Having lived here in Brattleboro for almost 2 years
now, I still very much consider myself a newcomer. In my every interaction and discovery, there is an air fragrant with new insights, fresh vibrations, and blossoming creativity, always suggesting that there is more around every corner and hidden in the gnarliest nooks and crannies. Certainly more than one could find in a mere 2-year’s time, to be sure!
Being 30-years old, connections can be harder to make casually, as people tend to have their established circle of friends and patterns of life, which can often-times be hard to penetrate when moving to a new place with a little family unit of your own…or my own! I had to get a little weird about getting to know the town.
That’s where this very blog comes into play! Continuing down a long path of wanderlust and curiosity, I have given myself a humble purpose in this town, and it acts as a thread that ties everything together for me. My love for beauty in all the most strange, odd-ball, and off-center things in life has manifested itself in an ARTistic way, and all I want to do is to capture images of these fantastically over-ripe and rotten tomatoes, and allow the browning red of the fruit to drip all over everything.
I say all of this to express that there is so much to Brattleboro that I just have no idea about. From history to politics to shining stars to deep pit-falls. ARTistically-speaking, there are countless groups, clubs, ARTists, creators, collectives, graffitists, studios, happening, masterpieces, performances, (and on and on and on), that I have begun to just rely on the right-place, right-time principle for this blog (and my life.) It has been an inspiring and humbling road thus far, as I get to the know the town where I live and call home. It’s a little bit of a backwards design, as tend to be many blueprints in my life…
A bit of the jump-into-bed-and-get-to-know-the-good-bloke-later, playfully thrown in with abandon from my earlier years.
This is all to admit to you, my valued and faithful reader, that this blog is at once an attempt at documenting Brattleboro’s ART scene from the ground level, AND simultaneously my greatest effort to get really intimate with her. And I guess I’ve decided that Brattleboro is a “her,” for some reason yet to be realized. (If you have any thoughts on the gendering of an entire town, please share them!)
Walking about the town, it’s best to move slowly with your eyes wide and discerning, so you can catch the colorful glimpses of ART that lay waiting to be uncovered. This happens to me everyday, and the other day was a perfect example. I met an ARTist named Sage when visiting the new street ART on South Main Street (Click Here to see it in its beginning phase!), and she told me she was painting flowers on a propane tank at the bottom of Union Hill, so I kept my eyes peeled for her creation.
When I saw it while driving by one day, I pulled over to take a closer look. I found a little rocky landscape pulsing with found objects and hidden treasures- my favorites! From pieces that whisper sweet nothings in my ear like keys and mirrors, to complex and quirky stone work, topped off with Sage’s growing garden of pink and purple flowers. It was such a find, and I looked closer still to try to understand how these ARTists grew in the fertile ground of Brattleboro, VT.
According to an article I found in SoVermont Arts & Living, Sage Feldman is an installation and industrial ARTist, and Jim Seery is responsible for the masterful masonry that acted as a foundation for Sage’s work. Visit the article written by Arlene Distler by Clicking Here!
By seeing this space in all of its glory the other day, and doing a bit of research on the topic, I learned that this building is not only the home of The Root Social Justice Center, but also The Whetstone Studio for the Arts. It also was the site of major flood damage from Hurricane Irene in 2011, which devastated much of Brattleboro’s downtown district. (Visit This Link to see actual video of the Whetstone Brook claiming a few of the ARTist studios in this building!)
With this video as reference, it is encouraging to see the studio back up and running, with the building repaired, and spaces filled with creatives and healers. It is a testament to the strong spirit of Brattleboro’s ARTs, and it is a microcosm for the town, continuing to rebuild physically and economically from the ravages of nature 5 years ago, and the continual struggles that Brattleboro grapples with- using ART as a mirror for ourselves and for our shared spaces.
I am so happy to know that this place exists and to feel the life bubbling from its creations, reclaiming a sense of space that is safe and welcoming. It is places like this that make me happy to call this town home. In a real way, I am learning more and more everyday, because my eyes and my heART are open to the fact that there is so much more than meets the eye!
Maybe you’ve never seen these little pieces of delightful and thoughtful masterwork, and maybe you pass by them everyday, stopping to share a serene moment on the edge of the brook. Either way, they are a pART of the hiSTORY of Brattleboro, and just by being here and planting a seed or two, so are we!
Thanks to all of the ARTists who cultivate this land daily to offer a more enlightened and energized Southern Vermont town for everyone to enjoy.