By Aaron Retherford
When the Monteverdi Music School, River Rock School, and the T.W. Wood Gallery joined together to form the Center for Arts and Learning after purchasing the old St. Michael’s School last year, the plan was to create a consortium devoted to maintaining a thriving art, music and art education community in central Vermont.
Now, CAL is looking for input from the public to get a better idea of how the collaboration can best serve the Montpelier community.
“I think the strength of the whole operation is the potential for collaboration and community outreach of being more than the individual parts,” Irene Facciolo, director of the Center for the Arts & Learning, said. “I’m looking forward to hearing from different groups of people and the sort of ideas they would like to see reflected in the programs here.”
The old school and convent at 46 Barre Street in Montpelier also houses the Onion River Exchange, Summit School of Traditional Music and Culture, Shambhala Montpelier Meditation Group, and artists’ studios, creating a diverse microcosm of the arts in Montpelier.
“The group definitely wants to have a community space in the building. We’re hoping to have something that can accommodate a lot of the local music and arts, short of an auditorium,” Facciolo said. “We want to have a lot of traffic come through the building.”
Facciolo also said she hopes to expand the number of hours the building is used daily by about two hours, so it might be utilized 10-12 hours per day.
There is also is a plan to start fundraising in order to bring the building up to ADA standards and to improve parking, which could cost in the range of $300,000-400,000.
If you would like to offer ideas on how CAL can become an invaluable community resource, you’re welcome to attend the community discussion Wednesday night from 5:30-8 p.m. in the T.W. Wood gallery at CAL.