115 EASTERN AVENUE ST.
THROUGH FEBRUARY 16
by Elayne Clift
It all began in 1975 when filmmaker Jay Craven launched a four-night-a-week, traveling 16mm film series presenting foreign, classic, and independent movies to residents in rural communities of Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom. By 1986, it had grown to become Catamount Arts, now northern New England’s largest independent arts center, which helped found other cultural organizations such as Circus Smirkus and Kingdom County Productions. Today, it is responsible for a diversified program in film, music, theater, dance and visual art that enhances the lives of residents throughout northern Vermont and New Hampshire.
In its early years, Catamount Arts operated from a modest building located next door to St. Johnsbury’s Masonic Temple. In 2005, the Masonic Lodge gifted the building to Catamount Arts, and today the newly renovated arts center is central to the St. Johnsbury community, offering an array of artistic programs that often include world-class films and premier performers, in addition to simulcasts of the Metropolitan Opera, the Bolshoi Ballet and London’s National Theatre. An annex building hosts art education programs for children and adults, an EPIC Music Program in conjunction with St. Johnsbury schools and a spring Film Slam for almost 200 kids who want to make films.
Catamount’s third annual competitive art exhibition “ArtsConnect,” which opened in December and runs through February 16, was juried by John R. Stomberg, director of the Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth College. The exhibit received almost 600 pieces for consideration; 77 works by established and emerging artists were selected.