As floods level Vermont, its arts community takes action


The sleepy state of Vermont is bearing the brunt of flash floods battering the Northeastern United States, which have resulting in the death of at least one resident. The National Weather Service has warned of thunderstorms, hail, and potential tornadoes in the coming week, subjecting the already waterlogged region to further damage.

As stagnant water and projected inclement weather imperil citizens and complicate rescue missions, museums, cultural sites, and arts hubs across the region are closed and undertaking emergency measures. These weather patterns have extended as far as New York’s Hudson Valley, where arts spaces like Storm King Art Center and KinoSaito reported concerns over hazardous road conditions. Manitoga, a National Historic Landmark in Garrison, New York, is facing mounting restoration costs after its main road was made inaccessible due to the storms.

Back in Vermont, The Current, a contemporary art center in Stowe, was forced to close its doors on 11 July in advance of the storms, as was the T. W. Wood Gallery in Montpelier, the state’s oldest art museum. Vermont Studio Center, a world-renowned residency program in the Green Mountains, has endured unprecedented flooding, putting its prized print collection at risk, which had to be evacuated and relocated by a team of more than 30 volunteers. “Going forward, we do not yet know how much the remediation and replacement costs will be, but it is going to be a lot,” executive director Hope Sullivan wrote on Instagram. The multi-building campus has been partially submerged since 12 July.

This evening, 14 July, the Shelburne Museum will join forces with the theatre company Bread and Puppet to transform an outdoor concert with the band Guster into a fundraiser for the Vermont Flood Response and Recovery Fund. As the weather continues to bash Vermont, the state’s robust arts community will keep a close watch on the skies.


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