It Takes a Village to Support Local Arts

by Joy Wallens-Penford, Gallery Walk coordinator

Once again, the calendar turns and there are so many wonderful arts events to try to schedule into our busy lives, some of them fundraisers. On Gallery Walk alone, there are at least three arty ways for the public to support local causes benefiting the younger generation. Two even "bigger" events will give a financial boost to long-established arts organizations, one on Saturday and the other capping off this shortest month of the year with a tropical blast to chase away our winter blues.

Puzzle Jewelry to Fund High School Skiers

Drummond Biles, captain of the BUHS Nordic Ski Team, works part-time at Beakniks. Local plans for a puzzle-themed celebration of the Art Fits Vermont project inspired him to develop a jewelry-making activity that would get his peers and others involved and even earn some money for his sports team. Stop by the River Garden to see what he's up to.

Jazz Concert for Guilford School's 8th Grade Trip

When the late Raphe Malik's musical colleagues learned they could help raise funds for his daughter Lena's 8th grade class trip by playing a concert for area audiences, they got right on board. After your Gallery Walk tour, consider hopping down the road a mile to the Vermont Jazz Center at Cotton Mill Hill for a musical treat. Converging on Brattleboro from across the country and Canada are Sabir Mateen, reeds, Raymond King, piano, Larry Roland, bass, and Mark Hundevad, percussion. Tickets: $12, $10 students.

High School A Cappella for In-Sight Photography

The night before some college groups appear at the Latchis (see next item), the BUHS Madrigals, the independent BUHS groups Spiralia and Shoulder Narrows, a group from Leland & Gray, and others give a concert of their own at the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center, with proceeds to benefit the In-Sight Photography Project. In-Sight allows Windham county teens to study photography regardless of their ability to pay. This event begins at 8:00 p.m. as Gallery Walk winds down. Admission is by suggested donation of $5 per person or what you can afford.

Collegiate A Cappella for BMAC

The 6th Annual Collegiate A Cappella Concert at 7:30 on Saturday, February 7, is a benefit for the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center (BMAC). It's expected to be yet another sold-out concert on the Latchis main stage and will feature the Tufts Beelzebubs, with whom BMAC director Danny Lichtenfeld sang back in his college days, as well another eight groups from throughout the northeast. The event has always showcased a cappella groups whose ranks include kids from in and around Brattleboro.

Friends of Music at Guilford Hosts "An Evening in Rio" Auction & Cabaret

While Gallery Walk takes an intensive burst of my time and energy once a month to produce this publication and update the Walk's website, my "real" job is running Friends of Music at Guilford. Now in its 43rd season of concerts, FOMAG (a smaller mouthful!) has recently been expanding its public outreach with new initiatives. In 2007 we repurposed the annual Messiah Sing as a fundraiser for the homeless -- over $3,000 so far has been distributed to the Brattleboro Area Drop In Center and Morningside Shelter. This year we've added a Music Enrichment Program at Guilford Central School, which has only a 90% equivalent music position to serve 250 kids, and we've launched a Concert Series for Seniors that is bringing programs to area residences and activity centers serving our elders.

To achieve a balanced budget this season, FOMAG's hosting an Auction & Cabaret fundraiser on Saturday, February 28, at 6:00 p.m. "An Evening in Rio" will feature a buffet meal with hearty hors d'oeuvres, a traditional Brazilian stew, and gourmet desserts from regional bakers and restaurants. Musical interludes during the Silent Auction and buffet include a chamber trio, an a cappella quartet, and a cabaret singer with pianist -- a Brazilian and otherwise tropical influence will insinuate itself in the mix. Making the transition to the Live Auction segment will be a Procter/Hale Duo mini-concert of South American repertoire for guitar and flute.

The auctions will include something for everyone. Over two dozen pairs of tickets for concerts, movies, and plays across the Tri-State region will be available. Among other offerings are gift certificates from local restaurants and shops, a few pieces of vintage furniture, practical gadgets and decorative items, jewelry and collectibles, a kayak and other sporting goods, a wide array of works by the region's artists and artisans, and trips to Rio, Bermuda, and South Africa. Come blow the cold winter away! Admission is $15 for buffet and entertainment. We've ordered dry weather so that the driveway up to All Souls Church (aka West Village Meeting House) in West Brattleboro will be an easy climb; a shuttle will be available for the timid. For further info/reservations: (802) 254-3600;

Copyright 2009, Gallery Walk, Brattleboro, Vermont

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