New Name for Local Arts Organization

An iconic local arts organization has a new name—and a new look. Mad River Valley Arts (MRVA) is the name selected by the group’s board as part of a rebranding project to elevate the profile of the arts in the Valley. The board announced a renewed commitment to serving as a strong voice for the arts in the community.

“2020 was a tough year for all of us, but the cancellation of so many of our signature annual events reminded us of the important role the arts play in a thriving and vibrant community,” noted Mad River Valley Arts Board President Karen McPhillips. “Thankfully, support from state COVID-19 recovery programs allowed us to get through the year without staff layoffs and gave the board a bit of breathing space to reassess the programs that are central to our mission.”

With a fresh identity and positive outlook, MRVA has planned a full schedule of events and exhibits for 2021. “We all long to get together to enjoy the arts with our friends, neighbors, and visitors to the Valley,” said Past President and Director of Exhibitions Gary Eckhart. “My fellow artists have missed the joy of seeing the public response to their creative endeavors. We look forward to reconnecting as an arts community.”

Executive Director Kira Bacon has been exploring ways to expand the visibility of the many artists, arts organizations, and arts businesses that dot the Valley landscape. “The focus of our programs is visual arts, but our goal is to serve as a communications platform for all arts in the Valley—visual, performing, literary, craft, digital, etc.” To that end, the Mad River Valley Arts website will become a hub for news and information about the arts in the Valley. For example, the Vermont Arts Calendar is now available on the MRVA website, creating an easily accessed, central location for information about all Valley arts activities and events.

“Mad River Valley Arts is a small organization, so as we work to expand our reach throughout the Valley and beyond, connecting with other organizations, such as the Mad River Valley Chamber and the Rotary is critical to our success,” noted Bacon. “We welcome other opportunities to work with local organizations to expand and enliven the arts in our community.”

“The arts are an essential element of the culture, the economy, and the authentic Vermont experience the Valley offers to both residents and visitors,” remarked Mad River Valley Chamber Executive Director Eric Friedman. “The arts offer an enriching addition to a day on the slopes, a golf outing, or the search for a new craft beer or the best pizza in town. We look forward to working with Mad River Valley Arts to shine a spotlight on all the Valley has to offer.”

According to Eckhart, the schedule of events for 2021 includes an expanded Vermont Plein Air Festival in July, with three days of activities for artists, arts enthusiasts, and families. “Our Green Mountain Watercolor Exhibit, which opens in June, attracts award-winning artists from across the country and has received international recognition,” said Eckhart. “In August, we look forward to opening the long-awaited Retrospective exhibit of works by nationally recognized artist William (Billy) Brauer. We want to spread the word that the Mad River Valley exhibits world-class art and is filled with talented artists creating beautiful work in all mediums.”

One of the 2021 goals of MRVA is to expand its membership base and involve new residents and visitors alike in its programs. “Community involvement is central to our mission,” said McPhillips. “We encourage our art-loving (and art-exploring) friends and neighbors to join us as we launch an exciting new phase of this longstanding arts organization. Visit our website to discover the many ways you can help to ensure that the arts are an enduring presence in the Mad River Valley.”

About Mad River Valley Arts

Mad River Valley Arts has been a leader in promoting and supporting the arts for more than fifteen years. Based in Waitsfield, the nonprofit organization presents exhibits, events, and workshops throughout the year. More information is available at

Scheduled Events

Gallery at Mad River Valley Arts

April 11–May 21: ART FORMS: an exploration

June 6–July 30: Artist Partner Show

August 13–October 11 – William (Billy) Brauer Retrospective

June 11, 12 & 13 – Watercolor workshop with Tim Saternow


Red Barn Galleries at Lareau Farm

June 20–July 24: Green Mountain Watercolor Exhibition

August 1–September 6: Big Red Barn Art Show

September 12–October 11: Green Mountain Photo Show


Valley-wide Events

July: Valley Garden Tour

August 12–15: Vermont Plein Air Festival Weekend

December: Holiday Tour