May, Art Month in Bellows Falls

The Flat Iron Cafe, Bellows Falls. Photo by Bill Lockwood

BELLOWS FALLS, Vt. – This year’s Art Month in Bellows Falls officially kicked off on Monday, May 9 with the opening of various collections of paintings by local artists, hanging at the Flat Iron Café, 51 Square. Managing Partner of the Flat Iron Cooperative Larisa Demos said, “We are thrilled to support the arts and the community by hosting the kick off of the month or so of events and also having our local artists and artisans’ work on display.”

The annual event dates back about five years, and has appeared in various ways since the group of artists that sponsors it was formed about ten years ago. Jeanette Staley, one of the original organizers and a participating artist over the years, said, “It’s an opportunity to recognize the culture and the artists… Every year we try to find the things that are going on in the community.” She notes that in 2016 the theme was “Resistance,” and art featured that year was in opposition to the global state of affairs. This year there is no such theme. In fact, last year the Covid situation prevented galleries from opening and there was no event at all. Staley herself has a studio on the road to Saxtons River. Saxtons River is also participating in the event; their art show will be housed at Main Street Arts. Robert McBride, Founding Director of RAMP (Rockingham Arts and Museum Project), and a participant from the beginning, said, “We will be highlighting artists, events, shops, and restaurants that contribute year-round to the vital and cultural richness and economic stability of the community… The idea is to highlight downtown Bellows Falls with the arts in a general sense.” Staley says the group chose May since it makes the events a “lead-up” to the Vermont Craft Council’s statewide annual open studio tour on Memorial Day weekend.

This year, the BFDDA (Bellows Falls Development Alliance) has also gotten involved. Director Betsy Thurston said of local businesses, “There will be people in town for whenever they are open… Last year it was cancelled due to Covid. There are going to be so many people happy to come back here.”

Flat Iron Café will feature artists Staley, McBride, Scott Morgan, Claire Adams, Phillis Rosser, Charles Norris Brown, Nick Kekic, Mike Lewis, and Shannon Parker.

Other featured locations include the studios of Rosser, McBride, and Mindy Fisher, as well as River Artisans Cooperative and the Canal Street Gallery.

For the Memorial Day Weekend Artisans’ Open Studio event, 33 Bridge Street will feature artisans working in blown and painted glass, pottery, stone, jewelry, painted floor cloths, and paintings on canvas and guitars.

Photo by Bill Lockwood

The Flat Iron Café, many of the downtown businesses, and Main Street Arts in Saxtons River will have maps and schedules of events. At the end of the May, 33 Bridge Street Gallery will be an official site for the open studio tour and will host a number of artists. For more information, check or BellowsFalls/. To get information for the Memorial Day weekend statewide Artisan’s Tour, go to -open-studio/.

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