BRATTLEBORO — What began 30 years ago as a series of coordinated monthly “openings” among Brattleboro art galleries has evolved into a full-fledged downtown arts and community celebration. Held on the first Friday of the month from May through December, Gallery Walk is a street festival, featuring a flea market, live music, community art-making and food.
The Downtown Brattleboro Alliance recently took over the Gallery Walk program from the Arts Council of Windham County. By closing Elliot Street to traffic for four hours, organizers have created a “block party” vibe, with festivities including live outdoor music, dancing, hula-hooping, juggling and special activities for children and adults. Patrons can browse various local crafts in the Harmony Parking Lot, or sit at a long table and savor diverse offerings from local food trucks.
Last year, a local “university” held a mock “UFO crash site excavation” at Gallery Walk, drawing a bevy of skeptical but amused spectators.
Brattleboro has long been a creative and eclectic town, and the core of the Walk is still the galleries, which keep their doors open into the night for locals and visitors to enjoy the quiet experience of viewing all mediums and all genres of artwork.
Stephanie Bonin, executive director of the alliance, says Gallery Walk “is about seeing and showing and feeling and touching art in all its many different forms.”
Erin Scaggs, Gallery Walk program director, says the goal is “to create a shared positive experience for all community members in the heart of downtown Brattleboro.
“We love how Gallery Walk is so expansive that there’s truly something for everyone,” Scaggs says. “Many components are free, creating accessibility. Brattleboro is all about art and community, so we feel the Gallery Walk program really embodies Brattleboro’s heart and soul.”