BENNINGTON — The Bennington Area Chamber of Commerce this week launch the first episode of a series that will showcase products created in Bennington.
"Bennington Made," which aired on Catamount Access Television for the first time on Monday, was the brainchild of Chamber Executive Director Matthew Harrington and the staff of CAT-TV. "When I first joined the Chamber, I was invited to take a tour of Bennington Potters. I video-taped a short clip of the tour and posted it. The feedback was great and positive and so the vision for a full series was born," said Harrington. "I talked with CAT-TV and asked, 'Why don't we go into local shops that make Vermont products and ask them to introduce their craftsmanship and process as a way to excite and educate people about the natural talents we have right here in Bennington? CAT-TV loved the idea."
Harrington worked with CAT-TV field producer Mike Cutler to produce the video. The episode, which runs just under 15 minutes, features Sheela Harden, owner and operator of Bennington Potters, leading Harrington on a tour through the facilities and introducing the staff. Since the video was uploaded on YouTube, as of Wednesday evening, it already has over 200 views. The Chamber already has footage filmed for three more episodes of the show, and hopes to air them in the coming months. The first, which will feature Robert Wolterstoff of the Bennington Museum and their "3D Digital: Here and Now" exhibition, which will run through June 15. The next two episodes will cover Bennington Lanes and Jay's Art Shop.
"The two factors that help us decide which organizations to film are the organization needs to be making Bennington products and they need to be a Chamber member," said Harrington, "As I began at the Chamber in January I was charged with discovering new ways to add value to our members. I think this is a great opportunity to not only get exposure from the Chamber, but that the business being filmed also gets the footage and is able to use it as they see fit for further marketing. I think the true value here is the Chamber's ability to connect dots and resources for people. We were able to work with the Potters to connect them with CAT-TV and produce a quality piece of work. CAT-TV is such an amazing resource in the community. I'm surprised more people don't utilize it especially in this 'new media' environment. If the Chamber can facilitate some of those ideas and relationships with our members and other area resources, I think that's terrific."
"Having talked with Matt, our vision for this series is to also highlight the many great products made in our town and by Benningtonians themselves," said Lisa Byer, CAT-TV's executive director, "We want this series to build a sense of pride and accomplishment in all that Bennington has to offer the world. We truly have some remarkable, Vermont products that come out of our little community. Bennington should be very proud of the craftsmanship and quality that each product is made with and the citizens that make those products."
Harrington said another collaboration between the Chamber and CAT-TV is in the works. "Bennington Tomorrow" will be a variety show that will feature interviews with Bennington notables, performances by local bands, and more. Harrington said that that program is still in the planning stages, but he hopes that it will begin airing in the fall.
The first episode of "Bennington Made" will run roughly once a day for about a month on CAT-TV's channel 15, in regular time slots. It will run Mondays at noon, Tuesdays at 10:30 a.m., Wednesdays at 8 p.m., Thursdays at noon, Fridays at 6 p.m., and Saturdays at 5 a.m. and 11:30 p.m. It can also be found on CAT-TV's YouTube channel.
Derek Carson can be reached for comment at 802-447-7567, ext. 122.