ANNOUNCING THE 2020 BRATTLEBORO TOWN ARTS FUND GRANTEES
ACWC is pleased to announce the award of $15,000 through the Brattleboro Town Arts Fund to support six community-focused creative initiatives. The six grantees were selected from a competitive field of 39 proposals received in this first year of the Town Arts Fund (TAF) program. View the full press release.
The 2020 TAF grantees are:
Animating Adoption Multimedia artist Johanna Dery and clinical social worker/psychotherapist Tamara Evanson, both adoptive parents, will work with a group Brattleboro-area children adopted through the foster care system to create a short, animated film. The project culminates in a public film screening and sharing of the film as an outreach tool for State and local adoption agencies and non-profits.
The Rural LGBTQ Voices Project documents LGBTQ histories in Brattleboro and Southern Vermont to create connections among generations of community members. Out in the Open – in collaboration with Keene State College, Last Call oral history project, and Sandglass Theater – will conduct oral history interviews, host community events, and produce a digital archive of interviews, podcast series, and live performance based on these stories.
120 Birge Street Arts and Friends Collective was founded in 2019 and is a consensus-driven group united in their common need for safe and accessible creative and community space. TAF support will enable a capacity-building investment in AV equipment to expand the collective’s community engagement and performance programming- including shows, events, and workshops that showcase local creativity and projects.
Photographer Ezra Distler’s The Brattleboro Faces Project is an ongoing series of portraits that shed a loving and inclusive light on all members of our community. TAF support will allow the project to expand into new work focusing on homeless and at-risk members of our community.
Art for Social Change is a program of the River Gallery School of Art that provides free art classes and workshops to marginalized community members. TAF support will enable the program to expand class offerings at the Brattleboro Free Library, work with youth at Snow Block apartments to create artwork for their communal living space, and offer an art workshop for participants of the Big Brothers, Big Sisters program.
Water Way(s) is a multifaceted art-making and educational experience centered around the Whetstone Brook in West Brattleboro. The project will engage the community in a series of site-based events that integrate Indigenous knowledge, environmental education, and oral histories to explore how we might co-evolve with the Whetstone. The project is a partnership between the Human Connection Project, Brattleboro Housing Partnerships, Vermont teaching artists, Connecticut River Conservancy, Bonnyvale Environmental Education Center, Academy School, and Vermont River Conservancy.
In selecting this cohort, the panel aimed to support a wide array of creative projects and to prioritize funding for underrepresented and marginalized artists, organizations, and individuals. Projects were evaluated based on criteria set forth in the TAF application and guidelines, and panelists took an expansive approach to considering quality, innovation, public benefit, and access.
The 2020 TAF selection panelists included Martin Cohn, Cohn Public Relations; Zon Eastes, member of TAF advisory committee; Madeline Fan, independent artist; Sue Fillion, Planning Director for the Town of Brattleboro; Victoria Heisler, ACWC board member and Executive Director of In-sight Photography Project; Desmond Peeples, Communications Director for Brattleboro Words Project; Jon Potter, Executive Director of Latchis Arts; and Emily Zervas, Library Director at Putney Public Library.
Town funding for TAF was first proposed at the 2019 Representative Town Meeting. A community working group developed the TAF application process and guidelines, which was unanimously approved by the Brattleboro Selectboard in August 2019. The inaugural TAF application cycle opened in November 2019. ACWC, with support from the TAF advisory committee, is responsible for ongoing administration of the Fund, application process, and project oversight.
The TAF advisory committee, comprised of artists, teachers, arts administrators, and other community members, has steered TAF through its creation process and will continue to provide guidance in the program’s implementation and future direction. The advisory committee is driven by the belief that public funding for the
arts will enhance an already rich cultural landscape in Brattleboro, and that creative and collaborative projects can advance a wide array of community quality of life goals. Those interested in getting involved with the advisory committee can contact email@example.com.
In launching the program’s inaugural year of funding, the ACWC is proud and excited to watch these projects take shape and tremendously grateful for the energy of local artists and organizations and the investment in the arts supported by the people and Town of Brattleboro. ACWC will be hosting a Town Arts Fund Celebration on Wednesday, March 25, 5-7pmat A Vermont Table (22-26 High Street); the event will be open to the public, and will be an opportunity to celebrate the TAF grantees as well as the range of creative proposals received this year.
Updates about the TAF project and related programming can be found at www.artswindhamcounty.org/tafor through ACWC’s social media channels www.facebook.com/artswindhamcountyandwww.instagram.com/artswindhamcounty.