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Island Arts Restrictions Set By Town of North Hero D.R.B.

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Please consider this petition in response to the Development Review Boards decision to limit the hours of operation and scope of fundraising events at their newly restored historic Homer Knight Barn. It is vital that Island Art events be permitted to take place in the evening past 7pm, and the Island Arts board of directors be allowed to set the number and size of their events.

Since 1984, Island Arts has provided art events, performances, classes for adults and kids, visual-arts exhibits and a wide array of programs. Their continued success depends on the strength and support of our community. The support of the North Hero Select Board ensures that we can provide a place for musicians, dancer, actors, Tai Chi enthusiasts and artists of all ages to grow and transform and invigorate the cultural landscape of Grand Isle County.

Each year also brings partnerships with local business and cultural organizations such as Shore Acres, Links on the Lake, North Hero House, Green Tara, and The Native American Community. In addition to hosting prestigious programs of classical, jazz, and popular music, Island Arts provides musical training, birding, nature walks, stop motion animation, poetry, painting, and self discovery. Island Arts provides funding for the rental of musical instruments for Grand Isle County school children wishing to participate in their school's band. Education programs are a fundamental component of Island Arts’s mission and are integrated throughout the organization

It is imperative that Island Arts be permitted to execute strategic fundraising events in the evenings to survive. In past years Island Arts offered many such engaging community events each summer such as Yang Bao pianist, Jorge Garcia Herranz pianist, Citizens Concert Band, Possum Haw, and the Vermont Jazz Ensemble. The South Hero Players are currently considering making Homer Knight Barn their future rehearsal and performance space. Ticket sales from these events help defray the operating expenses, finance the Island Arts Youth Scholarship Fund, and provide the funds for instrument rentals in order to enrich the lives of our children.

Audiences gathering for events at the Homer Knight Barn will meet new people and experience and enjoy the music, visual arts, fine crafts, and performing arts as a community. These same visitors can picnic at our State Parks, explore historic landmarks, shop at our stores, and dine at our restaurants. Island Art's events help attract tourists, stimulate business, and improve the quality of life, a large return on a relatively small decision to continue to serve and support their endeavors. Public support for the arts is the first step in our commitment to Island Art's future, and is an investment in the artistic expression of a town, a county, a country, and a society.

Do you want to make meaningful music, visual arts, and dance experiences accessible to more children and adults and help the arts flourish around the Champlain Islands? Island Arts cannot continue to foster promotion of artistic creativity in the rural communities of the Lake Champlain Islands unless the restriction upon their hours of operation and limitations of their functions be reconsidered. Without your support, Island Arts might not be able to provide a place in North Hero for artists to grow and explore their creative potential. The North Hero select board's continued support will help ensure opportunities for our community of musicians, and artists to learn, create, and share art in its many forms.

Thank you for your consideration,

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