About Main Street Arts
Main Street Arts was founded in 1988 by Mary Hepburn, a local arts teacher, and Karen Lanterman, a local dance instructor. After purchasing the building from the local Odd Fellows and armed with a lot of vision, they set to work turning a dark, time-worn space into the bright, inviting place it is today. Along the way, they were helped by many in the community who were excited about the idea of bringing dance, music, art and other creative activities to the village. In 1996, the Main Street Arts Board of Directors purchased the building, making MSA the true community arts center it is today.
The center is located in the heart of the village of Saxtons River, Vermont and has a large art studio, a kitchen, an upstairs dance and theater space, plus a few small meeting areas. The building also is the home of The Jelly Bean Tree, Vermont's oldest crafts cooperative, which displays and sells the work of local craftspeople.
MSA offers four sessions of after-school and evening classes and workshops for an average of 150Main Street Arts children and adults per session in the visual arts, music, theater, dance, exercise, traditional crafts, and writing.
MSA brings in musical groups and has sponsored concerts and cabarets featuring classical, folk, jazz, and ethnic music, both from the local community and professional groups. A variety of plays has been produced, including our popular Gilbert and Sullivan shows, by our community theater group.
MSA also sponsors a number of unique and ongoing programs such as , summer Arts and Theater camps, the String Band, and senior programming. In addition, it makes an appearance in the annual Fourth of July parade.
Main Street Arts is governed by a Board of Directors who are responsible for raising funds and overseeing the work of the Managing Director.
A yearly Annual Fund Appeal supports one-third of the operating budget, with the remainder coming from membership, events and tuition. The voters of the Town of Rockingham have also generously appropriated funds for our scholarship program.
Community Work Days provide routine maintenance at minimal cost and contribute to the community spirit of the organization, which has become an artistic hub not only for Saxtons River, but also for the many small towns in the surrounding Connecticut River Valley area.