Vt. Arts Council awards three grants

By Emily Cutts | Correspondent

Three Rutland County community and arts grants were awarded recently by the Vermont Arts Council.

An author in Middletown Springs was awarded a creation grant, the Poultney Public Library was awarded a cultural facilities grant and the Pawlett Historical Society also was awarded a cultural facilities grant.

Author Hugh Coyle, of Middletown Springs, was awarded $3,000 to support his novel “Peace at Last,” a work of historical fiction about the history of the Noble Peace prize.

“One of the reasons I was very excited to receive the grant, I wanted our state name somewhere when the book was finally published, in a big way,” Coyle said.

Coyle said he will use the money to help fund a trip to the Vermont Studio Center for a session in December where he will work on completing the manuscript.

The funds will also be used to publish two short stories about prize founder Alfred Noble and the first female recipient Bertha von Suttner.

Coyle will give a presentation, “Behind the Prize,” at the Rutland Free Library in October four days after this year’s prize recipients are announced.

“I’m hoping it will become an annual event,” Coyle said.

The Poultney Public Library received a $30,000 grant to support upgrades to plumbing and the heating, ventilating, and air conditioning system.

“We’re really excited. We fought for the top amount and we’re just thrilled to find out we got the whole amount to help pay for a new heating and cooling system so we can make everything more comfortable,” said Rebecca Cook, library director.

The library’s air conditioning broke earlier in the summer, Cook said.

In the winter, some people are forced to wear their coats and gloves during programs, she said.

The Pawlett Historical Society in Pawlet received $8,729 in a cultural facilities grant to convert the old chapel in the cemetery into an historical display and storage space as well as install an ADA accessible bathroom.

“We’re very pleased. It would have been a real struggle to do it without the grant,” said Stephen Williams, president of the historical society. “We very much appreciate it.”

The historical society doesn’t currently have a place of their own to hold events, and they are running out of space for their archives, Williams said.

Williams said that work is scheduled to be completed by June 2016.

More than $356,000 was given to 48 different recipients. The grants were given in five categories: cultural facilities, project, creation, technical assistance and artist development. The grants help support a wide range of projects, such as upgrades to community arts facilities, creation of a new novel, and playwriting workshops for middle and high school students, according to a news release.

“It’s really a wonderful thing to me to see all that these communities undertake. I’m consistently impressed with the energy and dedication,” said Michele Bailey, senior program director for the council. “There is a lot of energy and effort local folks put into these projects, and we’re happy to be able to administer some of these funds.”