2012 brought ups and downs for Arts

Saturday January 26, 2013

2012 was a rocky year in a lot of ways for the arts community in the Berkshires and Southern Vermont. But with all of the potential bad and chaos there were plenty of highlights to keep the spirits up. The following is an abbreviated timeline of events in the past year in the arts community.


The indie-rock band Wilco announced that they would not be bringing their Solid Sound Festival to North Adams again in 2012. The band assured fans in the Berkshires that they would perform a charity concert at MASS MoCA and that the festival would return in 2013.

The non-profit Park-McCullough House Association Inc., which operates the Park-McCullough House in North Bennington, stated it was struggling financially and had to lay off two paid staff members and reduce its already limited winter services. The board sent out a letter to supporters asking for additional help.


Williams College opened a "Human Library" to preserve the traditions of storytelling and non-electronic communication. The events took place over the course of a weekend and were the results of work by professors Mangus Bernhardsson and Katarzyna Pierprzak.

A new exhibit opened in Bennington, "Memento Mori: The Art and Commerce of Gravestones in Bennington." The exhibit was inspired by the donation of the original headstone of Rev. Jedidiah Dewey, the first minister in Bennington. The spot where the original gravestone was filled by a replica, because the original had become damaged.


Sage City Symphony performed a show with young musicians to honor Louis Calabro, a Bennington College music professor who died in 1991. Calabro was the founder of the Sage City Symphony in 1973.

Folk-rock troubadour Peter Mulvey performed at the Vermont Arts Exchange in support of his newest CD at the time. Mulvey has performed with many stars of the stage including Emmylou Harris, Richard Thompson, Ani DiFranco, Indigo Girls, Greg Brown and Patty Larkin.


Bennington College dance professor Susan Sgorbati began a residency in the science of dance at EMPAC. Her work looked at dance as if it were a language. The dance contained a jazz-like improvisational quality.

Oldcastle Theater Co. announced that after years of moving from place to place it would finally find a home in a Main Street location.

After a rocky winter, Park-McCullough House opened for its spring and summer programs with a hopeful attitude.


Bennington College hosted its annual Sunfest alternative music festival. The headliners were "Quintron and Miss Pussy Cat," "O'Death" and 19-piece brass band "The What Cheer? Brigade."

For the first time in 20 years the Ryer family, Kerry, Kelly, and Mary, reunited to perform together.


The Hubbard Hall Opera Theatre performed outside of their usual home to open their season. The company planned shows in Bennington, Manchester, Albany and, its namesake historic theater in Cambridge.


Oldcastle revealed its plans for the renovations of the former Knights of Columbus building, which would become its new home.

The Bennington Museum announced the appointment of Robert Wolterstorff as the new head of the museum.


Oldcastle Theatre and the Bennington Museum combined their two fundraiser events, which were scheduled to conflict. The combined event raised money for both of these local arts institutions.


The Vermont Arts Council named Edith "Edie" Sawisky to its board, bringing years of corporate business experience to the VAC.


The Bennington Banner wished arts editor K.D. Norris a fond farewell after two years of service and welcomed recent Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts graduate Andrew Roiter into the role.

Oldcastle Theatre held auditions for their newest original production "Northern Boulevard," a musical which would premiere with the opening of their new location.

The Old Frist Church celebrated its 250th anniversary with a fundraising party.


An original stage performance based on the movie and T.V. show M*A*S*H opened in Manchester.

Celebrated scholar and expert on the Supreme Court Jeffrey Toobin read from his latest book at Northshire Books in Bennington.

"Ski for Heat" held a concert to raise money to help families living in southern Vermont pay for expensive heating oil.


Oldcastle Theatre opened its new location and 41st season with the original musical "Northern Boulevard," written by Kevin Brofsky and Carleton Carpenter.


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