VSA Vermont Staff
VSA Vermont employs three full-time staff and up to 40 part-time artist-instructors.
"For me, diversity work through the arts is a dream come true. VSA Vermont is a joy machine. Everything we do brings discovery, understanding, accomplishment and pleasure to people of all ages, all over the state.”
Judith Chalmer, M.F.A., has been the full-time Executive Director of VSA Vermont since July, 2005. Prior to that she supervised independent studies in the arts at Vermont College, led storytelling workshops at an arts-based day center for elders with disabilities, raised funds for an anti-poverty program and directed Montpelier’s First Night festival. She is the creator of a dance/narrative with oral histories, “Clearing Customs/ Cruzando Fronteras/ Preselenje,” on the lives of immigrants in central Vermont (1999), the author and performer of “Don’t Go In There!” a one-woman comedy on racial and ethnic consciousness in central Vermont (2002) and is co-founder of a women’s interracial dialog group that has met for 3 years in central Vermont. She is the author of a book of poems, Out of History’s Junk Jar (Time Being Books, 1995) and her essays have appeared in anthologies such as Under Her Skin: How Girls Experience Race in America.
Emily Anderson’s 12-year association with VSA Vermont began as a Can Do Arts Puppetry instructor and has blossomed in a full-time position. As the Director of Creative Performance and Cultural Access she is the founder/director of The Awareness Theater Company, an inclusive dramatic troupe made up of adults with developmental disabilities who perform original works on a variety of artistic, political and self-advocacy themes, and the author and project manager of the High School Self-Advocacy Theater Program. In addition to those projects, Emily is the coordinator of the Can Do Arts program which connects local visual and performing artists with adults with developmental disabilities. Prior to working for VSA Vermont, Anderson was an invaluable company member at The Bread and Puppet Theater, known internationally for its giant puppets, masks, street shows and pageants, centered on political themes. An important part of Anderson’s 10-year tenure with Bread and Puppet included leading performance and puppet building workshops in cities and towns throughout the United States, Latin America, and Europe.
Peggy has a BFA from Massachusetts College of Art. She has been with VSA Vermont since 2000, when she began teaching in Start With The Arts. In 2006 she became director of the statewide program. She has extensive work teaching children of all ages, as well as working with adult learners. In her role as Start With The Arts Director, she supervises a staff of 10 statewide and keeps in touch with 36 child care providers a year plus "alumni." Through her work at VSA Vermont she has created innovative partnerships such as the summer collaboration between Start With The Arts and the Franklin-Grand Isle Bookmobile, which has since grown into our statewide Start with the Arts Summer Library Outreach program, as well as "Aha! Adaptive Horses and Arts," art programming in conjunction with therapeutic horseback riding programs. In 2009 Peggy became a full time staff member as Program Director. Peggy lives in the Champlain Islands with her family and enjoys riding and caring for her small herd of horses at Serendipity Farm and Studio.
Lisa Aschbacher, Regional Coordinator
Lisa Aschbacher brings more than 3 decades of experience in arts education and community based arts administration including three years teaching in VSAVT's Start With The Arts program to her new role as Regional Coordinator for the southern part of Vermont.