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Artist Story CircleMONTPELIER – The Community Engagement Lab – a Montpelier-based nonprofit dedicated to using creative projects to help build stronger communities – is convening artists from across the state to participate in a virtual story circle designed to strengthen their ties to each other and reveal creative solutions to shared challenges created by the pandemic.

Many artists are feeling isolated and distraught over the wholesale cancellation of programs and income that is their way of life, according to Paul Gambill, executive director of the Community Engagement Lab.

“Artists, teaching artists and arts administrators all over Vermont have seen their livelihoods extinguished in the matter of a few days,” Gambill said. The virtual story circle is a way to bring Vermont’s artists together to share ideas for navigating the changes during this unprecedented time.

Story circles are used as a way to share experiences and ideas in a facilitated, small-group setting. What makes this story circle event unique is that it will convene dozens of artists from across Vermont into a single video conference call. The video conferencing technology allows for small groups to then “break out” into virtual rooms for the story circle experience to unfold.

The Artist Story Circle will take place 4 to 5:30 p.m. Monday, April 6, on the video conferencing platform Zoom. All artists, teaching artists, arts administrators and friends of the arts are invited to participate. The event is free, and registration is required.

To register, receive instructions, or for information, go online to

Vermont Youth OrchestraCOLCHESTER — The Vermont Youth Orchestra Association (VYOA) has named Mark Alpizar, of Cleveland, Ohio, to the position of music director, effective July 1. Alpizar succeeds Benjamin Klemme, who served as music director from 2017-19 before leaving for a faculty music position at Gordon College. Edward Cumming, a member of the faculty at the Hartt School in Hartford, Connecticut, serves as interim Vermont Youth Orchestra conductor for the 2019-20 season while the organization conducted a national search.

Alpizar, a Southern California native, has enjoyed a multifaceted career as a conductor, clarinetist, and music educator throughout the United States. He is currently the assistant conductor of the Cleveland Pops Orchestra, and instrumental faculty at Lake Erie College in Painesville, Ohio.

Prior to his move to Ohio, Alpizar was the assistant conductor of the Long Beach Symphony Orchestra, the National Repertory Orchestra, and the American Youth Symphony Orchestra. Committed to music education, Alpizar was the music director of the Four Seasons Youth Orchestra in Orange County for seven seasons where he commissioned over a dozen new works, toured internationally, and conducted side-by-side performances with the Dana Point Symphony.

Alpizar received a DMA degree from Arizona State University where he created the orchestra’s first video game concert, conducted an award-winning production of Poulenc’s Les Mamelles de Tirésias, studied conducting with Jeffery Meyer and Tito Muñoz, and studied clarinet with Robert Spring and Joshua T. Gardner.

For more information about the VYOA, call 802-655-5030, or go online to

SPA ‘Art to Go!’BARRE — More than 50 local artists have donated artwork to the annual silent auction organized by the local nonprofit art center Studio Place Arts to benefit its programs.

Next week, SPA will be launching its auction with online posts of groups of art, crafts and other items, with an option to “Buy It Now!” (at 10 percent over retail value of the donated artwork). One hundred percent of the bids support SPA. SPA will ship items to donors outside of our area (shipping is an extra charge), and curb service is available for local silent auction donors.

For information, call 802-479-7069, or go online to

Art in the ParkRUTLAND — All are invited to apply to participate in the Chaffee Art Center’s 59th annual Art in the Park Festivals. The Summer Festival is Aug. 8 and 9 and the Fall Foliage Festival is Oct. 10 and 11, both at Main Street Park at the junction of routes 4 and 7. Art in the Park is the Chaffee Art Center’s major fund-raising event.

The events, which bring in more than 6,000 people on each weekend, feature juried fine artists, craftspeople, and specialty food producers. Rounding out the festival are food vendors, live music, kids’ activities, a community art project, pet area and live demonstrations.

Exhibitor applications will be accepted up until show dates. There are also opportunities available for food vendors and food trucks.

For information and application, call 802-775-0356, email, or go online to

Rokeby MuseumFERRISBURGH — Rokeby Museum announces the retirement of director, Catherine Wood Brooks, who accepted a three-year term in 2017.

“It has been an incredible honor to serve as director,” Brooks said. “Rokeby’s historical resources are vast. I have thoroughly enjoyed working to share Rokeby’s stories with an ever-widening audience.”

Under Brooks’ leadership, the museum has experienced growth in attendance, income and giving.

“Catherine’s creative and energetic touch has resulted in new programs, new collaborations and a heightened awareness of Rokeby as a dynamic, relevant organization it is today. We are deeply grateful to her for all that she has done,” said board Chairwoman Marty Dewees.

A National Historic Landmark that includes “Free & Safe,” the only permanent exhibit in New England devoted to enslavement and abolition. Rokeby was home to four generations of the talented and engaged Robinson family. Along with its focus on agriculturists, artists, and abolitionists, the museum has enlarged its vision to include advocacy and connecting its history to contemporary social issues.

Guided by second generation Rachel and Rowland Robinson’s commitment to speaking truth to power, Rokeby is establishing itself as a center for the exploration and discussion of contemporary issues of social justice.

Currently closed to the public due to the coronavirus, interactive virtual tours are available by appointment. For more information, go online to

Opera Company of MiddleburyMIDDLEBURY — The Opera Company of Middlebury is postponing its production of Tchaikovsky’s “The Maid of Orleans” until next season.

Mark your calendars for performances on June 4, 6, 10 and 12, 2021. If you purchased tickets for this June, you may choose either to receive a refund or to donate the ticket price to OCM.

Plans are continuing for the OCM production of Bernstein’s “Candide” in October, with performances at Town Hall Theater Oct. 9-11, followed by a tour to two venues around the state. Watch for more information to come.

For information, go online to

Valley PlayersWAITSFIELD — Due to the ongoing health crisis, the Valley Players’ production of “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” has been postponed. The community theater hopes to produce this show sometime between mid-May and mid-June. Additionally, the June production of “Little Shop of Horrors” will be rescheduled for later in 2020.

The Valley Players also hopes to reschedule the annual community variety show, Cabin Fever Follies, to a weekend this summer. Currently, KidsACT Musical Theater Camps and Ten Fest, the annual 10-minute play festival by the Vermont Playwrights’ Circle, are scheduled for July and August. The annual Mad River Valley Craft Fair, sponsored by the Valley Players, is also scheduled for Labor Day weekend.

For more information, go online to

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