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In the summer of 2021, Catamount Arts is providing a unique job experience for a team of teenagers who are tasked with planning, promoting, and producing entertainment for their peers and community members of all ages at both The Cavern (located at 49 Perkins Street, next to RecFit in St. Johnsbury) and at Catamount Arts’ new venue the ArtPort at the Green Mountain Mall in St. Johnsbury.

The members of the Open Stage team are supported by Catamount Arts’ Open Stage Program Coordinator, Lon Davis, and Northern Vermont University intern (and popular local performer) Autumn Chamberlain. Open Stage is funded this summer by a sub award from the Northeast Kingdom Prevention Center of Excellence, which provides federal funding to programs that aim to prevent substance misuse. Open Stage seeks to provide a safe and sober creative venue that gives students an outlet for self-expression and a vehicle for promoting healing and youth empowerment as we move out of the Covid era.

In June, the team hosted Open Stage for the first time in over a year, which was well attended by both audience members and live performers. They held a beach-themed party in celebration of the summer solstice, serving up ice cream sandwiches, fresh fruit, popsicles and ice cold beverages as audience members listened to a wide range of musical talent.  Weekly open mics are open to performers of all ages.

Open mic and other events at Open Stage are free of charge, and snacks are provided. The team is exploring a range of entertainment ideas, including themed dances, parties, and performances by renowned comedians, actors and actresses, and singers.  Additionally, they are also planning to bring in master teachers to lead workshops in such areas as standup comedy, illusion, and more, and are planning to keep activities going throughout the school year.

For more information, email Lon Davis at ldavis@catamountarts.org, or check out Open Stage on Facebook (facebook.com/OpenMicStJ); and Instagram (@openstagestj).