Who are we? BarnArts History and Programming

BarnArts was founded in 2012 to create more opportunities for our rural community to engage in the arts.

With a population of under 1,000 year-round residents, Barnard can be found at the intersection of three roads in central Vermont, 40 minutes from a stoplight. The town center includes a general store, church, town hall, state park and a 32-acre lake, all of which bring visitors to our town and make it a great place to live.

BarnArts enriches the entire region by providing opportunities to engage with the arts as both a viewer and active participant. Our audience and our performers are willing to travel to be part of what we do! Luckily for all, Barnard is a beautiful place to find yourself listening to music, watching a play, or singing! Our cast and crew in recent theater productions came from Barnard, Woodstock, Vershire, Sharon, White River Junction, Pittsford, and Montpelier as well as three towns in New Hampshire!

We are putting Barnard on the map as an arts destination by continuing to present world-class artists in the league of larger arts organizations, while continuing to serve our rural community through community-based participatory arts programming.

BarnArts does not operate out of one venue, but instead uses existing community venues or outdoor spaces, mostly in Barnard such as our town hall, a community church, and a local organic farm. We also periodically use stages in neighboring towns, and we work extensively with schools across the region – mostly in Vermont and occasionally in New Hampshire. In 2020 we took an outdoor staged reading performance on tour to 8 different Vermont sites (including the steps of the Statehouse in Montpelier!) We stay open to creative ways to reach an ever-expanding audience.

Our slogan, “Building Community through Art,” reflects the essence of our goals and our success. BarnArts believes that human society innately hungers for meaningful and communal engagement and offers an outlet for thoughtfulness, expression and reflection for community members of all ages. Interacting with live music, theater, and art creates a special and rare form of community participation and an outlet for civic dialogue.

Our annual programs include:

  • Four community theater productions, including our powerful Summer Youth Theater musical production.
  • Arts-in-Schools programming including our new Global Music Residency, bringing artists from around the world to public schools across Central Vermont and even into New Hampshire.
  • 20-weeks of BarnArts Feast & Field Music Series, an outdoor series highlighting local, regional, and international talent put on in partnership with local organic farms.
  • Jazz & Funk Winter Music Carnival, an all-ages community celebration held each March and designed to include opportunities for youth musicians to play a real gig and share the stage with professionals.
  • Holiday Cabaret & Winter Carols, which includes a free adult and youth choir program with professional choral direction.
  • Race Around the Lake, 5k and 10k races raising money for youth programming, including Summer Youth Theater and the expansion of Arts-In-Schools programs.