What were the specific goals of this creative economy project? Describe the community development challenge or opportunity that your project was designed to address:
MSA created Five Seasons to raise money for its new addition, support and publicize its notable local artists, poets and musicians, and create contemporary art curtains for its historic theater. Our artistic ambitions are to use Five Seasons to inspire creativity in communities locally and beyond, and use our building to meet the demand for arts.
What other 500-person village can inspire the creation of original music, poetry and paintings? Carol Wood’s Saxtons River Suite launched Five Seasons, a groundbreaking multi-media celebration with a 9’ x 18’ theater curtain for each Vermont season including Mud. The project supports MSA’s fundraising and tours with the Vermont Symphony in 2016. Our goals are:
1. To celebrate Saxtons River and its creative economy.
2. To show how one art form can inspire other art forms and ripple outward into the larger community.
3. To support Main Street Arts and its capital campaign for its new addition.
4. To encourage other communities to celebrate their special, unique identities or histories, and in turn, stimulate the creative economy for their towns.
If the goals change over time, please describe how:
Our goals have not changed over time, but have broadened to include more and more individuals and organizations that have learned about Five Seasons and wanted to partner with MSA. As we have completed sections of this project, other artists have stepped forward with ideas about new ways to use elements of this project.
Who was involved in this project and what did they do? (be sure to include the partners from outside of the creative sector and how local voices were included):
MSA’s vision is to be a catalyst for creativity, accessible to all. Each of our local partners views MSA as the lynch pin for revitalizing our community. Our regional partners see us (and our Five Seasons project) as a teacher skilled at inspiring and educating audiences about the power of the arts to celebrate and strengthen communities. Together, our committed partners help us widen our reach and generate excitement for our many diverse programs and projects.
There is considerable buzz throughout the state about this project. Our five painted theater curtains have been on display in the River Garden in Brattleboro for the month of October, and the fall curtain by Michele Ratte was a featured cover story for the fall issue of So Vermont magazine http://vermontartsliving.com/?p=1533. Additionally, many feature stories about our project and artists have been written in numerous local papers. We have plans to display the curtains at the State House in Montpelier and we are currently in discussions with Alan Jordan, Executive Director of the Vermont Symphony Orchestra (VSO), to perform the Saxtons River Suite for their Farmers’ Night concert and their Made in Vermont concerts next year (late 2015 and early 2016).
How does this project relate to a larger community development strategy?
In creating and implementing this project, we have seen how other community groups have been inspired to champion community development projects. For example, the Saxtons River Park Committee has worked closely with MSA to develop a fundraising plan to create a community park on an old gas station property in the middle of town that abuts the beautiful Saxtons River. Our volunteer fire department is also looking to MSA for help with fundraising for a new fire station. We are the community torch that lights other fires in the village.
What projects or places, if any, inspired your approach to this creative economy project?
Bach’s First Cello Suite inspired the design of Yo-Yo Ma’s Toronto Music Garden; music created a garden, dance, poetry, more. Similarly, MSA’s Five Seasons project ripples outward to inspire, more.