Arts & Leisure

Virtual portal for Vermont arts open online

STUDIO PLACE ARTS in Barre is one of the galleries offering a virtual experience through Vermont Art Online — a new digital collective of art, history and science institutions across the state. The Rokeby Museum and the Middlebury College Museum of Art are two Addison County institutions participating currently.

VERMONT — Vermont Art Online is a new website that lets families, students, educators, and the public enjoy Vermont’s museums and galleries from the comfort and safety of their own homes. VermontArtOnline.org launched last Wednesday, March 25. Visitors can explore virtual galleries at art, history and science institutions across the state, interact with spaces and exhibitions, click on objects for deeper exploration, and link to museum websites for more information and educational resources.
The website was created by Sarah Briggs and Sarah Laursen of Middlebury College Museum of Art (MCMA), in partnership with the Vermont Curators Group in response to the closures of many of the state’s museums and galleries due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 
“We wanted to create a way for Vermonters to easily find quality online content, while providing greater visibility and broader audiences to local institutions with closed doors.” explained Briggs, MCMA Sabarsky Graduate Fellow. 
“As curators and educators with digital media experience, we thought our skills could be of service to our fellow curators,” added MCMA Curator of Asian Art Sarah Laursen. “The fact that we have such a close-knit network in Vermont made it possible to carry out this collaboration in such a short time frame.”
From the top of the state to the bottom, 18 institutions are participating and more are coming online each day. 
“Providing the state’s cultural institutions with the opportunity to be collaborative, mutually supportive, and responsive to unforeseen circumstances is one reason the Curators Group was created,” explained Vermont Curators Group founder Andrea Rosen. “We are so glad to offer our members this opportunity to stay engaged with the public.”
In addition to virtual tours, the website will soon offer at-home activities from Vermont arts institutions for teachers, families and students to enjoy as a resource for online learning.
In a joint statement, Executive Directors Karen Mittelman of Vermont Arts Council and Christopher Ilstrup of Vermont Humanities Council expressed their gratitude. “We are grateful to the artists and curators across our state who are offering creative and inspiring ways for us all to stay connected and to support each other, and are excited to partner with the Vermont Curators Group to make this online resource available during this time of social distancing.”

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