Arts Unite Windham raises more than $8,000 for local justice organizations

Arts Unite Windham raises money for social justice organizations in Windham County. Photo provided
Arts Unite Windham raises money for social justice organizations in Windham County. Photo provided

PUTNEY, Vt. – The Next Stage Arts Project announced that the Aug. 2 Arts Unite Windham event raised more than $8,000 for local social justice organizations, the Root Social Justice Center and the Windham County NAACP. More than $6,700 came through the online portal, and more than $1,500 came through an anonymous donation after the concert.

The Putney-based nonprofit served as lead producer and organizer for the collaboration among seven presenting arts venues in Windham County, resulting in a four-hour extravaganza of music, theater, puppetry, circus arts, and art history.

Net proceeds were split evenly between the Windham County chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the Root Social Justice Center, a Brattleboro-based, person-of-color led collective dedicated to racial justice organizing, community advocacy, and programming.

“I’m overwhelmed by the community support we had for this event,” says Keith Marks, executive director of Next Stage and primary producer of the event. “We brought together these organizations to celebrate Windham County’s range and depth of performing arts and raise money and awareness for social justice. It was a Herculean effort that required trust, coordination, and collaboration. I’m exceptionally proud of the work from everyone involved, especially BCTV’s professionalism in executing at such a high level.”

Thousands of people tuned into the livestream, which was hosted on Brattleboro Community Television’s YouTube channel. Marks commended the BCTV staff for their technical prowess in switching between Next Stage, the New England Youth Theater, the Sandglass Theater, the Latchis Theater, the Vermont Jazz Center, the New England Center for Circus Arts, and the Brattleboro Music Center for presentations and performances.

In between the acts, Marks was joined by guests to talk about topics ranging from racial justice to the state of arts organizations in Vermont, to how Windham County is faring in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The guest MCs ranged from Danny Lichtenfeld, director of BMAC, Representative Sara Coffey, Robert McBride from Southern Vermont Creative Network, Steffen Gillom, president of the NAACP of Windham County, Dr. Kat MCGraw, chief medical officer for Brattleboro Memorial Hospital, and others,” says Marks. “They brought context to the evening through underpinning the relationship between a healthy community, social justice, and the arts.”

Marks added special thanks to the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center, Brattleboro Memorial Hospital, the Arts Council of Windham County, the Southern Vermont Creative Network, and Rep. Sara Coffey (D-Vernon/Guilford) for their support, as well as all the artists who donated their time and talents.

To view the archived recording of Arts Unite Windham, go to For more information about Next Stage Arts Project, visit

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