The Board of the Vermont Folklife Center in Middlebury, VT announced on May 18 the appointment of Gregory Sharrow Ph.D. and Andy Kolovos Ph.D. as Interim Co-Directors of the Center. Sharrow and Kolovos will jointly fill the vacancy created by the recent departure of the Center's long-time Director Brent Bjorkman, who accepted an appointment at the University of Western Kentucky where his wife, Ann Ferrell, had recently joined the faculty.
Sharrow and Kolovos are veterans of the Vermont Folklife Center. Kolovosserved as head of the Center's extensive multimedia archive initiated under the leadership of the Center's founder Jane Beck, and Sharrow is the long-serving director of educational programming and the Center's primary field researcher.
Board Chair, Bill Schubart, of Hinesburg, VT, expressed the Board'sexcitement about the recent appointment. "We were sad to lose Brent, but knew when Ann took the opportunity in Kentucky that Brent's time with us would be limited. It was a natural decision for the Board to co-appoint Greg and Andy, whose extensive experience in Vermont-based research and
multimedia archiving is well-known and respected in national folklore circles."
"The Board and new co-directors," Schubart continued, "are taking theleadership change as an opportunity to re-evaluate the many initiatives that have evolved over the Center's rich 28-year history."
"In five years of operating out of our historic building at 88 Main Streetin Middlebury we've made the space work for us," notes Sharrow, "but we are anxious to bring our exhibit program, the Vision & Voice Gallery, to street level. Moving the gallery will require some changes, in particular to our shop. We are exploring several options, and are looking to make the best possible use of the building while preserving its historic integrity."
Board Chair Bill Schubart noted recent additions to the Center's Board ofDirectors: Roger Allbee, the former Secretary of Agriculture and a noted historian of Vermont agriculture from Townsend, Jane Beck, the Vermont Folklife Center founder and a revered scholar in folklore circles, Wolfgang Mieder, an internationally known author and scholar of proverbs and folklore and professor of German language and folklore at UVM, Melinda Moulton of Main Street Landing in Burlington, and Molly Sullivan of Middlebury College have all joined the board within the last six months. "It is an honor to work with such accomplished individuals," added Schubart.
"One of the hurdles faced by the Center," added Kolovos, "is making our richarchive of materials available to the widest possible audience via the Web. It is a financial and technical challenge faced by all libraries and archives. To help us achieve it, we're exploring a range of possible affiliations with several institutions of higher learning and cultural non-profits in the state."
"The Board, Andy and I are in discussions about these possible changes," concludes Sharrow, "and we look forward to advancing the vital work that the Vermont Folklife Center has undertaken over the last 28 years."
"The current showcase of documentary work by youth and at-risk populations inthe Vision & Voice Gallery is an example of our programming vitality," concluded Schubart. "It showcases documentary film, photography, and recorded stories produced by the homeless, young mothers, and high school students, and subjects range from Irene's destruction to the work of students who traveled to Rwanda to document the stories of genocide survivors and the meanings of forgiveness."