Forum: Feb. 12: Celebrating Champions of the Arts

Sunday, February 11, 2018
Celebrating Champions of the Arts

All due congratulations should be given to current Northern Stage Artistic Director Carol Dunne (“Women Who Run Theaters,” Feb. 8). But hers is not a solo journey. I founded Northern Stage in 1997 and led the organization for 15 years. My journey also was not a solo one. Before me there was Doreen Kraft, executive director at Burlington City Arts, who I worked with and who showed me how to lead an arts organization. And there was my mother, Joyce Dickson, who struggled her way toward the glass ceiling that was all too common in Fairfield County, Conn., in the 1980s, as a corporate art curator.

And there was Shirley Kaplan, head of my theater program, and Marilyn Katz, dean of students at Sarah Lawrence College. And my Darien (Conn.) High School director of theater, Nancy Hermann. And my stepmother, Nancy Brennan, executive director of the Baltimore City Life Museum, Plimoth Plantation and the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway in Boston. And my producing partner, Catherine Doherty, now a professor of theater at SUNY-New Paltz.

And I was not alone in Vermont, not then and not now: The current artistic director at Vermont Stage is Christine Alicea. There’s Dina Janis at the Dorset Playhouse; Lesley Koenig, managing director at the Weston Playhouse; Pamela Pantos, former executive director at Opera North; Orly Yadin of the Vermont Film Festival; Karen Dillon, executive director of the Green Mountain Film Festival; Loranne Turgeon of the Vermont Film Commission; Kate Tamarkin, of the Vermont Symphony Orchestra; Eleanor Long; Andrea Rogers, executive director for 30 years at the Flynn Theater in Burlington; Electra Havemeyer Webb, founder, Shelburne Museum (1947); Gertrude Divine Ritter, co-founder, Southern Vermont Arts Center (1916); founders and editors of Seven Days, Paula Routley and Pamela Polston; and Jennifer Carlo, the newly appointed executive director of Circus Smirkus.

These leaders are not celebrated because they are women. They are celebrated because they are visionary, extraordinary and ferocious champions of the arts.

Brooke Wetzel Ciardelli

Founder, Northern Stage

America Was Already Great

Memo to the religiously right devout: Donald Trump ran on the “Make America Great Again” platform. Every country has problems, including us, but we were already great. His slogan was and is a lie. His real slogan is “Make America Dead.” The fool on the hill is trying to kill us.

I cannot say “think about it” because belief doesn’t allow thought.

Stan Phaneuf

Newbury, Vt

Not Feeling Any Better at All

Are we supposed to be surprised that Rob Porter was given a high-level, security-sensitive position in the White House (“Trump Aide Resigns: Two Former Wives Allege Abuse,” Feb. 8)? He was given this position in spite of both of his ex-wives telling the FBI, their clergy, family members and anyone else who would listen that he had abused them physically and emotionally.

When the president himself is credibly accused of sexual assault, bullying and adultery, it naturally becomes accepted behavior for his subordinates. As he said, it’s all right to sexually assault women, “if you’re a star.”

Not only does our president embolden white supremacists, he tacitly encourages the objectification of women by minimizing his statements as “locker room talk.” And this is supposed make us feel better?

Ed Eastridge

Thetford Center

Sound Familiar?

Consider this: “Boasting that he was never tired, he was a careful and calculating executive, controlling his entourage through a mixture (of) blandishments and bullying, playing one off against the other, weaving a chaotic but cunning path between rational governance and fantastical myths.”

Or this: “(he) was ‘singularly impotent with men who escaped his mental horizons. He therefore suppresses them.’ ”

President Donald Trump, you say? From A Bold and Dangerous Family by Caroline Moorehead, these are contemporaneous assessments of Benito Mussolini.


Curt Albee

South Strafford