Town arts fund approved to promote 'vibrancy, diversity'

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BRATTLEBORO — A town arts fund will make money available for projects contributing "positively to the community and to the vibrancy and diversity of Brattleboro's arts and cultural landscape," according to application guidelines.

"Through our own individual conversations with friends and colleagues and through our community outreach efforts, we've already seen a very positive response to and interest in the fund," Chrissy Lee, a member of the Town Arts Fund Working Group and the Arts Council of Windham County, said Tuesday during the Select Board meeting. "We're also seeing the seeds of new ideas and new energy around what collaborative and community-based projects might look like."

Select Board Chairwoman Brandie Starr called the proposal "fantastic" before the board approved the allocation of $15,000 to the program.

The Brattleboro Town Arts Fund will provide between $500 to $5,000 to projects, according to application guidelines. Said projects might investigate social and quality-of-life issues, highlight the community's qualities and assets and involve community building or collaboration. They must be based in Brattleboro.

All art mediums will be considered. Applicants can be artists, collectives, cultural organizers, creative organizations and businesses.

The working group started meeting regularly since April to draft a plan, criteria and application materials. A month earlier at annual Representative Town Meeting, reps approved an allocation of $15,000 for art projects.

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The application process is anticipated to open in October. Informational sessions will be held between October and November.

The hope is to select finalists in January and have projects start by March. The target date for the projects to be completed is October 31, 2020.

A selection panel will be made up of members of the Town Arts Committee and Arts Council of Windham County, artists, cultural organizers, local business owners and residents.

Under a separate agenda item but related to public art, the Select Board approved the closure of Elliot Street for about three hours on Sept. 8 so community members can finish painting a mural on the retaining wall at the west end of Elliot Street. It had been proposed by the FEET Neighbors. The acronym stands for Frost, Elliot, Elm Triangle.

The group said it has been working on safety issues, beautification and community building since 2011. Planning for the mural began last year. Starr and board member Daniel Quipp said the artwork looked nice so far.

Reach staff writer Chris Mays at cmays@reformer.com, at @CMaysBR on Twitter and 802-254-2311, ext. 273.


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