Pentangle Council on the Arts (Woodstock, VT)

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Children dressed in Asian traditional costumes

Children in traditional costumes during Pentangle Council on the Arts’s Asian arts festival. Photo courtesy of Pentangle Council on the Arts

Founded in 1768, Woodstock, Vermont, has been called the “quintessential New England village.” The Pentangle Council on the Arts (PCA), which serves this rural community, wanted to showcase some arts and traditions that the population might not ordinarily see, and put on a two-day Asian arts festival, supported by an NEA Challenge America grant of $10,000.

Pentangle Council on the Arts presents arts programming to the community at its historic Town Hall Theatre, serving more than 10,000 people annually. PCA has brought international artists to the community in the past, and produced a Latin Caribbean festival in 2002-03.

The Asian arts festival was presented, in partnership with the University of Vermont Asian Studies department, at the Woodstock Town Hall Theater and on the Woodstock Union High School campus on March 29 and 30, 2006. The university provided resources for kimono and tea ceremonies as well as displays of Asian masks and artwork.

The festival immersed the community in Asian culture, from the dance and drumming of Portland Taiko to the folktales of award-winning Japanese storyteller Motoko. Other festival activities included demonstrations of Asian traditional dance, cooking, flower arranging, bamboo stick fighting, calligraphy, and poetry. Nearly 800 students and 40 teachers from 10 schools participated in the festival. Approximately 400 adult residents of the community also participated.

(From the NEA 2006 Annual Report)