I am taking this opportunity to update you on where Vermont Arts Exchange (VAE) stands as well as to share a short video that highlights some of VAE’s efforts to get us all through this crisis.
We have been working hard to pay our teaching artists and our studio bills with minimal income since mid-March. I am happy to say we have secured a Paycheck Protection Program Loan and have applied for a Vermont Arts Council Relief Grant. Receiving both would enable VAE to keep its doors open for the next few months. Like the rest of the world, we must wait to see how long this lasts and how deep of a financial impact this has on what we do. People and businesses are struggling everywhere and VAE is no different.
It’s as if life as a community arts organization came crashing to a halt when we lost our participants and our audience, and we were left with empty studios. We had to get creative with hardly any income. We’ve tried to continue to do what we do best – engage communities through the arts – but with an altogether new set of parameters.
The video above was filmed Saturday, April 25th here in North Bennington by our good friend Michael Beach. VAE held the first (and hopefully the last) stay in your car village parade titled, “Six Feet Apart, Together in Heart”. Over 100 vehicles came out with signs and decorations on cars and front lawns. Families shared their thoughts, hopes and messages of gratitude to essential workers, teachers and parents. One parent said, “It was such a tremendous boost for my family — the boys NEEDED to see everyone.” “It was healing and uplifting,” said another. Partnerships reunited, including the local Fire and Police Department and Bennington College, to McCullough Library and The Norshaft Lions.
VAE will soon unveil more community engagement projects. One exhibit will express gratitude for the local school district’s Abbey Food Group and DuFour Bus Co. for producing and delivering just under 3000 free lunches a day. Another is a call-and-response project addressing the questions “How do we want to ‘Begin Again’ and “What is the new normal we want to have?”
We have been here for you for 26 years and could certainly use your help right now.
Please consider a donation now by clicking on the button below. Any amount is appreciated! Please accept our sincerest gratitude if you have already donated.
Please continue to stay safe, strong and creative!
My best, Matthew Perry, Executive Director, VAE
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VAE = Art + Community.
Located in the historic village of North Bennington, Vermont, VAE carries out its mission through art education programs and workshops both public and private as well as exhibitions and performances which present local, national and international artists.
We are committed to teaching creativity to young children on up to our elders. We combine these groups through our Intergenerational Arts programs, which allow for the arts to become a strong healing modality uniting creativity with compassion.
VAE utilizes the arts to engage with communities and create long lasting partnerships with health care sites, public & private schools and many not for-profit organizations and businesses. We have been awarded and recognized on a local, national and international level for this work.