Letter: Concern for future of Laumeister Center

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To the Editor:

We heard that Southern Vermont College is closing. This is very sad. But we are personally concerned about the former Bennington Center for the Arts, which was given by its founders to the college. We — and other art lovers — want the museum to be restored to what it was before the Laumeisters donated it to SVC.

According to the Banner's March 4, 2019 article, SVC acquired in 2017 the Laumeister Art Center at Southern Vermont College on West Road (then called the Bennington Center for the Arts) in a gift from founder Bruce Laumeister. [SVC President David] Evans said the 300-seat theater and adjacent art galleries would be suitable space for many other uses, but the gift agreement states that the center could only be sold to a nonprofit organization, which could limit the reuse possibilities.

We used to be members of the Bennington Center for the Arts. We visited it several times a year and brought friends with us. It was the focus of our frequent visits to Bennington. We loved the art presented there. Since SVC acquired it, there have been none of the great shows and exhibitions that were presented when the Laumeisters ran the museum.

We hope that some persons or an institution with a commitment to the kind of representational art — art of nature, of New England, and other themes that were showcased over the years — and restore this museum to its former glory. This museum's permanent collections are priceless, and we hope they will stay local. And we hope that someone will be able to acquire and re-start this magnificent museum. Sadly, SVC was not up to the task. We hope that someone else will be.

The Laumeisters deserve a permanent legacy for their devotion to art, and we who love what they presented would be very grateful and supportive.

Jan and Bonney Kuniholm,

Cheshire, Massachusetts

Cheshire, Massachusetts

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