EXPOsion! Bennington 2018
The Bennington Area Arts Council’s signature event took place in its third rendition on Wednesday, April 25th at Mt. Anthony Country Club. Officially marking the start of spring for the regional creative sector, EXPOsion! Bennington 2018 brought together the large and the small players from throughout the Shires of Vermont to unveil their unique cultural highlights for the upcoming summer and fall seasons.
The event started with a new professional development session titled Advertising in the Multimedia World. Exhibitors and industry associates were invited to join a panel discussion addressing the challenges and options available to them when trying to reach their existing and potential audiences in today’s myriad of media choices with limited means. Arts Council Board member Alexina Jones of Saratoga Arts interviewed three panelists rich with advertising industry experience and knowledge of the arts organizations. Rita Fucillo, publisher of Art New England headquartered in Boston represented print magazines. Beth Maturevich, the Digital Marketing Specialist for New England Newspapers brought the perspective of the western New England newspaper chain and their foray into a sophisticated connection of content and marketing on the internet. Shaftsbury, VT native, Melissa Kees, now the underwriting manager for WAMC-Northeast Public Radio in Albany spoke of her techniques in messaging niche program listeners in 7 states through cooperative support on radio and internet broadcasts. The panel shared a message of community engagement and flexibility toward a wide range of clients and client needs. Catamount Access TV recorded the discussion and it can be found at BenningtonAreaArtsCouncil.org.
The public exhibit opened at noon with a strong flow of visitors eager to great the exhibitors and see what was coming up. The largest crowd of the day was in the house for keynote speaker, Julia Dixon. The Arts Council’s premier announcement was the beginning of the process to formulate a comprehensive cultural plan for the region, and Julia Dixon will be the one writing that plan. Ms. Dixon explained to an attentive audience how she would be visiting in the near future to interact and gather input, and how a cultural plan can transform a community’s economy, infrastructure, cross sector interactions and overall performance.
The afternoon rolled on as organizations layered their plans for 2018. Greg Van Houten of GVH Studio, a signature sponsor of the event, announced a collaboration with The Bennington Area Arts Council to bring The Starline Rhythm Boys, featuring Bennington’s Billy Bratcher, to Oldcastle Theater on October 27. The Town Of Bennington, the other signature sponsor announced the beginning of the Putnam Block reconstruction for this summer. The block is designed to be a centerpiece for community activity and will surround Oldcastle Theater, which now offers year-round programming and events.Their 47th season of equity theatre opens June 15 with The Almost True and Truly Remarkable Adventures of Israel Potter. The Oldcastle company was flanked by Weston Playhouse announcing Weston New Works Festival May 18-26 and 81 years of live theatre. Not to be outdone was The Dorset Players Theatre Company celebrating 90 years on stage with an anniversary Gala on June 1 and a grand finale to the season bringing The 25thAnnual Putnam County Spelling Bee to the Dorset stage, opening May 18.
Adding to the excitement this year were both Southern Vermont College and Bennington College and the reopening of two area treasures. Southern Vermont College is opening The Laumeister Art Center, formerly the Bennington Center for the Arts. Gifted to the college on January 1, this addition to the campus brings enormous possibilities in education, performing arts and visual arts presentations. An exhibition of New York Time cartoon original art will kick off the reopened galleries this summer. Bennington College has been similarly entrusted with the Robert Frost House Museum across town, and is reimagining the space and its visitor experience. The house opens May 3 and the property includes hiking trails through Frost’s famous woods.
Throughout the room were regional anchors like The Bennington Museum, currently hosting the Bennington Collects exhibit and previewing two summer art shows; Cambium (Into The Woods): works by Bill Botzow on June 2 and Crash To Creativity: The New Deal In Vermont opening June 30. The Four Corners North creative triad was also in force with Bennington Potters, Catamount Glass and Tap House and The Hawkins House inviting gusts to their musical events, poetry slams, Monster Midnight Madness celebration and the Home Brew Festival on Arts Weekend, August 4. Sonatina Piano Camps and partnership concerts at The Laumeister Center were unveiled alongside art camps at The Vermont Arts Exchange The North Bennington Outdoor Sculpture Show and The Left Bank shared a space full of community art activities and The inaugural Green Mountain Bluegrass and Roots Festival released an all start four day lineup for August 16-19 at Hunter Park in Manchester. Bennington Downtown will again host the Mayfest Craft Fair on Memorial Day weekend’s Saturday, while the Bennington Area Chamber confirmed plans for the Southern Vermont Garlic and Herb Festival’s return for Labor Day weekend. Craft Producers and The Bennington Area Arts Council also featured the Bennington Arts Weekend events featuring the Southwestern Vermont Crafts Fair on August 3-5 in Bennington’s Camelot Village.
There is truly something for everybody in and around the valley. Check any of these organization’s web sites or check the calendar at www.BenningtonAreaArtsCouncil.org for more details.
at Southern Vermont College
at Bennington College