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CONNECT WITH SVAC About Us

The mission of SVAC is to promote and nurture the arts.

We do so by creating an inviting environment for our community to meet, enjoy, and participate in the arts. The SVAC community includes our children, young adults, our full time residents, our summer residents, our visitors, our donors, and our artists.

We do so by offering quality programming which reaches the many segments or our community at Yester House, the Wilson Museum, Arkell Pavilion, and our workshops and summer camps.

We do so by providing our artist members an opportunity to grow through instruction, a place to exhibit their work, and the opportunity to sell their work.

We do so by being stewards of our assets – our endowment, our permanent collection, our campus, and our legacy.

Join us on our beautiful 100 acre campus at the foot of the Taconic Mountains. Reimagine the arts and connect with SVAC today!

Through the Years

August 1922

An exhibition of five local artists was held. Those artists, Edwin B. Child, Francis Dixon, Wallace W. Fahnestock, John Lillie, and Herbert Meyer, would come to be known as The Dorset Painters and would form the nucleus and beginning of the renowned Southern Vermont Artists.

August 1924

Ten artists show their work at the Equinox Pavilion. Seventy paintings, mostly scenes of Manchester and Dorset, were enjoyed by hundreds of people who came to the admission-free event.

August 1929

The “Southern Vermont Artists” held an annual exhibition at the Equinox Pavillion.

December 1933

The Southern Vermont Artists was incorporated.

September 1934

The Southern Vermont Artists, Inc. held their first meeting after that year’s annual exhibition.

Fall 1949

Dean Fausett reported for the Building Committee that the first positive steps were being taken toward finding a permanent home for the Southern Vermont Artists.

June 1950

The Southern Vermont Artists, Inc. purchased the Gertrude Webster estate.

August 1950

The 21st Annual Exhibition of the Southern Vermont Artists, Inc. was held Yester House. The exhibit contained 737 works of art by 286 artist, lasted a week, was viewed by more than 8,000 people, and sold thousands of dollars worth of art. The Vermont Symphony Orchestra performed at the opening on August 26, 1950.

May 1952

Southern Vermont Arts Center became a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

1956

Sculptor Simon Moselsio shows his work in an outdoor in the meadow adjacent to SVAC’s winding driveway and the Sculpture Garden is born.

July 1, 1956

The Music Auditorium (Shelter) opened at SVAC.

July 1958

Louis Armstrong and His All Stars played at Southern Vermont Arts Center.

May 1964

The Botany Trail on the property, maintained by the Manchester Garden Club, was unveiled.

1966

The Pavilion was expanded through the efforts of Louise Arkell.

June 28, 1970

After Louise Arkell’s death in December of 1969, a memorial concert was held that summer and in her honor the Louise Ryalls Arkell Pavilion was dedicated at SVAC.

June 1972

The first Beaux Arts Ball was held. Tickets were $12.50 and $2,000 was raised.

1988

Yester House was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

1974

Southern Vermont Arts Center became the home of the Manchester Music Festival.

2000

The Elizabeth de C. Wilson Museum opened. Designed by Hugh Newell Jacobsen, the Wilson Museum & Galleries provide a contemporary, state-of-the-art exhibition space for visiting artists and exhibitions. The Wilson also serves as a secure repository for our Permanent Collection, featuring over 900 works by Luigi Lucioni, Ogden Pleissner, Grandma Moses, Lorenzo James Hatch, to name a few.

2000

The Joan Hay Madeira Education Center opened offering two modern studios, each with ample natural light and courtyards looking to Equinox Mountain.