Vermont Arts Exchange partners in arts with Village School of North Bennington

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NORTH BENNINGTON — The Vermont Arts Exchange and the Village School of North Bennington have announced a new partnership, in which the VAE will now handle all arts education at the school.

For years, the Village School has enjoyed a fruitful partnership with the VAE, with the two groups collaborating on several projects every year. At the end of last school year, the VAE and the fourth-grade class completed a Biodome project, in which they decorated one of the school's stairwells with plants and animals native to Vermont.

"Vermont Arts Exchange has, for many years, brought enticing and exciting arts projects, workshops and events to the Village and to its classrooms," said Meg Woolmington, chairwoman of the VSNB board of directors, "We are pleased that Village School children will have even more opportunity to engage in creative work with VAE. Let's see what serious fun takes shape."

"It is great when you hear a student in our studio say, 'I don't want to leave' or 'I could stay here all day,'" said VAE Executive Director Matthew Perry, "Not all kids are wired the same way. Many excel when given the opportunity to express themselves creatively by using their imagination to envision, then working with their hands to build what they imagined. With technology rapidly upon us, it seems now more than ever, lies the need for children to discover, explore and innovate."

"This is a wonderful partnership for all," said Tim Newbold, who will begin his term as the Village School's head of school this fall, replacing the retiring Tom Martin, "Over the last year I have been able to see our students working on projects with the VAE and I have seen the final products. The creative energy is great and the children are having fun, this is exactly what we want in our arts program."

The VAE has worked with individual classroom teachers to meld art projects into their curriculums. Besides the Village School, they have also worked on educational projects with the Vermont School for Girls, the Southshire Community School, Head Start of Bennington County, and many more.

"A stronger partnership between the two organizations seems a natural fit as their missions mesh quite nicely," said Rachel Payne, office manager at the VAE, "With over 20 years of experience bringing art to people of all ages, abilities and socio-economic levels, VAE excels at strengthening communities and neighborhoods through the arts, and at bringing art education to everyone. The Village School of North Bennington strives to nurture children's curiosity, ignite their enthusiasm for exploring and help them develop tools for inquiry, invention and achievement."

While many lessons will be taught out of the arts studio in the school, some projects will still be done at the VAE, which is located on Main Street, a short walk from the school.

"We all have a great opportunity here at the VSNB," said Perry, "By teaching students how to be more creative and adaptable we are preparing them well, for life beyond the classroom."

To learn more about the VAE, follow the organization on Facebook and visit VAE online at vtartxchange.org.

— Derek Carson can be reached for comment at 802-447-7567, ext. 122.


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