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 Building. 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 Building 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.
Catamount annually presents an extensive series of performances at venues throughout Vermont's Northeast Kingdom bringing in nationally known touring artists as well as accomplished local performers.
Hours: 1:00 pm to 6:00 pm, Monday - Saturday. In addition, the galleries are available to visitors before and after the nightly film screenings.
This organization is also part of a Geotourism Initiative. Vermont's Northeast Kingdom, located in northeastern Vermont, has long embraced the ideals that comprise National Geographic's geotourism programs. Geotourism, as defined by the National Geographic Center for Sustainable Destinations is "tourism that sustains or enhances the geographical character of a place. It's a destination where you can have an authentic travel experience without harming the place." Jonathan Tourtellot, director of the Society's Center for Sustainable Destinations, describes the NEK as "the real Vermont...This is rural America at its most nostalgic, enlivened by a vibrant cultural arts community and the wonderful Vermont scenery. There are scenic back roads to drive, quaint little towns to explore, wonderful hiking in the summer and great skiing in the winter." To ensure the development of a geotourism program that is true to the Kingdom, a Geotourism Alliance was established to help steward the formation of this program. Today, this Alliance is comprised of over 20 member organizations who provide input and support as the Northeast Kingdom Geotourism Program evolves.