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Art Hounds Turns One

Last May, I was a bit nervous... as nervous as I get when I plan a big party and worry whether anyone will show up.

This party, however, was figurative. Though, in a way, Art Hounds is a party: A weekly arty party!

It's been a year since we launched our arts segment and we couldn't have done it without you.

Art Hounds is truly a unique program. More than an arts calendar, it’s a vibrant voice – now over 200 voices strong — who tell you to seek out that exhibit or play or go see the mural or outdoor sculpture or a hear a particular poetry reading.

In our beautifully creative region, we are connected by art in all its forms and Art Hounds is your forum.

Through Art Hounds, you get to rave about, recommend and share great local arts events. And when you do, you support the works of your friends and neighbors in the arts community.

From the very first week, I’ve been struck by the passion you have for your fellow artists.

We’ve heard from an Art Hound who lent her mother’s grand piano to a group of musicians in a fledgling chamber music festival after there’s was damaged by Tropical Storm Irene.

Another Art Hound called our hotline, her voice breaking repeatedly as she tried her best to describe the works of her favorite painter.

Along with our Art Hounds scouting out great upcoming events each week and sharing them, Rachel Feldman, Communications and Web Manager of the Vermont Arts Council, also gives us a boost by sharing Art Hounds through social media, like Facebook and Twitter.

In the spirit of making Art Hounds truly unique and to mark its one-year anniversary, I asked local gypsy-jazz group Trio Gusto with Mike Martin if they would like to record a theme song for the segment.

Martin whole-heartedly agreed and set to work, composing. He said he wanted to write a theme song "that is like the Vermont arts community itself: Vibrant, fun and sophisticated without being pretentious."

Martin, a VPR commentator and French teacher at Champlain Valley Union High School, penned some original tunes and we invited him and fellow musicians Geoff Kim and John Thompson-Figueroa to come record in the VPR Performance Studio.

You can watch their performance of one of the original Art Hounds themes and hear the song below.

Through Art Hounds, you’re fostering a curiosity in our listeners. They seek out the artists and events you suggest. And I’ve also been fortunate each week, through researching the events, to immerse myself in the immense diversity of artists who populate our region.

Happy Anniversary, Art Hounds! It’s time to blow out the candles and make a wish: In the coming year, may Art Hounds continues to add more unique voices and connect our listeners’ through a shared passion for the arts.

Thanks for coming to the party.

Art Hounds on VPR was adapted from Minnesota Public Radio News and is powered by the Public Insight Network.

To become an Art Hound, fill out our form!

Mary Williams Engisch is a local host on All Things Considered.
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