Holiday greetings from the Chaffee Art Center!
What a year 2020 has been! How fortunate to be able to live and work in Vermont. To be surrounded by beauty, inspiration, and creativity every day!
When reflecting on 2020, what first comes to mind is the hardship that has affected so many as a result of the pandemic amid difficult cultural times. But, I am also reminded of the wonderful relationships that have grown stronger, kindness of others, and ongoing support that represents the sense of community that the Chaffee Art Center inspires.
Even with being closed from March to June, we have lots of accomplishments to celebrate. With the help of so many who volunteered their time and in-kind donations, we now have: a paved walkway; spruced up parking lot with a new layer of sure pack; bright new signage in the back-parking lot, on our side door, and out front. Extensive painting has been happening and numerous rooms, pedestals, and the porch floor now has a fresh, new look. The second-floor turret room has been completely renovated. Plus, the porch railings and balusters are in the process of being replicated so that we will have the porch finished in early 2021! So excited to have an even more beautiful space to showcase artists and creatives, as well as for visitors to enjoy!
In June, we were able to reopen the mansion with limited visitor capacity for tours, exhibit showings, and the launch of our new Gallery Shoppe where we showcase artists and creatives both in the mansion and online.
We are so thankful to have been able to host our 59th Annual Art in the Park Summer and Fall Festivals, even though it was pandemic style. I am proud to be a part of Vermont’s oldest continuing arts tradition. This year marked my 18th year coordinating the events, which equals a total of 36 Festivals!
One thing these challenging times have forced us to do is to reimagine what we are and can be. We have had to find new revenue streams like rentals to include storage space in the Carriage House, off-street winter parking, and inside the mansion. Virtual Exhibit openings, online gallery and shoppe, social media posts, and our website have become our primary way to keep connected with artists, members, and the community. Though, we were excited to recently have our first in-person Holiday Member Exhibit Opening since June with RSVP’s for timeslots! We will be launching an array of online class offerings soon, and hope to continue to inspire creativity, the love of learning and fun in the virtual studio. As soon as we are able, our plans are to have in-person classes back in the Chaffee mansion.
Please consider making a tax-deductible charitable donation. There is so much more that we can accomplish for the better of the community with your help. Your contribution truly makes a difference!
The Chaffee Art Center is open to the public with masks and social distancing, as well as private showings and shopping by appointment. Looking forward to seeing all of you soon.
With a grateful heart and best wishes for happy & healthy holidays,
Sherri Birkheimer Rooker
16 South Main Street, Rutland, VT 05701