Chaffee Art Center Annual Appeal

Chaffee Art Center Annual Appeal

As I am writing this, it is starting to snow giving the feeling of being in a snow globe where the busyness of life has slowed down to match the gently falling snow. I am always touched by the magic of winter in Vermont and the holiday season! Magical also describes the feeling when you walk into the Chaffee. The mansion is all decorated with lit trees, garland wrapped grand staircase and fireplace mantels, 3 young carolers standing in fluffy snow atop the grand piano, the over 125-year-old Christmas cactus’ beginning to bloom, and the unique works of art.

So grateful to work in this beautiful and inspiring place. This is my 5th year as Executive Director, though my connection to the Chaffee and what the Art Center represents in the community began in the early 90’s when I was fortunate to coordinate the Art in the Park Festivals through 2010. Returning April 2018, this marks 21 years having coordinated Chaffee’s Annual Art in the Park Festivals with October being the 42nd time!  It is the best feeling to create and be a part of programs and events that bring people together with the arts. The Chaffee Art Center is all about the arts and about connection. Connecting others to art in a way that allows them to explore and experience what it means to them. The connection of Rutland’s history to the people in our community and others that visit. Showcasing the beauty of the mansion and art within during special events/ rentals that connect people with their loved ones, friends, family, and community.

This year at the Chaffee:
-Work continued in the gardens: 100′ Pollinator Garden, Sculpture Garden, and more than 12 other gardens on our property. Much thanks to the Rutland Garden Club who has maintained the 4 beautiful gardens closest to Route 7 for many years, and to Artist Board Member, Michelle Hartline, who is out working in the gardens each week.
Many camps, classes, workshops:  13 Summer Youth Camps; Monthly — Book Group, Figure Drawing, Sip n Dip, Youth & Adult Watercolor, Pour Painting, Youth Acrylic; NeuroArt; Weekly — Artery, Drop n Paint, Ukelele; Artz Kitz To Go. Private classes for bridal showers, teachers, artists, groups. Free Workshops thanks to Karen Wurster. Artist Talks by Sydelle Gansl.
-9 Exhibits that showcased work by Chaffee Artist Members, including in our Gallery Shoppe: Celebrated the Vermont Maple Industry, Annual Student Exhibit, Stafford Technical Center Digital Arts Exhibit, work by Fran Bull & Peter Wallis, Vermont Country Store, Ann Clark Ltd, PegTV 30th Anniversary; and many other highlights such as Animals in Art, Art in the Garden, and Winter in Vermont; ending the year with the Member Holiday Exhibit & Shoppe.
62nd Annual Art in the Park Summer & Fall Festivals, major fundraisers for the Chaffee: This year we saw fantastic August weather with great attendance and sales. The October show was much better than expected but a bit wet. Thanks to all the exhibitors, food vendors, sponsors, supporters, volunteers, and attendees who make our festivals a success each year!
The porch floor got a new look thanks to volunteers … painting never really stops in and outside the mansion. 
-Fundraising and grant writing continues. Some specifically for repair/restoration of our 3 chimneys that total $106,900 for work that needs to be done by historical preservation standards. Received funding that allowed us to offer free programs.
-Many Events/Rentals including: Foster grandparent/RSVP luncheon, Refugee Paint Experience, RISE Paint Experience, Social Tinkering monthly gatherings, Baby Shower, Bridal Showers, Susan Farrow Memorial Celebration, Birthday Party.
-Annual Events: Spring Tea & Sweet Treats with Market & Makerie, May Open House, July Garden Party, August Music on the Porch Day, Annual Meeting, November Holiday Gift Show, Cabaret & Silent Art Auction, Gingerbread Contest.
-Community collaborations including: SW Council on Aging, RSVP/Bone Builders, Justin Thomas Memorial Park project to honor Officer Jessica Ebbighausen, Rutland County 4H, Rutland County Audubon, Rutland Free Library, Come Alive Outside, Social Tinkering, VT Actors Repertory Theatre, City of Rutland, Downtown Rutland Partnership, Rutland Rec & Parks Dept.
-crEATions Cafe now offering a hot beverage bar of coffee, tea & cocoa with lots of toppings, some sweets & treats including Caroline’s Scottish Shortbread, and old fashioned Candy each marked with history and dates of when they first were made.

There are so many wonderful people involved with the Chaffee who also care about the arts, the people, and communities throughout Vermont and beyond. Thank you to everyone who supports us with donations, volunteering and more.  Special thanks to weekly volunteers: Nick Woodward, Christine Townsend, Evelyn Rondinone, and Michelle Hartline; and the Chaffee Board of Directors! There are many friends of the Chaffee that are no longer with us. Our hearts are filled with thankfulness and gratitude for their kindness and support, and their importance to our history and growth are remembered. 

Looking forward, let’s all continue to strive to make a difference in our communities, cultivating connection and creativity! So excited for what’s to come!  

Please consider making a tax-deductible charitable donation. It truly makes a difference. 

Warmest of wishes to you and yours,
Sherri Birkheimer Rooker, Executive Director