The Big Red Barn Art Show, an August staple in The Valley for 21 years, is back once again at the historic Red Barn at Lareau Farm/American Flatbread. The show kicks off the Vermont Festival of the Arts, a celebration of the arts in all its forms, with events throughout the month to entice people of all ages and tastes. Valley Arts Vermont is the parent nonprofit organization for the festival. This year’s Big Red Barn Art Show committee, Julie Burns, Ellen Crafton, Carole Crossman, Dotty Kyle, Jane Wollmar and Marilyn Zelin, has worked hard to make the 21st anniversary year as great a success as in the past.

Open from noon to 9 p.m., Thursday through Sunday for the month of August, the Big Red Barn Art Show features the original artwork of 35 Valley artists. Though the show is free of charge, donations are gratefully accepted. Each year, nearly 3,000 people visit the exhibit and marvel at the quality of the paintings on display. They remark, too, on the beauty of the great old building that houses them. Many leave the Red Barn Gallery with a newly purchased painting or a print from the “Art Stall,” which boasts prints and cards created by the exhibiting artists. This year, 123 works of art including paintings, mosaics and sculpture will grace the walls of the barn, accompanied by an unnumbered group of paintings in the “Small Works” exhibit. These additional paintings are restricted in size to no more than 16 inches in any direction and are quite popular with visitors for whom a large purchase would be unwieldy.


Since 1998 the art show has stayed true to its roots as a community art exhibit created to showcase the work of the many talented artists who make their home in the Mad River Valley. Every participating artist in this nonjuried show must live full or part time in a town within the Mad River watershed. All exhibitors must commit to help supervise the show when it is open. These volunteer docents enjoy their time at the barn, talking with visitors and answering questions about the art and the recent renovations to the barn. The Lareau Farm barn has housed the exhibit since the farm’s owner, George Schenk, graciously invited the show to move there in 2003, when the original exhibit space, Warren’s historic town hall, became Warren’s Library.

The wonderful old barn is an incredible venue for the exhibition of art. There is something magical about viewing artwork against the backdrop of this historic building. And it’s a great way for American Flatbread guests to pass time while they wait for their tables. Valley Arts’ close relationship with the Schenks has resulted in an expansion of the Red Barn Gallery calendar beyond August to include July’s Green Mountain Watercolor Exhibition, early September’s Multi-Media Mania Exhibit and, from mid-September to Columbus Day, the barn is the new venue for the 29th annual Photo Show. Valley Arts is indeed indebted to Lareau Farm’s owners and staff for their embrace of the arts!