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Jon Potter, executive director of Latchis Arts and Latchis Corporation is one of the panelists in today's discusson.

BRATTLEBORO >> The Southern Vermont Dance Festival will host a discussion the creative economy and access in the arts with gubernatorial candidate Matt Dunne and panelists, Brenda Lynn Siegel and Jon Potter on Thursday at 630 p.m. at 118 Elliot St. The opening reception of the 4th annual Southern Vermont Dance Festival will have food and a meet and greet with this seasons choreographers and will be followed by a panel discussion. The Southern Vermont Dance Festival began as a response to Tropical Storm Irene and the Brooks House Fire as a way to celebrate Dance Excellence, show off southern Vermont's performing arts community and as a long-term economic driver for the community.

Gubernatorial candidate Matt Dunne is poised as a politician, a former employee at google and with training in the arts himself to talk about all three.

"The arts play an important role in keeping Vermont vibrant and our economy strong – just look at the significant impact that professional arts education has played in our state's economy. The Southern Vermont Dance Festival, the New England Children's Theater, the Center for Cartoon Studies, the New England Center for Circus Arts, Vermont Studio Center, Marlboro Music Festival, and Vermont College of Fine Arts are major economic and cultural drivers, and we're fortunate to have them in our communities. Though the arts are job creators in themselves, they also make our communities more desirable to creative individuals and entrepreneurs who have a choice in where they live and grow their businesses." Says Dunne


Also joining the panel will be the Festival's own Director, Brenda Lynn Siegel. Brenda Lynn Siegel is Co-founder and Director of IBIT Dance Company. Siegel received her bachelor's degree in dance and composition from Hampshire College and is the Executive and Artistic Director of the Southern Vermont Dance Festival. Siegel, a trained dancer and choreographer has taught and choreographed around the country and locally.

A "dream job" is how Jon Potter describes his role as the executive director of Latchis Arts and Latchis Corporation. A lifelong amateur performer and singer, Jon continues to feed his musical soul as a member of the Blanche Moyse Chorale, a program of the Brattleboro Music Center. For more than 20 years, Jon was a journalist, covering everything from cops and crime to local government and sports, but his real professional passion was writing about the arts, which he did for 12 years at the Brattleboro Reformer as award-winning editor of its Ovation arts section. In that role, he worked closely with the Latchis over the years to support events, programs, plans and campaigns. Along the way, he realized he wanted to do more to nurture the arts here and the community of Brattleboro – the vibrant, funky town that has been his home since 1998. Now he leads the important work of taking care of a building which has been a community cornerstone since 1938 and making sure the Latchis is always and forever a key player in the area's lively arts scene. No wonder he calls it a "dream job."

In addition to the panel discussion, in the first hour of the reception many of the 2016 choreographers will be present to mingle with, discuss their role at SVDF and their role in the dance world. One can network with them and learn more about them as artists. The work of a choreographer often goes without deeper knowledge of the artist behind the work.. Festival director and choreographer says "Choreographing is like being the painter, the dancers are the paint, the stage is the canvass. Choreographers are painting a picture, writing a story, designing space. Yet choreography is momentary, it is fleeting, it never looks exactly as it did the last time and it often disappears after it is shown." To get the opportunity to talk and learn more about the artists behind the work is truly incredible.

Purchase your tickets in advance at for $15 or $25 at the door.