Located in Stowe, Vermont, HDAC was established in 1981, growing out of a community project to save a historic building and use it for the benefit of the community. Our mission is to enhance the human experience through the visual arts. We provide year-round visual art exhibitions in our galleries and our annual outdoor sculpture show, Exposed, throughout the town; public programs such as lectures, panels, and film screenings primarily linked to our exhibitions; and progressive and innovative arts education programs for all ages. In recent years, we have evolved our arts education initiatives through an Interpretive Learning Program and Art Lab that create hands-on learning experiences for our audiences to become active participants in building understanding for the artwork we present.
We operate with the conviction that meaningful, formative art experiences be available and accessible to all people regardless of age, class, race, ability, and geography. One of our core goals and impacts is to ensure accessibility to quality arts experiences and educational opportunities for underserved and disadvantaged rural communities.
We offer guided tours and activities for schools, organizations, corporations, and individuals. Our offerings include an understanding of contemporary art and relevant themes that relate to the world around us. We can customize any tour to include an art activity or special feature.
The art center is driven by an ambitious curatorial vision shaped by the pursuit of meaning in contemporary art. Our programs consider how the arts can be a platform for activism, responding to contemporary issues facing artists and audiences, offering outlets for creative dialogue and critical examination of our social, cultural, and political moment. We strive to amplify underrepresented voices and urgent issues through our programs.
We work to ensure that our curatorial platform is responsive and flexible to artists. We are committed to supporting and serving diverse emergent careers, ideas, and projects, alongside unique, relevant opportunities for more internationally established and renowned artists. From commissions that generate new, original work; to exhibitions that reframe an artist’s practice; to experimental residencies, the art center strives to meet artists where their work demands it and to carve out a distinct position in our region’s artistic ecology.
Each year, professional artists and art educators teach over 50 classes and workshops, emphasizing progressive art education. From intensive summer art camps to afterschool classes, our education program has a broad reach, engaging 571 children, youth, and adults in a variety of media and activities. Youth classes such as animation, graphic novel illustration, puppet making, digital photography, and claymation are just a few examples of the variety offered. Adults enjoy a wide variety of workshops for the beginner and the seasoned artist including a Sumi ink workshop, introduction to oils, watercolor, stained glass, block printing, and so much more. Scholarships ensure that classes are open to all who wish to participate, and last year the Center provided 41 scholarships totaling $4,685. Our public outreach benefits all with programs such as a multi-school wide student art show, seasonal festivities, and pop-up art events that help make the arts a vital part of our community.
Helen Day Art Center is committed to fostering an inclusive, diverse and respectful work culture. The Art Center operates with the conviction that meaningful, formative art experiences be available and accessible to all people regardless of age, class, race, ability, and geography. Our diversity and inclusivity goals help us celebrate what makes each of us unique and reflect individuality in our service to our community.
Through our mission and everyday actions, the Art Center aims to:
Promote a civil and collegial environment through open dialogues that encourage active listening, respectful discourse and are rooted in a belief of equal respect for all persons.
Encourage staff to maintain an active awareness of the ways in which racial, political, or economic privileges are accessible to some, but not others and reflect this awareness in a more equitable approach to exhibition and program development.
Pursue partnerships with other local organizations, such as REAL (the Racial Equity Alliance of Lamoille), to cultivate a more inclusive, equitable, and diverse community.
Provide flexibility for staff to participate in local, regional and national civic engagement opportunities and access diverse, global artistic voices and perspectives.