Community grants have Burlington artists planning projects with a purpose

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BURLINGTON, Vt. – A round of grants from Burlington City Arts has a handful of Queen City creators getting to work on projects with a purpose.

Their projects range from art displays that highlight the work of people in Burlington with disabilities to a 40-foot cloth mural commemorating Vermont’s music community during the era of COVID.

“Artists engaging with the community was going to be a really important part of returning to community life post-pandemic, and it was an incredible response,” said Sara Katz, Assistant Director of Burlington City Arts. “We got a lot of artist applications.”

13 Burlington artists and groups received grants. Lydia Kern was awarded $3,000 to prepare an art show that celebrates the work of adults with disabilities in the Queen City.

“I’ve been working at this organization called Homebase, a social service agency that supports adults with developmental disabilities,” Kern said. “During the pandemic, I taught Zoom art classes for our clients. I really wanted to highlight their work in our community.”

Their work will be on display at Leddy Park on September 12 beginning at 4 pm. Kern’s grant will also give one of her clients the opportunity to plan and facilitate their own craft-making workshop.

“She has a desire to teach her peers different skill sets, experiment with different materials,” Kern said. “I’m really excited to get to support her vision.”

Meanwhile, Jim Lockridge and his non-profit music office Big Heavy World are creating a 40-foot cloth mural to commemorate the struggles and perseverance of the local music community during COVID.

“The pandemic just crushed them, it took the rug out,” Lockridge said. “This project helps reassert that we are a community, it helps us recognize one another with hundreds of different people involved. For what it’s worth, it’s symbolic of coming back together.”

A full list of the grant recipients and their projects are below as presented by Burlington City Arts:

2021 Community Fund Grantees:

Bhutanese Nepali Cultural Heritage Dance Group of Vermont: $3,000

To support the Bhutanese Nepali Cultural Heritage Dance Group of VT teach folk and modern Nepali dance to 15-20 youth from the Burlington area’s Bhutanese Nepali refugee community and to provide a safe, welcoming (now virtual) space for youth to gather, speak/learn Nepali, and explore/share their cultural heritage with a diverse audience.

Brian Perkins: $2,400

To support the creation of a booklet of photographic portraits and musical notations based on children’s interviews with elders in the Burlington Bhutanese/Nepali community. The Old North End Neighborhood Band will perform the music at public events in Burlington.

Lydia Kern: $3,000

To support an outdoor art show and celebration of work created by adults with disabilities in the Burlington area, through a partnership with Homebase Inc., Howard Community Services, and Northwest Counseling and Support Services. The grant will also support one adult with disabilities in learning how to plan and facilitate her own craft-making workshop, and co-facilitating two outdoor workshops for 13 peers.

Carolyn Sandoval: $3,000

To support Burlington’s Foul Contending Rebels Theater Cooperative’s (FCR) production of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet in August of 2021, which aims to explore questions of grief and recovery which have been raised by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Alissa Faber: $2,700

To support students at the alternative high school program, Ontop, start a screen printing business, learn the process of silk screen printing and graphic design art, and create a sustainable business plan to make and market their print ideas to the Burlington community.

Greater Burlington Children’s Chorus: $3,000

To support Project Serenade, an initiative of the Youth Opera Workshop, developed in response to the COVID pandemic, offering outdoor performances by teen opera singers to isolated residents at senior living centers.

Corinne Yonce: $3,000

To support Voices of Home, specifically to support outdoor art and story display that will build community amongst the residents of Juniper House and Laurentide Apartments, two new affordable developments in Burlington’s Cambrian Rise, and the production of a 7-10-minute video that will highlight voices from both communities.

Big Heavy World: $3,000

To gather the recorded voices of dozens of Vermont musicians and their portrait and live photographs to create a 40′-long cloth mural & soundtrack commemorating Vermont’s music community during the time of COVID-19.

Burlington Writers Workshop: $1,500

To support The Burlington Writers Workshop’s efforts to expand their mission to offer educational opportunities that foster emerging writers of all backgrounds and abilities, and offer a series of Master Classes focused on writing excellence and the efforts needed to get work published.

Matt Hagen: $3,000

To produce Vinyl Vermont, an album of Vermont musicians with a focus on BIPOC and female artists that showcases the talented diversity and culture found in the Vermont music community.

VT Stage Picnic Plays: $3,000

To support Vermont Stage’s reopening with two outdoor theater productions, Popcorn Falls by James Hindman and Maytag Virgin by Audrey Cefaly.

Michael Rakoto Razafy: $2,200

To support Michael Rakoto Razafy sharing his music and culture from the magical island of Madagascar with school children at several Burlington School District elementary school classrooms.

Shawn Dumont: $2,200

To support the Shelter Cultivation Project, a gallery exhibition and pop up shop featuring contemporary artwork and unique handcrafted product from emerging and established artists from Vermont and around the globe.

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