Arts News for March 13, 2020 
COVID-19 and the Creative Sector

All of us at the Vermont Arts Council are aware of the deep impact of the coronavirus outbreak on artists and cultural organizations across our state. The arts are the heart of public life, and the efforts required to limit the virus' spread are causing mass event cancellations, plummeting ticket sales, loss of donor revenue, and more.

To support the needs of artists and cultural organizations through this pandemic, we are maintaining a dedicated COVID-19 creative sector resources page on our website.

We will continue to provide information and links to resources as we identify them.  We hope you'll feel free to contact us, and to support each other as we navigate this situation together.

The 2020 Poetry Out Loud Semifinals

On Thursday, March 5 at the Barre Opera House, twenty-seven champions from high schools around the state gathered in the 2020 Poetry Out Loud semifinals to recite with all their might. All brought passion to the stage, but only the ten highest scorers advance to the finals on March 16.  Congratulations to the following students: 
  • Mollie Allen from South Burlington High School
  • Eliza Asante from Vermont Academy
  • Sadie Chamberlain from Lyndon Institute
  • Aiden Coli from Milton High School
  • Ethan Lisle from Champlain Valley Union High School
  • Kathleen Mayhew from Saint Johnsbury Academy
  • Fred Pohlen from Rice Memorial High School
  • Sam Powers from Woodstock High School
  • Owen Senesac from Bellows Free Academy - Fairfax
  • Eloise Silver Van Meter from Thetford Academy
And congratulations to the alternates as well:
  • Region I: Jade Edwards from Mount Abraham Union High School
  • Region II: Arianna Barrios from Arlington Memorial High School  

Revisit the semifinals via video: 
Photos from the semifinals
The finalists and alternate from Region 1 of the 2020 Poetry Out Loud semifinals.
The finalists and alternate from Region 2 of the 2020 Poetry Out Loud semifinals.
The Competition Must Go On... Video

The Vermont Arts Council has decided to cancel the public Poetry Out Loud competition on Monday, March 16 at Vermont PBS studios.

Given widespread concern about community transmission of COVID-19, it is clearly important to avoid bringing groups of people together from across the state of Vermont, whenever possible. In the end, the safety and well-being of our student contestants and our communities is our paramount concern.

The statewide competition will be conducted via video conferencing, and all of us at the Arts Council and VTPBS will do everything we can to make this a meaningful and successful event for all, despite the present challenges.
"Teenagers Recite Poetry" by Brett Ann Stanciu  
Brett Ann Stanciu.

2020 Poetry Out Loud semifinals judge Brett Ann Stanciu wrote these thoughts after watching an earlier round of the competition in February. Originally posted on her website,

Reluctantly, my daughter drags herself to a required high school poetry recitation.

While I chat with parents I haven't seen in ages, I see her laughing with a boy she's known since third grade.

Adolescents and poetry - how fun! One boy gives a comedic performance of "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening," beginning by asking the prompter, Where am I stopping now?

Another boy's fingers tremble as he reads a particularly beautiful poem. A shy girl comes alive.

Afterwards, talking in the dark on the short drive home from the theater, my daughter tells me about each student, how they chose their two poems, and what their voice was like. My daughter's second poem was Frost's Two roads diverged in a narrow road, so familiar, such a beloved poem. Nervous for her first poem, Emily Dickinson, she gained her voice with the second, her eyes on the upper balcony, her voice clear, melodious, utterly her.
Tonight the bear
comes to the orchard and, balancing
on her hind legs, dances under the apple trees,
hanging onto their boughs,
dragging their branches down to earth.
From " The Bear" by Susan Mitchell

Read more of Brett's thoughts on poetry and people on the Vermont Arts Council blog.

Arts Briefs
Applications for our
Artists in Schools Grants close Sunday March 29. Join our roster of teaching artists to bring your passion for writing, music, painting, theater, sculpture, and more to your local classrooms.
We're partnering with Inclusive Arts Vermont and the Southern Vermont Arts Center to off a special workshop on April 20, Inclusive Arts Education in Practice, to illuminate the power of art-making in authentic group spaces.
Nominations for the Vermont Arts Awards 2020 are open through April 6. Artistic achievement and outstanding efforts in arts education and advocacy are celebrated annually.
Upcoming Events
Bear Pond Books
March 15
Stage 33 Live
March 15
Bellows Falls
Catamount Arts Cabaret Room
March 18
St. Johnsbury
Vermont Jazz Center
March 14
March 21
South Pomret
Northern Vermont University
March 25
Brandon Music
March 21
March 26
Waterbury Center
Highland Center for the Arts
March 29
COVID-19 Event Cancellations
All Middlebury College Events Cancelled
through April 14
Savoy Theatre
March 20-25
Elley-Long Music Center
March 14
Due to the frequency of event cancellations during the COVID-19 crisis, we cannot guarantee that events listed in our calendar are current. Please confirm with the listed venue before attending.

Have you listed an event in our arts calendar that has since been cancelled due to COVID-19? Please email Desmond Peeples, Content Manager, at to update your listing.

The Vermont Arts Council is funded, in part, by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts , which requires a 1:1 match from the Vermont State Legislature. Council grants, programs, and statewide arts promotion would not be possible without the critical funding provided by these government agencies.

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