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BRATTLEBORO—The Brattleboro Museum & Art Center (BMAC) will celebrate its first half-century with a 50th Anniversary Gala and a free one-day BMAC Anniversary Party.

The festivities are generously sponsored by Brattleboro Savings & Loan, The Richards Group and Trust Company of Vermont.

The gala will take place at the BMAC on Friday, September 9 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. The evening will include cocktails, appetizers, dinner, dessert and a champagne toast for the next 50 years. There will be live music from Bill Conley & Friends before dinner and ‘Dancing Under the Stars’ with DJ Keith Marks afterwards.

The event will be hosted by Wheelhouse Farm of Amherst, Mass., with beverages provided by Saxtons River Distillery of Brattleboro. The celebration will include a raffle for a Paris getaway, a rare magnum of 2018 Screaming Eagle’s “The Flight” and an oil painting by Vermont artist Michael Abrams.

All proceeds from the gala will benefit BMAC, with two ticketing options available: $250 for a gala ticket, which includes access to the entire event, including the dance party with DJ Keith Marks and the bar open ; or $50 for a “Dancing Under the Stars” ticket, which includes the dance party, late-night bites, and a free drink. Clothing is optional. The COVID-19 vaccination is mandatory.

The September 10 BMAC Birthday Bash is a free, one-day community celebration open to everyone. The party will take place in the galleries and on the museum grounds from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. It will feature live music, art workshops and demonstrations, birthday cupcakes, Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and a beer garden hosted by Beer Naked Brewery and the Snow Republic Brewery.

Musicians performing in the museum’s sculpture garden include The Eugene Uman Trio, Samirah Evans, The Sweetback Sisters, Burlington-based African/hip-hop group A2VT, and Vermont Jazz Center Sextet.

Local artists, including Charlie Hunter, Aaron Foster, Marta Bernbaum, David Eichelberger and Daniel Chiaccio, will demonstrate outdoor painting, guitar making, glass, ceramics, screen printing and more. Participants of all ages can have fun with giant bubbles, sidewalk chalk, face paint, lawn games and caricatures.

First Proof Press will be printing custom 50th anniversary tote bags on site. The Brooks Memorial Library will offer miniature bookmaking and a poetry wall, and the River Gallery School will lead a collaborative arts project in the Community Sculpture Garden.

BMAC was founded in 1972 by two groups of Brattleboro citizens determined to save their town’s historic train station from the wrecking ball. One group sought to turn the old Union Station into a museum of local history, the other into a center for art classes and exhibits. They agreed to work together and the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center was born.

After months of painstaking cleaning and renovation by dozens of volunteers, BMAC opened its doors to the public on September 10, 1972. One side of the old station concourse contained display cases displaying historical artifacts, the other a exhibition of new works of art by Wolf Kahn, David Rohn and other artists with local ties.

Today, BMAC is a non-collection museum of contemporary art and an anchor of southern Vermont’s cultural life. Each year, the museum presents 15 to 20 exhibits, 60 to 70 public programs, and an extensive educational offering developed in partnership with area schools and service organizations. For more information, call 802-257-0124 or visit brattleboromuseum.org.

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