ARTstravaganza: A weekend of celebration in Windham County'


BRATTLEBORO >> As new president of the all-volunteer Arts Council of Windham County, Shanta L. Evans-Crowley faces two challenges. The first: enlightening people that her organization exists. The second: sharing its wide array of mediums and map points.

"I know all too often it's easy to get overly focused on Brattleboro," she says. "But there are some great things happening all over the county."

Cue ARTstravaganza, a three-day "kinetic, visual and aural feast of arts and culture" set for May 6-8 at venues throughout southeastern Vermont.

"We wanted a way of celebrating all of the vibrance and artistic culture that Windham County has to offer," Evans-Crowley says. "This gives a bigger stage for illustrating that."

The event will kick off on Friday, May 6, with the Windham Southeast Supervisory Union's Diversity Day Celebration at the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center, where the New England Center for Circus Arts will perform at 5:45 p.m., 6:30 p.m. and 7:15 p.m.

Brattleboro's first-Friday Gallery Walk will feature events in and outside the downtown River Garden, including a slide show of 550 images from 70 Windham County artists, as well as performances by the Moon Dogs at 5:30 p.m., New England Youth Theatre at 6 p.m., Georgette Adjie and the Singo Dance Troupe at 6:30 p.m., Al Amal Belly Dance Company at 7 p.m. and Celebration Brass Band at 7:30 p.m.

An "Our Bodies, Our Myths" program Friday at 7 p.m. at Brattleboro's Hooker-Dunham Theater will feature local poets and performers Grainne Buchanan, Megan Buchanan, Verandah Porche, Diana Whitney and Jana Zeller.

Events will continue on Saturday, May 7, with an Art Market from noon to 4 p.m. at the River Garden and a "Creative Convergence Cabaret" at 8 p.m. at Brattleboro's 118 Elliot, and on Sunday, May 8, with a screening of the 1916 movie "A Vermont Romance" — the first feature film made in the state — at 4:30 p.m. at Brattleboro's Latchis Theatre.

Throughout the weekend, many Windham County artists and craftspeople will open their studios to the public. Several members of Brattleboro-West Arts, for example, are set to welcome visitors on Mother's Day from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

"With this event," Evans-Crowley says, "we are hoping to provide a showcase for all of the vibrant talent that Windham County has to offer and prompt new partnerships and collaborations."

ARTstravaganza — sponsored by the Richards Group, Shiatsu School of Vermont, Write Action and River Valley Credit Union — is working to list all events in a printed program and on the Arts Council of Windham County's Facebook page.

"This is a great opportunity to remind people that we're here and what we do," Evans-Crowley says. "We have a long history of individuals being inspired and creative here. This is our moment to give a stage to all, whether it's visual or voice or movement, in any way, shape or form."

Kevin O'Connor is a Reformer contributor and correspondent who can be contacted at


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