Meet a More Diverse Vermont in New Arts Council Exhibit

MONTPELIER, VT—The Vermont Arts Council’s Spotlight Gallery announces its new, all-virtual season with an incredibly diverse group of Vermont artists. Viewable on the Council’s website from Feb. 18 through April 30, I AM…2021 features the work and perspectives of 19 artists from the Council’s popular I Am a Vermont Artist interview series.

An important part of the Council’s mission is to expand access to the arts and creativity for all people, regardless of background. Vermont is not often thought of as a diverse state, but people of every stripe call Vermont home, and the different experiences they bring help to create a rich, vibrant, and varied arts landscape.

To celebrate Vermont’s diversity and deepen our state’s creative identity, the Council began publishing the I Am a Vermont Artist series in early 2019. Since its launch, the Council has published over 30 interviews with artists, exploring how their creative expressions reflect their experiences of ethnicity, gender identity, religion, disability, or age.

In fall 2019, the Spotlight Gallery presented I AM…, a multimedia exhibit and panel discussion with the series artists. To honor the artists who have joined the group since 2019 and to catch up with those featured in the first I AM… exhibit, the Spotlight Gallery is starting 2021 with I AM…2021, a virtual exhibit and event series.
Co-curating the I AM…2021 exhibit with Council staff is Shanta Lee Gander, reprising her co-curator role in the fall 2019 exhibit.

"I was already excited in 2019 when the Vermont Arts Council first invited me to be a co-curator of this special statewide series,” Gander said. “It is my enduring joy and pleasure that I get a chance to continue working with these artists and connect with new creatives around the state. What is most exciting about this iteration of I AM… is that now more than ever, we need a declaration and encouragement for all of us to continue shining our light into the world, being ourselves, and creating what we can’t help but create."

Among the featured artists are award-winning musicians, writers and performing artists, installation artists and more. Burlington artist Toby MacNutt will present selections from their current dance work, A Singular They, which recently earned MacNutt a New Work New England Grant from the New England Foundation for the Arts. Other exhibiting artists include Stannard drag performer Shani Stoddard, Fayston multimedia artist Kaylynn TwoTrees Sullivan, Brattleboro jazz singer Samirah Evans, and many more.

As a part of the series, on the third Thursday of each month through April, the Council will host a free virtual gathering via Zoom so that audiences can engage with the artists directly. Participants will have an opportunity to peek behind the scenes of the artists’ creative process and discover how they work, whether that’s in home studios, living rooms, or on kitchen counters. Pre-registration is required for each Zoom event.

For more information about the exhibit, visit


The Vermont Arts Council envisions a Vermont where all people have access to the arts and creativity in their lives, education, and communities. Engagement with the arts transforms individuals, connects us more deeply to each other, energizes the economy, and sustains the vibrant cultural landscape that makes Vermont a great place to live. Since 1965, the Council has been the state's primary provider of funding, advocacy, and information for the arts in Vermont. Learn more at
Catherine Crawley, VAC Communications Director,, 802-828-5422