Photos: Under the stars ... and between the spaces

Retreat Farm in Brattleboro received a $4,000 Arts Impact grant from the Vermont Arts Council to support the free public summer concert series "Music Under the Stars."

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MONTPELIER — Storytelling workshops that engage families of children with disabilities and performances of new work by Vermont musicians and composers are among the projects that received Arts Impact grants from the Vermont Arts Council.

Some of the awarded projects involve creative place-making to re-envision public spaces and strengthen community identity through the arts, such as collaborative murals in downtown Bellows Falls and Brattleboro, as well as community celebration events in under-resourced rural areas with limited access to music and arts.

This year, in response to the financial hardship many arts organizations face due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Arts Council added an operating grant option.

All applicants, whether they requested a project grant or operating support, were required to demonstrate meaningful community partnerships and positive impacts on arts participants, especially, underrepresented groups.

“This year’s Arts Impact grantees are engaging people across Vermont in imaginative and exciting ways,” said Arts Council Executive Director Karen Mittelman. “They demonstrate the power of the arts to deeply touch individual lives and to make a difference in the cultural life of communities across our state.”

A total of 70 applications were reviewed by an external panel of art professionals. Twenty-two grants were awarded — including 12 for operating support and 10 for specific projects — for a total of $66,824 in funding. Art Impact grants range from $1,000 to $4,000.

Funded activities must be completed between September 1, 2021 and August 31, 2022.

The Council’s grant programs are made possible by funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, the state of Vermont, and private donors.

Vermont nonprofits, municipalities, and schools can apply for the grants, which support projects that broaden access to arts and cultural activities, engaging individuals with limited access due to age, ability, income, race, geography, or other factors.

Thanks to additional support this year from the Vermont Community Foundation’s Arts Endowment Fund and other private donations, the Arts Impact program was able to expand its support.

For more information about the Arts Impact grant program, visit https://www.vermontartscouncil.org/grants/organizations/arts-impact.

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Awards include:

• Greater Falls Community Justice Center (Bellows Falls) — $3,000 to support Parenting with Respect participants and their children as they paint a mural in downtown Bellows Falls with artist Mark Ragonese

• Media Hour (East Arlington) — $4,000 to support the production and distribution of a short pilot video for public access TV about Steffen Gillom and his experience as a queer black man in Vermont

• Retreat Farm (Brattleboro) — $4,000 to support the free public summer concert series Music Under the Stars

• The Root Social Justice Center (Brattleboro) — $4,000 to support a mural collaboration between Vermont artists of color and a youth group focused on racial justice and healing

• Art in the Neighborhood (Brattleboro), $2,000

• Epsilon Spires (Brattleboro), $3,000

• Get Thee to the Funnery (Brattleboro), $3,000

• Theatre Adventure (Brattleboro), $4,000

• Vermont Arts Exchange (North Bennington), $3,000

• Vermont Jazz Center (Brattleboro), $2,000