History of Catamount
Catamount Arts was founded in 1975 with a mission of enhancing the cultural climate of northern Vermont and New Hampshire. Integration of the arts into community life has been our guiding principle and we attempt to cultivate awareness and appreciation of the arts through a diversified schedule of film, music, theater, dance, and the visual arts.
For 20 years, Catamount Arts was located literally next door to one of the most beautiful and historically important buildings in the Northeast Kingdom. When it was opened in 1912, the Masonic Temple of St. Johnsbury was the largest and grandest Masonic building in the state with more than 700 members. In a generous gesture intended to benefit the entire community, the Masonic Lodge gave this showplace building to Catamount in 2005, in return for a no-cost lease in perpetuity of the top floor, which continues to be used as the Lodge meeting place.
Catamount Arts then embarked on a major construction project to transform the lower two floors into a Community Arts Center. The rehabilitation was designed with the help and encouragement of the local community. Not only were the actual plans developed after a series of public creative forums, but much of the rehabilitation work was done by the St. Johnsbury Academy Building Trades and Electricity Programs and the St. Johnsbury Work Camp participants.
Catamount’s role as the Northeast Kingdom’s primary source of arts and culture vastly expanded with the ribbon cutting on October 4, 2008. The new Community Arts Center features two movie theaters, allowing Catamount Arts to present a regular schedule of acclaimed foreign-language and independent films; two state-of-the-art classrooms, which are used for art, computer and music education; an 80-seat performance space dedicated to regular performances by local artists; and a gallery showcasing local and area artists’ work.
Today, Catamount annually presents an extensive series of performances in the Arts Center and at venues throughout Northern Vermont and New Hampshire bringing in nationally known touring artists as well as accomplished local performers. Serving as the Regional Arts Organization for the area, one of Catamount’s key objectives is to assist local performers and arts organizations expand their administrative, marketing and promotional capacity. Catamount operates a Regional Box Office which offers online ticketing services (www.catamounTIX.com) twenty-four hours per day and in-person/phone customer service six days per week. Catamount partners with many outstanding arts organizations to bring world class performances throughout the region, open eyes to different cultures, boost the local economy and serve as the heart-beat of our community. Catamount has over twenty presenting partners throughout the region including the Haskell Opera House, Circus Smirkus, Kingdom County Productions, The Colonial Theatre, First Night, The Peacham Acoustic Music Festival, the Green Mountain Film Festival, the St. Johnsbury Players, Lyndon State College, Court Street Arts, St. Johnsbury Academy, The Vermont Children’s Theater and the Caledonia County Fair.
The Catamount Art Center is located at 115 Eastern Ave. in St. Johnsbury and is open from 1:00 pm to 6:00 pm, Monday – Saturday. In addition, the galleries are available to visitors before and after the nightly film screenings.