SVAC sets reopening

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MANCHESTER — After a nearly three-month-long closure due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Southern Vermont Arts Center will reopen to visitors July 4.

"Our community craves the ability to see and engage with art again," executive director Anne Corso said in an interview on Monday, adding that she expects visitors will easily adapt to new procedures adopted in response to the pandemic.

Starting on Saturday and continuing through Aug. 16, SVAC's Yester House galleries will host solo exhibitions featuring artists Linde Caughey, Maria French, Robert Lafond, Stanton Sears, Susan Whiteman and Ken Young, according to a news release. A second round of exhibitions at Yester House will be displayed from Aug. 22 to Oct. 4.

From 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on July 4, an outdoor opening reception for the solo exhibitions will be held, with entrance to the galleries staggered to comport with capacity guidelines, according to the SVAC website.

The arts center's Wilson Museum will open July 11 with an exhibition series commemorating the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the constitutional amendment that guaranteed women the right to vote, the organization announced. The "Women Take Wilson" series will start by featuring three artists during July and August: Misoo Bang, whose mixed-media collages are part of her "Giantess" series, Sarah Tortora, whose sculpture draws inspiration from architecture and ancient Greek painting, and Lauren Booth, whose work will be featured both indoors and outdoors, with the latter including an installation that cloaks more than two dozen trees with hand-knitted scarves.

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A second phase of the "Women Take Wilson" series, from Sept. 5 to Nov. 1, will feature work from photographer and set designer Adrien Broom and an installation by Patty Hudak, who last year won a creation grant from the Vermont Arts Council.

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"While each of the five artists ... work in very different media and convey very different messages through their art, each one uniquely exemplifies what it means to be a successful female artist in today's society," the organization said in a news release.

SVAC will be implementing an array of new guidelines for its reopening, according to the release. Cleaning and disinfection of frequently touched surfaces will be increased, and barriers will be installed at welcome desks and in the museum shop. Visitors ages 3 and older will be required to wear facial coverings, as will SVAC employees and volunteers.

Visitors are being asked to maintain a physical distance of 6 feet during their trips to the arts center, and the museum shop will limit capacity to two people at any given time. Artventure, the center's family space, will remain closed for the time being.

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The arts center will launch a new restaurant, curATE caf , later this summer, according to the announcement. The new cafe will offer dining al fresco and adhere to the state guidelines for indoor dining. The eatery is a collaboration between SVAC and Church Street Hospitality, the group responsible for Barrows House Inn & Restaurant, the Dorset Inn and Dorset Rising Bakery & Cafe, according to the organization's website. Construction is underway, and an exact opening date will be announced in the future, Corso said.

SVAC is also offering a mix of online and in-person programs for children and adults throughout the summer. A full list of offerings — more of which are expected to be added in the future — is available on the center's website,

Amid its coronavirus-related closure, the arts center's popular "Art from the Schools" exhibition, which normally launches in April, was hosted virtually. Several classes were also convened virtually, including a paint-and-sip event that attracted dozens of participants from around the country, Corso said.

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