Arts & Culture

VPR's coverage of arts and culture in the region.

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A painting of a farmhouse with a dog outside.
Susan Abbott, artist / Courtesy Laura Johnson

In this bonus episode, Brave Little State speaks with the woman whose family named Star Pudding Farm Road, and made the property so special.

Bobby and Dannis Hackney are two of the founding members of the influential band Death.
Elodie Reed / VPR

After breaking up in 1977, the influential proto-punk band Death had a remarkable resurgence starting in 2009. Fans who were unaware of the band's place in musical history were turned on to Death thanks to a release of some of their music and a documentary that charted their story: A Band Called Death.

Captains of the Fairfax-Lamoille football team.
Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR

Backed by fans from four high schools in two counties, the Fairfax-Lamoille Bullets play their last football game of the regular season on Saturday. If they make it past Otter Valley, the team will go into the postseason with a perfect 8-0 record.

A woman stands by a sandwich board.
Elodie Reed / VPR

As financial need, demographics and the climate all change, Vermont libraries have to get creative to remain viable. Among these efforts: a fundraising calendar featuring local authors photographed "in various states of tasteful and artistically rendered implied nudity."

The exterior of Stowe Arena in Stowe, Vermont.
Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR

Over Labor Day weekend the North American Hockey Academy, or NAHA, held a tournament that brought junior girls hockey players to rinks around northern Vermont – including the school's home rink, Stowe Arena. 

But the event was bittersweet in Stowe: It came just weeks after NAHA founder Bill Driscoll told the town he's selling the school, and the program is moving to Massachusetts.

Mitch Wertlieb talking with 'March authors' Andrew Aydin and Rep. John Lewis
Ryan Newswanger / Vermont Humanities Council, courtesy

The graphic novel March tells the story of the life of Democratic Rep. John Lewis, one of the key leaders of the civil rights movement. Lewis chaired the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, and he was one of the principal organizers of the 1963 March on Washington, as well as the march across Selma's Edmund Pettus Bridge in 1965.

Congressman John Lewis and Andrew Aydin spoke about the civil rights movement, past and present, at the Flynn Center for Performing Arts.
Vermont Humanities Council

Congressman John Lewis is the sole surviving member of the "Big Six" civil rights leaders of the 1960s. He's dedicated his life to nonviolent protests in pursuit of social justice. And along with co-author Andrew Aydin, Lewis wrote about his life and work in the graphic novel series March, a 2019 Vermont Reads selection. Today on Vermont Edition, we'll hear highlights from an event featuring Lewis and Aydin recorded live at the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts on Monday, Oct. 7.

Two men stand next to each other.
Betty Smith / VPR

After author Toni Morrison died recently, one Vermont poet decided to honor her legacy by organizing a week-long series of meetings to talk about creativity, racism and the future of Vermont. 

Opera fans are mourning one of the world's most revered voices.

Soprano Jessye Norman died Monday morning at Mount Sinai St. Luke's Hospital in New York. Her death was confirmed to NPR by a spokesperson for her family, Gwendolyn Quinn, as well as a representative from the Jessye Norman School of the Arts. The official cause of death was septic shock and multi-organ failure, secondary to complications of a spinal cord injury she had sustained in 2015. She was 74.

Jane Lindholm interviews Newfane author Archer Mayor on "Vermont Edition" in front of a live audience in VPR's Stetson Studio One on Monday, Sept. 30, 2019.
Elodie Reed / VPR

Over the course of 30 novels, Newfane author Archer Mayor has chronicled the detective work of Joe Gunther and the fictitious Vermont Bureau of Investigation. Mayor joins Vermont Edition and a live audience in VPR's Stetson Studio One to discuss his writing, his 30th Joe Gunther novel titled Bomber's Moon, his law enforcement career and how he came to make Vermont his home.

A man holds a violin.
Christian Steiner / Frank Salomon Associates, Inc.

Renowned musician Jaime Laredo has been the conductor and music director of the Vermont Symphony Orchestra since 2000. He's been acclaimed for the level of musical excellence he brought to the organization.

Now, the VSO has announced Laredo will be departing at the end of the 2021 season.

A 6th grader made slime.
Mary Engisch / VPR

Monday, Sept. 23, marked the autumnal equinox, the first official day of fall in the northern hemisphere. That means beautiful fall foliage in our trees and a slow shift to colder days and fewer hours of sunlight.


This month on Rumble Strip, Erica Heilman takes us deep into conversation with poet Garret Keizer. Hear the full episode.

Original music for this episode of Rumble Strip was composed by Brian Clark.

If you predicted that creator-actor Phoebe Waller-Bridge would be a big winner going into Sunday night's Emmy Awards, you might just have won your Emmys pool. And if you were predicting a giant final haul of Game of Thrones trophies as that show leaves us for good, you were, well, sort of right.

Paul Bruhn outdoors
Sen. Patrick Leahy, courtesy

Vermont has lost its leading voice for historic preservation. Paul Bruhn, the executive director of the Vermont Preservation Trust since its inception nearly 40 years ago, has died.

Next Wednesday evening, Plácido Domingo, the opera megastar who has recently been accused of sexual misconduct by 20 women, is scheduled to start a run of performances of Verdi's Macbeth at the most famous opera house in the United States: New York's Metropolitan Opera.

Anais Mitchell accepts the Tony Award for Best Original Score for 'Hadestown' at this year's ceremony.
Charles Sykes / Invision/Associated Press

Singer-songwriter Anaïs Mitchell's career began in Vermont, but has led on a long and windy path around the world. Most recently, it’s landed her on Broadway, where her folk opera Hadestown won eight Tony Awards this year. As Mitchell prepares to go out on a solo tour (including sold-out performances in Vermont on Oct. 11 and 12), she told Vermont Edition about her musical journey.

A depiction of whalers plying their trade in the 1850s.
Courtesy of Smithsonian Libraries / Flickr

Later this week, Middlebury College is hosting a symposium focusing on the future of the world's oceans. One of the discussions features two Middlebury College students, Jennifer Crandall and Caitlin Dicara, who will be sharing some of what they learned in a semester spent focusing on both marine ecology and the history of whaling.

Esther Munroe Swift's "Vermont Place-Names" remains the seminal book on the origins of the names of Vermont's cities, towns, villages and geographic locations.
Ric Cengeri / VPR

In the new episode of Brave Little State, author Paul Gillies said Vermont Place-Names by Esther Munroe Swift is a "go-to" resource for his research. And when Mitch Wertlieb hosted a series on Morning Edition a few years ago searching for the origins of Vermont town names, he and producer Melody Bodette relied heavily on Swift's well-loved and respected tome.

Clockwise from top left: Elixis Jiron's marbled pours on tile; Maxine Park plays piano in Norwich; Putney's Sandglass Theater mobiles; Katie Runde's Icarus wings; poet Rajnii Eddins; muralist Mary Lacy; Averill McDowell's "junk-art mural" project.
Elodie Reed / VPR

Art is a vital part of human culture. But when was the last time you actually engaged with art? What role does art play in our culture, our public discourse and in tackling the important issues affecting our communities, nations and planet? If your answers are fuzzy, you're not alone. We're talking about our rough relationship with contemporary art and how we engage with art today.