Founded in 2010 as a nonprofit organization, Next Stage Arts Project (NSAP) is a transformative, community-centered project dedicated to revitalizing Putney’s cultural and economic village center through excellence in arts programming and the operation of Next Stage. NSAP presents a wide range of performing arts, both in partnership and independently, including many genres of music; classical, folk, jazz, blues, world, and rock, a theater company-in-residence, spoken word and films. Artists include national, international as well as local talent.
Located in the landmark 1841 former church on Kimball Hill, Next Stage is a performing arts and community center that is already becoming the new anchor for Putney’s re-emerging downtown. Putney, VT (population 2,600) had been hollowed out by Hurricane Irene and two major fires, and NSAP was conceived as a way to rebuild the community. ArtPlace America's grant is supporting both the renovation of the facility, as well as for programming both during and after the construction work.
Next Stage Arts Project, in collaboration with the Putney Historical Society, has begun to transform the former United Church of Putney on Kimball Hill into a fully accessible, modern performing arts and community center to serve Putney and the region. The church was built by Putney residents in 1841 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Capital improvements will include a full accessibility upgrade including an elevator, restoration of the building’s historic ceiling, roof and exterior, major upgrades to the performance space including seating, air handling, lighting and sound, the addition of a green room, creation of storage and viewing areas for historic archives, and renovated space for community events including a community kitchen. The goal is to transform this historic building by honoring the integrity of its frame, changing its use and still preserving its traditional role as a gathering place in the center of the village.
While a good deal of work has been accomplished, electrical wiring, belfy restoration, and efficiency improvements, the major interior renovations are set to get underway June 1.
The ArtPlace America grant also supports a major programming initiative with two complementary elements, also now well underway.
1) Expansion of our successful collaboration with Putney’s own internationally-renowned Sandglass Theater to facilitate three National Performance Network week long visiting artist residencies in Putney, including performances and student/public workshops with our lead educational partner, Putney Central School. The first of these, April 27-May 3, is:
- Race Peace, a collaboration among the artists of Mondo Bizarro (New Orleans), Junebug Productions (New Orleans) , Roadside Theater (Virginia), and M.U.G.A.B.E.E. (Mississippi) Race Peace is a dialogue and performance project that creates communities of anti-racist practice. It was born out of the struggle of a group of artists confronting the brutality of racism in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. At the core of the work are the difficult questions about the roles racism plays in our personal and professional relationships, and in the cultural, political, and social structures that give these relationships context. This week-long residency includes performances by the artists, as well as a two-day workshop that links the artistic process with group visioning and evaluation, and a workshop with local law enforcement. The residency also includes outreach to local schools.
2) Creation of a multi-disciplinary (image, documentary and written word) special project to bring our large 'at risk' school age population together with elders to examine/uncover shared issues in the community. Nationally-renowned photographer Christopher Irion is engaged for this project, entitled The Photobooth Project. This project is carried out as part of the student's community service curriculum and will culminate in two deliverables: a large scale public installation embedding photography and written reflection, and a public event at Next Stage where participants will present the images and essays in an interactive, community setting.
The programs will occur from spring 2015 through early 2016.
See below for recent updates, press, and events from this project