Thursday April 18, 2013

BRATTLEBORO -- The Brattleboro Museum & Art Center is throwing a party at Alyson’s Orchard in Walpole, N.H., on Friday, May 10, at 7 p.m.

Wine expert David Howell, co-author of "The Winemaker’s Dance: Exploring Terroir in the Napa Valley," will lead a tasting of French wines. Hardy Foard Catering of West Chesterfield, N.H., will serve a full dinner menu of savory, seasonal fare. There will be a silent and live auction of artwork, wine-related items, and travel opportunities. And those wishing to cut loose at the end of the night can dance to live music performed by Donald Saaf and the Bluebird Orchestra.

All proceeds from this "Apple Blossom Gala" support BMAC’s education programs. Tickets are $75 (or $560 for a table of eight) and may be purchased at or by calling 802-257-0124, ext. 101.

In addition to presenting contemporary art exhibits and a wide range of cultural events, BMAC runs a number of education programs for students and teachers throughout Vermont. "These programs do not receive a lot of publicity," said BMAC Director Danny Lichtenfeld, "but they are vital to the fulfillment our mission, which is to inspire, educate and engage people of all ages."

Each year, students and teachers visit the museum on guided tours. During the summer, BMAC runs a professional development workshop for educators in Visual Thinking Strategies, a teaching methodology that utilizes visual art to strengthen literacy and critical thinking skills. In collaboration with Windham County’s Early Education Services, BMAC administers a program called the Head Start Arts Partnership, which sends professional artists into 14 Head Start classrooms, where they lead hands-on art activities with hundreds of infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. For older students, BMAC is Vermont’s statewide affiliate for the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, a prestigious national program that recognizes teenagers with exceptional artistic and literary talent. "Through these programs," said Lichtenfeld, "we are enhancing the lives of thousands of kids and adults."

A resident of Walpole, Howell is a retired geologist whose research interests include the winemaking concept of "terroir." He is also a painter and a trustee of the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center.

Hardy Foard Catering was launched in 2010 by Culinary Institute of America-trained chef Gretchen Hardy and entrepreneur and food enthusiast Bo Foard. Their first big engagement was to cater the 2011 pre-inauguration party of Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin, which took place at BMAC.

The Bluebird Orchestra is a quartet from Saxtons River, led by Donald Saaf on vocals, guitar, and banjo. The group draws its influences from the Carter Family, the Incredible String Band, Kurt Weill and Thelonious Monk, while always keeping one foot in traditional American roots music.

Among those who have donated artwork and other items to be auctioned off at the May 10 event are filmmaker Ken Burns, artists Wolf Kahn, Stephen Hannock, Eric Aho, Josh Bernbaum, Marta Bernbaum, Jackie Abrams, Karen Kamenetzky, Petey Mitchell, Teta Hilsdon, Bob Taylor, Beth Krommes, Darren Honey, Far Niente Winery and Walpole Mountain View Winery.

Founded in 1972, the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center presents rotating exhibits of contemporary art, complemented by lectures, artist talks, film screenings and other public programs. The museum’s exhibits and gift shop are open Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, from 11a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Regular admission is $8 for adults, $6 for seniors, and $4 for students. Members and children under 6 are admitted free.

Located in historic Union Station at the intersection of Main Street and Routes 119 and 142, the museum is wheelchair-accessible. For more information, call 802-257-0124 or visit

Major support for BMAC is provided by its members and Entergy Vermont Yankee, Foard Panel, C&S Wholesale Grocers, Sam’s Outdoor Outfitters, People’s United Bank, Brattleboro Ford Subaru and Whetstone Station Restaurant & Brewery.


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