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Quantifying the Arts

After graduating from Dartmouth, Serena Nelson first worked with the Hopkins Center for the Arts. She spent two summers at her local opera company before taking a job with the Pentangle Arts Council. She was hired to work in the Pentangle administrative offices but her background and skills quickly earned her a place on the production team for the summer’s performance of Oz. As stage manager, Serena helped Director RLee Adams coordinate the exuberant energy of a multi-generational cast.

Serena continues to work in the administrative offices and glows when you ask her about her experiences with Oz. Part of her excitement is born from the spark of creative talent meeting need. The other part is clearly the kindling of her gift working with children eager to fire their own imaginations.

At the heart of the Pentangle mission is a commitment to encouraging “accessible multi-generational arts experiences and the participation of both current and future audiences.” Pentangle began, in 1974, as an arts council serving a five-town area with Woodstock at its center and now reaches a diverse community including Barnard, Bridgewater, Reading, Pomfret, Quechee, Killington, Hartford, Hartland, Sharon, Bethel, Plymouth, and beyond.

Pentangle provides a local venue where we can share rare performance experiences, quality films of general and limited distribution, concerts provided by gifted musicians and consciousness-expanding education series. The scope of entertainment ranges from simple community events like the annual snow-sculpture festival (Vermont Flurry) and summertime concerts on the Village Green (Brown Bag Concert Series) to a performance by Judy Collins at Christmas. The Council works with area schools and non-profits, providing programming for several thousand school kids each year through the ‘Dana Emmons Arts in Education Program’.

Pentangle and the arts are where I dedicate most of our firm’s financial gifts dedicated to community support. The premise behind so many spending decisions today, both public and private, is based an objective criteria of a ‘dollars and cents’ economic benefit. The educational emphasis in school today on test-driven ‘Three R’s’ is missing one important ‘R’; the one in ‘aRts’.

As I see it, the greatest contribution of our local Pentangle Arts Council is the opportunity it offers local talent to explore and expand their abilities and to communicate personal creative vision. Another incalculable benefit is broadening and deepening artistic experiences in a world in need of a muse.

I believe the most quantifiable thing in life is the quality of existence and our human need and desire to share it. Art enables us to communicate the infinite variety of ways we experience the world in the isolated shells of ourselves. Art, in its many forms, expressed—in shades, sounds, shapes and words—builds bridges of understanding that defy destruction.

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