NO. R-164.† House concurrent resolution honoring the Painted Theater Curtains of Vermont.


Offered by:† Representatives Flory of Pittsford, Anderson of Woodstock, Botzow of Pownal, Dakin of Colchester, Rodgers of Glover and Wood of Brandon.

Offered by:† Senator Canns of Caledonia County, Senator Doyle of Washington County, Senator Dunne of Windsor County and Senator Illuzzi of Essex-Orleans County.

Whereas, during the concluding and opening decades of the 19th and 20th centuries respectively, painted theater curtains, an especially colorful form of narrative artistry, were adorning the stages of Vermontís public meeting places, and

Whereas, these curtains portray romantic and historical scenes from faraway places, and were intended to set a high tone at theatrical and other community presentations while the advertisement-filled curtains at the grange halls chronicled Vermontís commercial history and business sponsorship of the arts, and

Whereas, two of the more noted traveling Vermont artists who contributed their talents to crafting these stunning pictorial tableaux were Charles Henry, a vaudevillian entertainer who painted over a dozen curtains in different parts of the state, including a complete set of theater curtains now displayed at the Sudbury Town Hall, and Charles Andrus, who painted a Civil War scene on the curtain at the Chittenden town hall, and also painted the famous Civil War diorama which the Vermont Historical Society now owns, and

Whereas, Christine Hadsel, while executive director of the Vermont Museum and Gallery Alliance, was given support by the National Trust for Historic Preservation to search for these hidden gems, which now number 129, making Vermont the only state to have catalogued its collection of painted theater curtains, and

Whereas, with the much appreciated support of both U.S. Senators Patrick Leahy and James Jeffords, the project was awarded a major grant from the Save Americaís Treasures program, a collaborative effort of the National Park Service and the National Endowment for the Arts, to care for and treat these historic curtains in order that they remain available for research and continued use, and

Whereas, Christine Hadsel continues to direct this community participation project with Michael Sherman, former director of the Vermont Historical Society, providing historical research, as exemplified in a recent Vermont Life article, and M.J. Davis, the Project Director of the Vermont Collections Care Program and a conservator, adding her creative expertise, and

Whereas, many organizations have assisted in this ambitious endeavor, including the Preservation Trust of Vermont, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Vermont Community Foundation, the Windham Foundation, and the Vermont Arts Council, and

Whereas, among the prominent public locations of painted theater curtains are the stages of the Opera Houses in Derby Line, Hyde Park, and Vergennes, and

Whereas, a catalogued exhibit is planned in 2004 at the Southern Vermont Arts Center in Manchester, now therefore be it

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives:

That the General Assembly congratulates Vermontís Painted Theater Curtains project for its ingenuity, creativity, and commitment to revitalizing these nearly lost icons of Vermontís history, and be it further

Resolved:† That the Secretary of State be directed to send a copy of this resolution to Christine Hadsel in Burlington, Michael Sherman in Montpelier, M.J. Davis in Newark, and to U.S. Senators Patrick Leahy and James Jeffords.