On October 24 the Vermont Arts Council recognized several Vermonters for their contributions to the arts in the state during a ceremony for The Vermont Arts Awards. François Clemmons of Middlebury received the Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts. Douglas Anderson of Middlebury received the Arthur Williams Award for Meritorious Service to the Arts. Castle Freeman of Newfane was given the Walter Cerf Medal for Outstanding Achievement in the Arts; and Joan Robinson of Burlington received the Ellen McCulloch-Lovell Award in Arts Education. The awards were presented memorably in the beautiful Mahaney Arts Center on the Middlebury College campus, and I was included in the roster of recipients, recognized with the Margaret L. (Peggy) Kannenstine Award for Arts Advocacy.
The recognition by the members of the Arts Council was more than kind and my appreciation is deeply felt. Our Vermont community is always exploring its way stutteringly toward greater strength, inclusion, compassion and equity, all worthy and seemingly eternal goals. To have this path and purpose recognized at a high level of arts leadership provided a rare validation of advocacy that has been personally socially turbulent. I’m also delighted by the company of these colleagues and to share in the celebration of their achievements.
I send special thanks to Peggy Kannenstine for her thoughtful introduction of the award, read by Vermont Arts Council Director Karen Mittelman at the ceremony.
These were my own remarks:
I think of how much a part of being an artist it is to press into the world to alter its shape a little bit, to share an inspired vision or words or music that elevate. Artists are persistent in acts of creation and including others in their journey.
Artists assemble a new world from the one they’re born into, one that better embodies their values and what they cherish or seek. My love for the arts is due to this continual, unstoppable disruption and the changemaking it brings to humanity, like a treasure.
To be recognized for advocacy by the Council — To be counted as an ally to artists here, to this tribe of disruptors, lifts my heart, and I thank you for that.
Photo by Paul Balfour.