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SVC utilizing Laumeister Art Center donation

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Above: SVC President David Evans and Bruce Laumeister during the press conference announcement in December

Last semester, Southern Vermont College was fortunate to receive the Bennington Center for the Arts, along with a significant amount of the permanent art collection. Such a generous gift offers wonderful opportunities for SVC, both as a source of entertainment and education. Several of the college’s classes are already being held at the art center, with plans to implement more in the future. Since it has been donated to the college, The Bennington Center for the Arts, has been renamed the Laumeister Art Center.  

A week ago, I spoke with Mikaela Zemaitis, who has been working at the art center since early October 2016. Following graduation, Mikaela plans to launch her career at the center. According to Mikaela she was familiar with the founders, Bruce Laumeister and Elizabeth Small, who felt that SVC was the perfect institution to take over their beloved center.

In previous years the BCA has been extremely helpful to our college, having provided much support in forming financial plans to preserve the school, and also in providing classroom space for various programs. Having been with the center for quite some time by then, Mikaela was made aware of the situation a few months before it was made official around January. Mikaela recalls being comforted by the fact that President Evans was involved in the transition. “When I found out that Elizabeth and Bruce were donating the art center to SVC, I was rather pleased, given President Evan’s love and appreciation for both the arts and the art center itself.”

Since the transition has taken effect, President Evans has placed Eric Despard in charge of coordinating the arts aspect of the center, while Kimberly Gould has been named site manager for the facility. Mikaela notes that Kimberly has taken great care to provide a strong sense of structure to the center, between covering legal factors and also in offering more consistent positions and job descriptions.

Currently, the art center is open for SVC students enrolled in Eric Despard’s art and music classes. Lynda Sinkiewich is also planning on running her “Acting Workshop” class in the upcoming semester, to take advantage of the great new theatre space and facilities. According to Professor Sinkiewich, “in recent years, we’ve done smaller productions within this course, but with the LAC we now have the ability to put on a major production; maybe even a musical!” With that being said, it’s currently not open for the public to experience just yet. Though SVC hopes to change that soon!

Personally, I’m interested in seeing the direction that Southern Vermont College takes the art center. I’m looking forward to taking the acting class and hope to see many of my peers there as well. The SVC community is extremely grateful to the Laumeisters for this wonderful gift!



Photos belong to and The Bennington Banner

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