharma Ramirez and Nina Cates.

First prize for Youth Services' Battle of the Bands is a full day (up to 10 hours) of professional recording time donated by Guilford Sound, valued at $1500. A residential recording studio retreat on 300 private acres in Guilford, the studio is owned by sound engineer David Snyder. The 1st place winners will also receive 20 custom-designed T-shirts of their band logo, donated by Green Tees.

Second prize is two-hour rehearsal and band coaching session at Headroom Stages, a local musical venue at 17 Elliot Street in Brattleboro, VT.

Third prize is a vocal coaching session with Samirah Evans, a professional jazz and blues vocalist who performs regionally.

The cover charge is $4 and includes refreshments and many door prizes. This event is underwritten by Supreme Fitness, Hazel Restaurant and Whetstone Station Restaurant and Brewery. For more information, contact Youth Services at (802) 257-0361 or visit

Roots on the Rails plans first live music train Roots on the Rails will present The Green Mountain Express on Nov. 6-8. Legendary Texas songwriter Jimmie Dale Gilmore, joined by Syd Straw of Weston, Winterpills of Northampton, Mass., and Meadows Brothers of Chester, Conn., will provide a powerful lineup of music on a four-car vintage train on Saturday, Nov. 7.

The round-trip train ride, which is four-hours each way, will climb over the Green Mountains, past covered bridges, villages, farms and gorges while guests listen to the artists perform 45-minute sets.

The rest of The Green Mountain Express weekend includes performances for guests at Main Street Arts in Saxtons River on Friday evening Nov. 6, and Popolo restaurant in Bellows Falls on Saturday evening, Nov. 7. Weekend lodging packages are available, as well as individual train tickets for Saturday's performances.

For more information, visit

Sandglass Theater presents 'Bitter Fruits and Combat Boots' On Nov. 6 and 7 at 7:30 p.m. Bitter Fruits and Combat Boots: a Hip Hopera breaks new ground as Redwing Blackbird Theater's hand puppeteer, Amy Trompetter, collaborates with East Harlem rap poet, Not4Prophet. The innocence of the puppet is well paired with the justified rage that gives birth to Not4Prophet's howls of poetry. His songs weave history into the puppetry dialogue. The story moves from creation to expulsion from the Garden of Paradise into a New World Order, and through Harlem ghetto parables to the Apocalypse ushering in a utopian society.

The vertical hand puppet stage features painted backdrops reminiscent of European Cantastoria, sung picture stories. Puppetry text sources include Medieval Mystery Plays, Punch & Judy, Black Lives Matter and a Kazakh wonder tale.

Tickets are $16 general and $13 for students and seniors and are available online at Reservations can also be made by calling the theater at 802-387-4051. Tickets are payable by cash or check at the door. Getting tickets in advance is highly encouraged as seating is limited. Sandglass Theater is a wheelchair accessible theater located in the heart of Putney.

Darlene Rutnik/Pigtails artist of the the month Darlene Rutnik/Pigtails is a folk artist, using acrylic paints, on wood and canvas. She also is a potter who using glazes pai on the pottery she has thrown and fired herself at her home. Darlene takes her inspiration and style from Rufus Porter a folk artist from the 1800's in New England. Most recently she has enjoyed learning how to use a 1890 Legare sock knitting machine.

In addition to her paintings and pottery, Rutnik/Pigtails invites all to come to see this unique machine at the Wardsboro Public Library on the evening of her reception, Nov. 24, 7 pm. She will provide a demonstration of what she has learned so far with the history of these machines also available.

The Library is located at 170 Main Street in Wardsboro. Open Mondays and Thursdays 10 a.m. to 1 p.m,; Tuesdays and Wednesdays 2 to 7 p.m.; and Saturdays 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.. For more information about the Artist of the Month Exhibitions at the Library, contact Chris Holden 802-896-6292.