Vermont calendar trades postcard views for people

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BRATTLEBORO — Everyone's Books co-owner Nancy Braus was stocking Vermont calendars one fall when, leafing through a plethora of postcard views, she noticed something missing.

"Year upon year we have looked at everything available — churches and covered bridges and colored leaves — and thought, `None of these have people.' And year upon year we'd say to ourselves, `This has got to end.'"

That's why Braus has created a "We Are Vermont!" 2018 calendar to put a face on the state — and raise money for a cause.

The bookseller established her business in 1984 to offer a counterculture alternative to an increasingly chain-store world. Step into her downtown storefront and you'll find paperbacks, periodicals and posters championing progressive politics, cultural diversity and environment awareness.

"I'm always trying to convince people that activism is not just the right and moral thing to do, there's a lot of joy in being involved," she says. "I thought it would be great to have a calendar that would honor that spirit."

Envisioning a 12-month wall calendar, Braus sent out a call for photographs.

"Our goal," the request said, "is to share the creativity, passion, diversity and progressive activism of Vermonters through beautiful color images."

In response, people submitted pictures of everything from Brattleboro kindergartner Lucy Mnookin holding a "Rise Together" sign to U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders meeting constituents to the nearly 20,000 Vermonters circling the Statehouse last January at the Montpelier Women's March.

Braus gave the photos to Dede Cummings, a Brattleboro designer and founder of Green Writers Press. Cummings, in turn, passed on her graphic work to Springfield Printing, which published the finished product using recycled paper and soy-based ink.

Braus and Cummings have donated their services and supplies so all money raised will benefit the grassroots climate change group 350Vermont. People can find the $15.95 calendar at several independent bookstores or by contacting Everyone's Books at (802) 254-8160.

Vermonters also can submit images and input for an anticipated 2019 edition.

"How can this calendar," it asks inside, "be more beautiful and more useful as a tool to help us work together to create a healthier, more sustainable, and more joyful state and world?"

"We plan to do it annually," Braus confirms. "Hopefully we can create an ongoing source of funds as well as something people look forward to."

Kevin O'Connor is a Reformer contributor and VTDigger.org correspondent who can be contacted at kevinoconnorvt@gmail.com.

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