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The Valley Arts Foundation (VAF) is extremely excited about our future because this year was such a great success. The Valley is anticipating the last weekend of activities that brings to a close the 15th annual Vermont Festival of the Arts.
What a festival it has been! Visitor counts have surpassed any year to date and the accolades keep pouring in. Artist Peter Huntoon of Middleton Springs says of the Plein Air Paint-Out, “What a great day! I will be back next year!”
Local resident Nannette McCoy told us, “Despite decades in The Valley, this was my first Taste and I enjoyed every morsel of it!” Susan Klein of the Mad River Valley Chamber of Commerce reported that visitors at the chamber (office) keep mentioning they are here specifically for the festival.
The Big Red Barn Art Show, one of the many anchor events, had already hosted by mid-August, 1,944 guests (33 states and 12 countries as well as from 43 Vermont towns) and sold 30 paintings helping 16 local artists support their creativity.
Prior years’ favorite events remain popular while many new events proved to be hugely successful. Mother Nature could not dampen the community picnic (complete with fireworks!) sponsored by the National Life Group at Lareau Farm.
The weather was perfect for the Great Vermont Plein Air Paint-Out which brought hoards of visitors to our community. Waitsfield and the Paint-Out have received attention of PleinAir magazine (look for the link at our website: www.vermontartfest.com). The Paint Out will continue to grow both in size and quality, eventually becoming a two-day festival within the Festival of the Arts.
We believe that arts are part of The Valley’s community identity. The foundation has been growing and developing a presence year-round, including a permanent office for our operations and the Festival Gallery presenting both invitational and private showings of artistic work.
The VAF is proud to be the organizer of the new Green Mountain Watercolor Exhibition, which debuted this past spring in the Festival Gallery. Starting in 2013, the foundation is partnering with Lareau Farm and an anonymous donor to present this dynamic show in the Big Red Barn during the month of July.
As we garner support, the show will, by 2015, become the “Green Mountain National Watercolor Exhibition” bringing the best of watercolors from across the U.S. as well as Canada.
We would like to thank you for your support and encouragement of all of the foundation activities, including the festival. As the one-year anniversary of Irene passes, we are proud to be part of what makes this community a vibrant place to live. We have all experienced the difficulties of this past year and we hope you agree that this year’s festival has helped revitalize us.
Currently we are entertaining ideas and formulating plans of how we can develop activities and events to keep the arts more active throughout the year. Already in place is the Historic Waitsfield Art Walk Map designating the galleries, outdoor sculpture and studios in Waitsfield. Developed with the assistance of Resort Guides, the map is available free of charge. Additionally, the foundation has begun curating art shows for local establishments.
As we grow, we need your continued support. We thank those people and organizations that have helped us this past year. We have received an outpouring of help from local residents and visitors as volunteers to run many of the events at this year’s Festival.
We look forward to you being a part of our future. Stop by the gallery to see an exhibit. Submit art events to the VAF online arts calendar. Bid on a bench. Attend the many and varied arts activities that take place in our Valley. Art is what keeps us as a community vibrant and inspired!
Valley Arts Foundation Board of Directors
Gary Eckhart, president; Karen Nevin, director; Michele Eid, Darryll Forrest, Nancy Henry, Anastasia Kohl, Dotty Kyle, Nancy Mobley, Ward Smyth,