Vermont Arts Council Announces Cultural Facilities Awards to 17 Organizations

MONTPELIER, VT—The Vermont Art Council awarded nearly $200,000 in Cultural Facilities Grants to 17 Vermont arts and community organizations to help provide critical funds to improve safety, upgrade equipment, and ensure that the arts are accessible to all Vermonters.

The Council received 33 applications, the highest number of applications since 2001 when the Arts Council assumed administration of the program and began awarding grants.

Awards range from $1,000 - $30,000 and require matching funding.

Among the projects supported are upgrades to the 434 orchestra-level seats at the historic Barre Opera House, which haven’t been updated since 1982; a new insulated cement floor at the Big Barn at Clemmons Family Farm, which will double seating capacity; and a new heating system at the Fairfield Community Center, which has brought various social services and enrichment programs to Franklin County towns since 1992.

Since the program begin, approximately $3.2 million in grants has been awarded to over 200 theaters, museums, town halls and community art centers across Vermont to make essential improvements to their buildings, such as upgrades to lighting, sound, heating systems, and accessibility.

The grant program is part of the Building Communities Grant Programs established by the Vermont Legislature to “help communities preserve important historic buildings and enhance community facilities.” The Council partners with the Historical Society and the Division for Historic Preservation to administer the program. A panel of experts in historic preservation, architecture, and other building and accessibility expertise determines award recipients.

"It's critical for us to invest in the downtown theaters, grange halls, arts centers and other community buildings that make up Vermont's cultural infrastructure, especially now. We're proud to support these important projects that foster cultural vitality and to ensure that the arts are accessible to all,” said VAC Executive Director Karen Mittelman.

For more information about the Cultural Facilities program, visit

FY2021 Cultural Facilities Grant Recipients:

Barre Opera House, Barre
$30,000 to support the replacement of orchestra level seats in the opera house

Bennington Performing Arts Center, Bennington
$20,160 to support the purchase and installation of heat pumps and an air conditioning system

Caledonia Grange #9, East Hardwick
$4,390 to support electrical upgrades on the ground floor of the Grange

Clemmons Family Farm, Charlotte
$20,450 to support installing floor insulation and pouring a new cement floor on the lower level of the Big Barn

Dorset Players, Dorset           
$8,171 to support repairs to the patio and the installation of new gutters

Fairfield Community Center Association, East Fairfield
$11,307 to support the replacement of the heating system

Grass Roots Art and Community Effort, Hardwick
$5,233 to support the installation of an upgraded fire alarm system

Lost Shul Mural, Burlington
$3,599 to support the installation of a steam humidifier

Montshire Museum of Science, Norwich
$30,000 to support the installation of accessible gender neutral bathrooms and renovations to the Porter Community Room

Royalton Historical Society, South Royalton
$2,467 to support the restoration of a historic stage curtain

Saint Albans Museum, St. Albans
$3,470 to support new display cases and facility improvements to the electrical, AV, lighting, and safety systems for the Rail City exhibit space

Seven Stars Arts Center, Sharon
$4,075 to support the restoration and hanging of historic stage curtains

Town of Fairlee
$17,000 to support the purchase and installation of a stage lighting system in the Town Hall Auditorium

Town of Hyde Park
$10,835 to support electrical upgrades and the installation of a heating system in the Gihon Valley Hall

Town of Plainfield
$4,110 to support upgrades to the stage piping system in the opera house

Vermont Youth Orchestra Association, Colchester
$7,000 to support the installation of ethernet ports and the installation of audio and video equipment at the Elley-Long Music Center

Weston Playhouse Theatre Company, Weston
$17,605 to support stage repairs and upgrades to the theatrical communication system


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