The story of some of the work that the Preservation Trust of Vermont has done in the village of North Bennington, Vermont with a particular focus on the Vermont Arts Exchange and the redevelopment of the Sage Street Mill.
Matthew Perry, was a participant of the Art & Soul project in the VT town of Starksborough armed with a creative perspective to bring about communitiy participation and town planning.
A bucolic town of nearly 2,000 people, Starksboro, Vermont, is home to eight working farms and a cohort of maple sugar producers. It's also home to several mobile home parks, and has only recently exceeded the population peak it saw back in 1860. Like many rural towns, Starksboro struggles with planning for future growth, while at the same time maintaining the pastoral characteristics that make it an attractive community in the first place. Read the entire story or watch the Art & Soul Trailer.
The Vermont Arts Exchange (VAE) has operated since 1994 as a non-profit community arts organization with the mission of Strengthening Communities and Neighborhoods Through the Arts.
Located at the Sage Street Mill, a renovated brick factory in the historic village of North Bennington, Vermont, VAE offers visual, literary and the performing arts opportunities through classes, workshops, residencies, exhibitions, and performances presenting national and international artists. We are committed to high quality arts and culture for all ages, abilities and income, and have been awarded and recognized on a local, national and international level for our work.
VAE's Outreach and Arts Education programs are sustained through ongoing working relationships and partnerships with local municipalities, housing groups, law enforcement, public and private schools and healthcare sites. We have a strong focus on serving Bennington County schoolchildren and at-risk youth through daytime, after-school and school-vacation programming.
In the community, VAE artists, instructors, staff and friends can be found advocating the arts at festivals and parades - including VAE's annual Halloween Parade - via the VAE Art Bus; our Mission In Motion traveling art studio. Back at the mill, film and live music can be enjoyed at the popular cabaret-style Basement Music Series, which brings local and national musicians to the stage in VAE's intimate studio setting.
VAE's exhibition and performance venues help support the work of local, regional, and visiting artists with gallery space at the Stark Hose Firehouse Gallery in downtown Bennington and the Mill Gallery at VAE's Sage Street Mill in North Bennington. Artists are further encouraged to work within the community through VAE-sponsored affordable artist housing. Made possible through a partnership with Vermont Housing, the 15 units of affordable residential and gallery/workshop spaces in five historic buildings in Bennington County support artistic endeavors and inspire new work.
VAE believes that integrating and weaving the arts into our lives and neighborhoods creates a strong, vibrant, healthy community and economy.