The Governor’s Institute on the Arts (GIA) is the summer oasis you’ve dreamed of, overflowing with creativity, collaboration, and inspiration.
“Being a part of GIA has helped to shape me and give me a sense of direction and control in my own life.”
**GIA is a 2-week intensive summer program for Vermont high school students finishing grades 9-11.
The biggest and best known of the Governor’s Institutes, the Arts Institute has helped shape the trajectories and artistic visions of thousands of students, including world-famous musicians, actors and artists. We don’t promise you’ll end up famous – but we promise you’ll have an amazing two weeks of fun, learning, and inspiration and leave with a whole new perspective and commitment to your art.
Choose from a menu of dozens of expert-led courses in film, visual arts, music, dance, writing, theater, and other media, then immerse yourself in two of your top class selections.
**Classes are different each year and announced when you arrive!
Outside of class, your time is filled with engaging workshops led by community members–teachers, students, and staff alike. Always wanted to learn… beatboxing? Salsa dance? Ukulele? Or teach… Pastel techniques? Adobe Premiere Pro? Haiku?
GIA’s open workshop format is endlessly enriching, empowering, and engaging.
7:30 AM – 8:30 AM: Breakfast
8:45 AM – 9:15 AM: Community Meeting
9:15 AM – 9:50 AM: Community Chorus
9:50 AM – 12:00 PM: Morning Class
12:00 PM – 1:00 PM: Lunch
1:00 PM – 2:00 PM: Workshops
2:00 PM – 4:00 PM: Afternoon Class
4:00 PM – 5:00 PM: Workshops / Specials
5:30 PM – 6:30 PM: Dinner
7:30 PM: Artist Series
9:45 PM: Suite Check-in
10:30 PM: Lights Out
Watch the Video
Whether or not you take a music class, you’ll be surrounded by music at GIA. Chorus in the morning will have you singing and dancing all day long. Classes often include songwriting, choir, group or individual composition. Musicians will grow personally and artistically as they learn to write their own music, collaborate with others, and have ample opportunity to perform on stage!! Jam sessions abound, and there have been many a GIA band formed and performed in a mere 2 weeks.
Over two weeks, our visual artists fill the gallery to the gills with original works. We offer classes in a range of mediums–both flat and 3D. Our drawing or painting classes include AND move beyond the boundaries of traditional practices. We work with nude models, we work with our eyes closed, we use weird tools, we work BIG and small. We work representationally AND abstractly. Our goal is to break you out of your comfort zone and provide you with some non-traditional approaches to visual arts!
Watch: Visual Arts at GIA
Theater performance classes will develop characters, scenes, and emotions that translate to the stage. Past classes included Improv ensembles, clowning, individual character and scene work. You’ll learn new theater exercises and games that hone your skills and help you work with others. Non-performance theater classes have included mask-making, stage prosthetics/makeup, and our infamous lighting classes which–beyond creating amazing projects–get the chance to light professional performances in the evening!
Meet our theater teacher Isaac Eddy
All ability levels are welcome in our dance classes (and all of our classes for that matter). Unlike conservatory classes, or Ballet 1, 2, or 3, our classes are centered around movement and self-awareness. We learn how to express ourselves, and have fun through movement. We often have one class involving choreography (both developing your own and learning others’) and one that delves into experiential and authentic movement.
Watch: Dance at GIA
We endeavor to offer classes where writers can engage deeply with their craft. Creative writing classes in the past have included foci on fiction, narrative, poetry, lyric writing, playwriting, and some with a mix of everything. Our writers are given the opportunity to write for the page, and are encouraged to share their work through readings and performances, both in classroom settings and amongst the larger community.
Our writing students often find themselves Filled with Inspiration
Film, photography, and digital media arts are so ubiquitous in our world that they have also become an integral part of our curriculum. Students make anything from narrative or informational films to abstract and multimedia projects. In Castleton’s fully equipped TV studio with green screen and editing suite, there’s no shortage of possibilities! With access to the adobe suite, our digital artists have created photoshop stills and animations, utilizing photography and traditional art mediums.
Check out these student-made VIDEOS
Every night we enjoy unique evening performances by musicians, illustrators, sculptors, comedians, theater troops, dancers, filmmakers, poets, songwriters, performers, creators, and collaborators. You will see local artists, alums, faculty & staff performing on the BIG STAGE at the Castleton Fine Arts Center. The Artist Series is the highlight of our evenings, when we come together to be inspired, to ask thoughtful questions, and to expose ourselves to many different artists and artistic genres.
Watch: Artist Series at GIA
We make puppets like mad from the very beginning of GIA until the very day of the parade. It’s a collective effort by all community members to create a single, large scale art event for Castleton and ourselves. Some of us are holding puppets, some are wearing puppets, some are marionettes, you choose! Everyone makes a puppet or plays in the band (or comes up with their own idea) to make GIA’s parade as BIG! COLORFUL! and CELEBRATORY! as we can. Every fourth of July parade needs more ART, right?
Family & friends are invited to come wave to us as we parade by!
See the Parade from above 2018
Candace Hope is a documentary photographer and producer based in Western Massachusetts.
She studied photography at Phoenix College and The International Center for Photography. Her work has been published by The Huffington Post, Fast Company, Take Magazine, The Valley Advocate, and Imbibe Magazine. Her work has been exhibited at the Sharon Arts Center, the Vermont Center for Photography, ASSEMBLE Northampton, and the Northampton Center for the Arts. She is a recipient of the Western Mass Creative awards for her work with SHOFCO, a humanitarian non-profit based in Nairobi, Kenya. Her most recent project, Ending the Silence: #metoo, was awarded a visual arts grant from the Northampton Arts Council and was exhibited at the Northampton Center for the Arts in October 2019.
In addition to her work as a photographer, Candace has extensive experience leading teams of designers, developers, illustrators, animators, copywriters and brand strategists to achieve award-winning outcomes on complex creative projects. She has managed teams working on websites, ad campaigns, capital campaigns, product packaging, brand identity, animation, and more.
Singer/songwriter Myra Flynn spends her career embracing dichotomy. Half Irish and half African American, her original indie/soul songs blend soulful vocals with a lyrical delivery that doesn’t let one get too comfortable. As the New England Deli Magazine puts it, “Her vocal influences have as much in common with Ani Difranco and Shawn Colvin as they do with Rihanna and Jill Scott.” Flynn spent her Vermont childhood clad in leopard print and platform shoes, singing and dancing atop anything that looked remotely like a stage. These days, not much has changed. Currently, Myra Flynn lives a bi-coastal life, still holding onto her roots in Vermont half of her year while also working and living part-time in Los Angeles under the guidance of Swift Street Management Team. She has created a jewelry line made from recycled piano parts and recently partnered with Vermont Vineyard Shelburne Vineyard to create a namesake wine: FLYNN. She has toured the United States countless times as well as: Whales, London, Ireland and most frequently, Australia. Her motto regarding next steps and fame tends to be: “If you’re doing it, you’ve already made it.”
Isaac Littlejohn Eddy lives in Johnson, VT with his wife, writer and Chinese environmental policy expert, Lucia Green-Weiskel, their two daughters, their dog, and 7 hens. He received his BA in film studies at Wesleyan University in Connecticut and his MFA in Performance and Interactive Media Art from the City University of New York, Brooklyn College. For the past twelve years Isaac has performed with Blue Man Group in New York City, Chicago, London, and Las Vegas. With the production he has helped cast and train Blue Men, captain casts, write material, and perform nightly in the show. Isaac is also a founding member of the immersive theater group, Fixed Agency, that had a residency at the BLDG92 museum in the Brooklyn Navy Yard in 2014 and presented their work entitled “Private(i)” at the Brooklyn BEAT festival that year.
Isaac is an Assistant Professor of Theater and Drama at Northern Vermont University Johnson. On the campus’ main stage Isaac has directed Eurydice by Sarah Ruhl, Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakepseare, a devised immersive piece adapted from Sophocles’ Antigone, and Mr. Burns: A Post-Electric Play by Anne Washburn. Isaac has led workshops and lectured on improv, acting, and devised experimental theater at the Association for Theatre in Higher Education, TEDx Battenkill, NYU TISCH, the University of Michigan, and the Governor’s Institute on the Arts of Vermont.
Isaac is also a writer and a cartoonist and has been published in the New Yorker and in the weekly newspaper, The Herald of Randolph, Vermont. He makes animated documentary shorts for Time Magazine and has a non-fiction multi-panel series about the people that live and work in his neighborhood published in the New York Times’ Brooklyn blog, “The Local.” Isaac also created and animated the online series, “Cat, Dog, Stoop.”
Robin MacArthur is a writer, teacher and activist who lives on the land where she grew up in Marlboro, Vermont. She is the author of two books of fiction–(Half Wild: a collection of short stories, and Heart Spring Mountain: a novel)–both of which are about home, belonging, wildness, and growing up in these green mountains. She is the founder of Word House, a fledgling literary arts organization in Brattleboro, is one half of the indie-folk duo Red Heart the Ticker, and, when not teaching or writing or strumming the guitar, can be found than traipsing around the woods with her half-wild children.
Estefania Puerta is a visual artist and educator based in Vermont. She got her MFA from the Yale School of Art in 2018 and currently teaches Studio Art at Middlebury College. She works in different media including sculpture, painting, drawing, and performance art. Her most recent show was at the BCA Center in 2020 and she is working towards a forthcoming solo show at SITUATIONS Gallery in NYC for September. Aside from artist work, Estefania is passionate about social justice issues and being in the woods with her two dogs and partner.
Kathryn Kerr received a B.F.A. in painting from Cooper Union in 2004 and an M.F.A. in painting from Yale University School of Art in 2018. She has taught drawing and printmaking at the Yale School of Art and the Yale Norfolk Program. She has given lectures on her work at Universität für angewandte Kunst Wien in Austria and at Middlebury College in Vermont. Recent exhibitions include a two-person show at The Boom Boom Room in Brooklyn and group shows at Galerie Lisa Kandlhofer in Vienna and Magenta Plains in New York City. She has been an artist-in-residence at the Shandaken Project, NY; Palazzo Stabile in Italy; and Tilleard Projects in Lamu, Kenya.
Cavan Meese got his start in theater at an early age with the Bread and Puppet Theater and in performances at schools, libraries, clubs, festivals and small theaters around the country with his family. Cavan is an alumni of the Governor’s Institute on the Arts and first studied lighting design and television production at Castleton State College. He went on to The University of the Arts in Philadelphia where he studied theater arts and apprenticed with lighting designers and directors at the Pennsylvania Ballet, The Arden Theater, Pig Iron Theater, and others. Cavan has designed for Anais Mitchell (Hadestown), Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, Circus Smirkus Big Top Tour, Phish, Vermont Stage Company, Lost Nation Theater, The Barre Opera House, Kingdom County Productions (The Voices Project Tour), Ryno Fest, The Northeast Kingdom Music Festival, and toured extensively as both a performer and lighting technician. Cavan is founder of The Parker Pie Company and the Village Hall barn stage in West Glover.
Eva is an interdisciplinary theater artist and filmmaker whose work combines performance, media, and storytelling. She was born in Germany and has lived in the United States since 2008, but never got rid of her accent. Her films, both documentary and narrative, have screened at festivals including Tribeca Film Festival, Palm Springs International ShortFest, International Short Film Festival Oberhausen and others around the world. Eva is fascinated with the boundary between the analog and the digital, and between the fictional and the real. Her work often invites the audience to apply their own imagination, making them active parts of the storytelling process. As a video and sound designer, Eva has worked with New York theater companies and artists including Elevator Repair Service, Sibyl Kempson, Eliza Bent, Sarah Hughes, and Superhero Clubhouse. Furthermore, Eva has worked as a movie projectionist for about 15 years. When you turn around in your seat at the movie theater and look back to where the image on the screen is coming from, that’s where she is, up in the booth, pushing buttons and threading up the film in the projector.
Hilary Clark is a dancer, teacher, and choreographer, performing in pivotal experimental dance and theater based work, touring nationally and internationally. She received a New York Dance and Performance Award (2008) for her work with Tere O’Connor (2004–2014), Luciana Achugar (2005–2015), and Fiona Marcotty. She has also worked with Luke George, Jen Rosenblit, Miguel Gutierrez and the Powerful People, Young Jean Lee Theater Company, Jon Kinzel, Larissa Velez Jackson, Keyon Gaskin, and Gerard and Kelly.
As a 2015 Artist in Residence at collective address (NYC), she explored the role and work of the dancer as well as developing Duet for/with/including Jen. Her solo, Accessories of Protection, premiered at Danspace Project (2012), her work as a performer and choreographer is documented in Jenn Joy’s book The Choreographic (MIT, 2014). Clark has taught at Chunky Move (Australia), Portland Institute of Contemporary Art, Pacific NorthWest College of Art (Oregon), Velocity Dance Center (Seattle, WA) and Movement Research (NYC). She is the director of Citrine Pilates &Wellness in Brooklyn, NY and is currently a teaching fellow and MFA candidate at Bennington College.
Cailin Marcel Manson, baritone and conductor, a Philadelphia native, has toured as a performer and master teacher at major concert venues throughout the United States, Europe and Asia with many organizations, including the Radio-Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart, SWR Sinfonieorchester, Taipei Philharmonic, Bayerische Staatsoper – Münchner Opernfestspiele, Choral Arts Society of Philadelphia, Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, Teatro La Fenice, Teatro San Carlo, Konservatorium Oslo, and the Conservatoire de Luxembourg.
He has also been a guest cantor and soloist at some of the world’s most famous churches and cathedrals, including Notre Dame, Sacré-Coeur, and La Madeleine in Paris, San Marco in Venice, Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence, San Salvatore in Montalcino, Santa Maria Maggiore and San Giovanni in Laterano in Rome, Thomaskirche and Nikolaikirche in Leipzig, and Wieskirche in Steingaden.
Cailin has held positions as Artistic Director and Conductor of the Montgomery County Youth Orchestra, Music Director of the Vorarlberger Musikfest, Music Director and Conductor Laureate of the Chamber Symphony of Atlantic City, Chair of Vocal Studies at the Hazleton Conservatory for the Performing Arts, and as a member of the voice faculty of both the Napoli School of Music and Dance and Performing Arts Institute of Wyoming Seminary.
Cailin is a frequent guest conductor, clinician, presenter, panelist, and adjudicator for conventions, conferences, competitions, and music festivals. Cailin studied voice performance at Temple University, and opera performance and orchestral conducting at the Universität Mozarteum Salzburg.
MacArthur Stine moved to Vermont as a 2 year old with a bindle full of dreams and a golden retriever named Annie. He spent his youth tramping the forests of Cornwall Vermont and can still often be found meandering amongst the maples. Since high school he has been active both on and backstage. A graduate of the Second City Conservatory, he founded a sketch group, Sassafrass Productions, worked at the Steppenwolf Scene Shop, and ran a successful standup showcase. Following his move back to Vermont in ’09, he immediately left to work for FELD Entertainment as a touring Props Master, Pyrotechnician and Assistant Stage Manager for both Mickey Mouse and Phineas and Ferb. For the last few years he has been the Director of Technical Services at Castleton University, providing lights, sound and other sundries for too many acts to mention. He is the lucky spouse of Haley Rice and proud father to two year old, Keaton Stine. He is super excited to be involved with GIA and hopes you are too!
Sara Peattie is a professional puppet artist who works with The Puppeteers’ Cooperative, a group of artists and musicians creating giant puppet pageants and parades, Hi-Art videos, Puppaganda; for mini street shows; the Back Alley Puppet Theater, which creates parades and parade puppets in the Boston area; and the Puppet Free Libraries, which lend puppets, banners, and masks to people and institutions in the New York and Boston areas.
The Puppeteers’ Cooperative Home Page: (https://puppetco-op.org/) is a popular resource on the web, and its booklet “68 Ways to Make Really Big Puppets: a Patternbook of Parades and Pageants” has been translated into German and Spanish.
Corey grew up in a log cabin in the woods of Middlesex, Vermont. After graduating from Wesleyan University he became a professional contemporary dancer, while also mixing in some carpentry, teaching, cooking, arts administration, emergency medicine, conflict resolution, and educational advocacy. He is now the Chief People Officer at ROLI, a music technology company, headquartered in London, UK, where he lives with his wife Kate and daughters Hazel and Willa. He is inspired by the work of, among others, Toni Morrison, Noella Coursaris Musunka, James Baldwin, and Cary Wolfe.
Malina Leslie is a red-headed giggler who graduated from the University of Vermont with a BA in English and Art. She fuses the two together to make comics, varying in length from one panel to entire graphic essays. She worked for cartoonist Alison Bechdel on her comic book “Are You My Mother” and is currently the Head of People Development for ROLI in NYC. She has lived for significant chunks of time on four of the seven continents and has gotten really good at decorating envelopes because of it. Originally from Hardwick, Vermont, she attended GIA as a student and is always thrilled to return!
Hazel Wood was born and raised in Thetford, Vermont. She loves to dabble in all sorts of visual arts mediums and thoroughly enjoys problem-solving and building things. She enjoys learning by trying new things and relishes epic failures that lead to revelations. Sometimes a performer, she acts, clowns and shakes her booty in various festivals and performances that she gets roped into (usually by her sister Sophie Wood). When she’s not traveling, she lives in Portland, OR where she is usually working on lots of creative construction projects. Hazel still thinks of GIA as one of those rare places where she can run wild and be herself and is so looking forward to it.
Sophie Wood is a sequin lover, a poet, and a clown. Born and raised in the woods of Vermont, she splits her year between life as a performance artist and chasing runaway pigs on the flower farm. Her artistic practice is focused on the creation of collaborative work, both performative and visual, as the curatorial leader of The Royal Frog Ballet collective. She also teaches Shakespeare and clowning, works in textile, dabbles in cartoon, dances when she gets the chance, is currently writing a book of poems, and has worked with Bread and Puppet Theater and The Cleveland Museum of Art’s Parade the Circle, waggling puppets and parading in circles. She is thrilled to be at GIA on the 20th anniversary of her time there as a student.
Sam returns for our virtual institute as a third year RA! A GIA participant herself in 2010, Sam was a student at The Sharon Academy where she participated regularly in the performing arts, especially theatre. She went on to attend Beloit College in Wisconsin, where she expanded those horizons by adding in experience in sketch comedy, writing for performance, dance and a capella. In addition to being a fan of the arts and community building, Sam is also a globe trotter, having lived in four states and three countries. She is currently a resident of Bogotá, Colombia, where she helps to lead and develop the customer support department at a tech company. She cannot wait to meet and grow with this year’s fabulous artists!
Emily C. Billado is just your average art loving, coffee drinking, theatre enthusiast who was born and raised in Castleton, VT. While she left for the big city (Washington D.C.) for 5 years, she eventually had to follow the call of New England’s mountains and relocated closer to home in Amherst, MA. When she isn’t working as a college admissions counselor, she can be found exploring museums (virtually as of late!), making music, reading plays, or sewing! GIA is the highlight of her year and she can’t wait to be inspired and learn from some amazing young artists!
Kaelan is a filmmaker based in central New York. He was raised as a struggling existential artist since his young childhood in Southern Vermont, but his passion for Film has lead him to study in Bologna Italy, Prague Czech Republic and earn a BFA in Film from Syracuse University. He is excited to return home to Vermont and spend a summer with other excited young artists, or at the very least from his bedroom currently turned office. During the rare occasion when he is not working on set he enjoys listening to bass music, going to music festivals, watching movies, reading LOTR or mind mending Science Fiction novels and drinking coffee.
Amanda grew up in Upstate NY and has spent most of her life outside. When she’s not outside with her Newfoundland pup Mimi (pictured) she can often be found getting crafty.
She enjoys cross-stitching, sketching, working with watercolor, making cards, and sewing. She is working to improve her sewing skills so that she can tailor and alter clothes! If she’s not crafting she could very well be baking. She loves to mix flavors together and has been perfecting her vegan cookbook for years. Her current favorite flavor combination is lavender and lemon. She also loves to read and write and takes pride in being a Nancy Drew aficionado and a list-making fiend.
Her most recent project has been navigating the world of law school. She was just accepted into Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon. Next year she will begin her studies to become an environmental lawyer!
In general, GIA days follow the same structure as a typical day though every day has tons of new, different and exciting workshops, specials, performance and more. The exceptions are Sundays which are each unique. And of course the Parade!
Led by our incredible Parade Wizard Sara Peattie, we take to the streets of Castleton with giant puppets, costumes, and samba drums! Remember to bring your water bottle, a white outfit, and closed-toed walking shoes.
GIA occurs on the campus of Castleton University in Castleton, VT. We have full use of their gorgeous, state-of-the-art Fine Arts Center and we also occupy dormitories, eat at their dining hall, and hang out in a number of the campus green spaces. We have a wonderful, long-standing, respectful relationship with Castleton’s campus and employees and we’re excited to welcome you into this environment and relationship.
You’ll share a room in a dorm at Castleton with a roommate. Your room will be part of a small group of rooms (a suite) with a common space in the middle. You’ll have an RA who lives in your suite with you and your suite-mates, who’ll be an awesome, friendly resource for you to navigate GIA smoothly and safely. You’ll also have other RAs in your classes, so there will be lots of cool folks to connect with, befriend and answer questions! The community aspect is as important as the arts at GIA
Each student gets their own bed, dresser, closet (though without hangers so bring some if you need them), desk and chair. There is an overhead light so feel free to bring a lamp and/or fan if that makes things feel more comfortable.
Nope, we try our best to room you with someone you don’t know, actually. GIA is all about meeting new people and connecting with other VT artists from around the state in one big community. And, believe it or not, there’s so much to do that we don’t really spend that much time in our rooms except for all that necessary sleeping!
You’ll find out the class options for this year on Sunday when you arrive. You’ll have a chance to meet all the faculty and hear a little about each classes. On Sunday night you’ll pick some classes that you’d be interested in taking, and on Monday morning (once we’ve tried our best to get everyone into at least one—and often two—of their most favorite classes) you’ll find out which classes you’ve gotten in to. They are all great choices, so you can’t really go wrong in picking! To get a sense of classes that are offered, check out our CLASSES & OFFERINGS section above, and visit the different options.
Nope—and why would you? All of our faculty is fantastic and we want you to get a chance to learn from as many of them as possible, both in class and out. See our Faculty & Staff above to get a sense of the GIA team!
It shouldn’t be. The cafeteria works hard to have vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, etc options available for us. If you’re concerned, let us or your RA know when you arrive and we’ll make sure you don’t go hungry.
No, we ask that everyone arrive on the first Sunday during scheduled registration (1:30 pm — 3:30 pm). If you are struggling to find a ride to GIA, let us know and we’ll try to connect you with another student coming from your area.
No, all students participate in the entire duration of the institute. We work very hard to structure a holistic experience and the final hours are some of the most important. If you’re concerned about a conflict, please contact us.
Nope. We ask that you commit to the full experience for the duration of the institute, so we can’t have folks leaving during the GIA. We also find it is disruptive to more than just your experience (your classes, suite mates, room mate) which is another reason why we don’t allow it.
Every day you will walk the 8 minutes to and from the student dorms and the Fine Arts Center multiple times. This walk will seem like nothing after day one but it's important that you bring comfortable shoes, especially for the parade day. There are also times to dress up for Artist Series and performances so feel free to bring some fun pumps, glittery heels or your furry slippers(!) Other questions? See our list of what to bring.
If you forgot something, no worries, we just ask that parents drop it off to us at the Fine Arts Center Box Office and we will be sure that it gets to you.
You may drive yourself to the institute, however, once you arrive you may not return to your car (even to get something out of it) until the institute finishes on the final Sunday. We don’t collect your keys because we trust you. So just get everything that you need out of your car when you arrive and then lock it up for two weeks.
If you need to call home but don’t have the means, just come by the Box Office and you’re always welcome to make a call from our phone.
You absolutely do not need to bring money, BUT sometimes our artist series guests sell their CDs and other merchandises. GIA sells T-shirts and postage stamps.
We eat in the Dining Hall three times a day. If you think you'll be hungry more often than that, you may want to pack some extra snacks. There are some vending machines (though they are not always stocked) in the dorms, so feel free to bring dollar bills and quarters. Students are expected to bring what they need BUT, if you run out of shampoo please let us know and we can always help you out.
You betcha! Outgoing mail gets dropped off at the Fine Arts Center box office (you’ll know where this is) and incoming mail will arrive each morning in the gallery near the office.
The address to send mail to GIA is:
YOUR STUDENT’S NAME
Governor’s Institute on the Arts
c/o Castleton University
Fine Arts Center Box Office
Castleton, VT 05735