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Five Seasons Painted Theater Curtains displayed in the Gallery at the Garden

Five Seasons Painted Theater Curtains displayed in the Gallery at the Garden

Michelle and curtain

Michelle Ratté with her curtain, “Autumn”

How many villages inspire the creation of an original musical composition, several poems, and five huge paintings? When southern Vermont musician Carol Wood composed The Saxtons River Suite, little did she know that she would launch a creative multi-media celebration on behalf of this 500-person village and its community arts organization, Main Street Arts (MSA).

Woods’ work for harp, flute, violin, cello and chorus is set to poems by Vermont poets, one for each season of the Vermont year: autumn, winter, spring, summer… and mud.  In turn, the poems and the Suite provided the inspiration for five local, internationally recognized artists to paint theater backdrops that measure 9’ x 18’—the largest canvas that these artists have ever painted.

According to MSA’S Managing Director Margo Ghia, “Five Seasons” is an original arts collaboration that weaves music, poetry, performance, theater art and history into a celebration of Saxtons River.  We are thrilled to be collaborating with The River Garden to show our new five theater curtains in the gallery during the month of October and at Gallery Walk on October 3rd.  We hope that others will be inspired by our curtains and the art project to find ways to celebrate their own community.”

The unveiling reception will take place during Gallery Walk, Oct. 3, from 5:00 until 7:30 PM, and is free and open to the public. The Gallery at the Garden is open otherwise Mon.-Fri. 9-5, Sat. 11-5, Sun. 1:30-3:30.

MSA occupies an 1840’s Odd-Fellows Hall with a second-floor theater that is well known for having the largest collection of historic painted theater curtains in Vermont.  Many of these historic curtains continue to be used in MSA’s theatrical productions. Wood’s Saxton’s River Suite gave MSA board members an idea: why not ask the five noted artists residing the town to each paint a new, contemporary theater curtain based on one of the five seasons. In order to inspire their work, Wood and a group of local musicians recorded the Suite and gave it to Donald Saaf (Summer), Michele Ratté (Autumn), Eric Aho (Winter), Charlie Hunter (Maple and Mud), and Julia Zanes (Spring) who each painted a 9’ x 18’ theater curtain.

Donald Saaf with his curtain, "Summer"

Donald Saaf with his curtain, “Summer”

MSA has broken ground on a new accessible addition. When construction is complete, MSA will host the World Premiere of the Five Seasons project in its historic theater where the Saxtons River Suite will be performed against the backdrop of the stunning new theater curtains. T he new curtains will become part of MSA’s permanent collection and used in future theater productions, concerts, and events.

Supported by MSA’s exciting and bold capital campaign Moving Forward, Moving Up plans are to expand the original building, acquire adjoining property, and add an elevator and accessible bathroom.  85% of the million-dollar goal has been raised to date. The building is scheduled to be open in December 2014.

The Five Seasons project is sponsored in part by Royal Talens.

Main Street Arts is a non-profit arts center dedicated to serving the creative needs of our greater community. We seek to encourage creative expression through a wide range of artistic experiences. The center is located in the heart of the village of Saxtons River, Vermont. MSA celebrated 25 years in 2013.