Brattleboro, Vermont— Vermont Performance Lab (VPL) and the Connecticut River Conservancy (CRC) are joining forces to produce The Confluence Paddle on Friday May 25th as part The Confluence Project, a new collaborative effort that brings arts, youth, community groups, and educational institutions to the civic dialogue table to help create a deeper engagement around water and watersheds.

The Confluence Paddle will take place at the confluence of the West and Connecticut Rivers on May 25th. Community members are invited to join the festivities on land or water by the Marina Restaurant on 28 Spring Street. The Paddle begins at 7:30 and will incorporate handmade lanterns created by community members with Middlebury artist, Gowri Savoor at workshops on May 15, 17 and 19 as well as simpler luminaries that will be distributed to registered paddlers during the event on May 25th.

The public is invited to participate in this community event by making lanterns at one of two community workshops prior to the evening paddle. Paper lantern making workshops will be offered by Gowri Savoor on Thursday, May 17th and Saturday, May 19th at the River Gallery School. Additionally, we encourage community member to join us for the paddle on May 25th by bringing their own boats and PFDs to launch from the Marina Restaurant or they may rent a canoe or kayak for $20 from the Vermont Canoe Touring Center to use for the evening festivities. While the paddling event is free, we request that all participants register in order to anticipate volunteer needs.

VPL’s Director Sara Coffey says, “We are delighted to be working such an imaginative and accomplished artist as Gowri Savoor and a strong community partner as the Connecticut River Conservancy to produce the first Confluence Paddle and build a deeper engagement and understanding of our watershed, and our shared responsibility to protect one of our most important public assets – our rivers.”

“Connecticut River Conservancy is so pleased to be partnering with the Vermont Performance Lab in this event to light up our waterways,” says River Steward Kathy Urffer. “This act of bringing light to our rivers helps to illuminate the value of clean water to our community and allows us to reflect on the peace we derive from our cherished local waterways.”

The Confluence Project is spearheaded by Vermont Performance Lab and Windham Regional Commission and includes in-school artist residencies and a suite of public programs which are made possible with the collaboration of many community partners including: the Bonnyvale Environmental Education Center, Brattleboro Museum & Art Center, Connecticut River Conservancy, Green River Watershed Alliance, Marlboro College and the River Gallery School and three Windham County Schools: the Guilford Central School, Hilltop Montessori and the Marlboro Elementary School.

A complete listing of events can be found at and

The in-school residencies and public programs are made possible with the help of our community partners and with support from the Fresh Sound Foundation, the High Meadows Fund, the Windham Foundation, The Thomas Thompson Trust, the Vermont Arts Council, the Vermont Community Foundation, as well as the individuals and businesses that support VPL’s Creation Fund and Community Engagement Circle.



May 17 + 19 Community Lantern Making Workshops led by Gowri Savoor
4-6pm + 1-4pm at The River Gallery School, Main Street, Brattleboro
During these hands-on workshop participants will work with visiting Vermont Performance Lab artist Gowri Savoor to create handmade illuminated lanterns. Workshop participants are encouraged to join the May 25th paddle on land or water. Participants can take their lanterns home after the paddle event.

Workshops are limited to 20 participants, there is a $10 materials fee, and pre-registration is required:

Register for lantern making workshops at



May 25 Confluence Paddle – a flotilla celebrating our rivers & watershed
featuring lanterns made by Gowri Savoor & the community 
Join local community members for a magical moon and handmade lantern lit paddle in the Retreat Meadows at the confluence of the West and Connecticut Rivers. This flotilla will incorporate the handmade lanterns made by the community at workshops with Gowri Savoor. The event is free – folks who register will have access to a post-paddle reception at the Marina.

Learn more and register for the event at or at




Since 1952, Connecticut River Conservancy has been the voice for the Connecticut River watershed, from source to sea. We collaborate with partners across four states to protect and advocate for your rivers and educate and engage communities. We bring people together to prevent pollution, improve habitat, and promote enjoyment of your river and its tributary streams. Healthy rivers support healthy economies. To learn more about CRC, or to make a contribution to help protect the Connecticut River, visit



Since 2006, Vermont Performance Lab (VPL) has linked nationally renowned visiting artists with the people, places and issues at the heart of our communities. We support creation of new work in the performing arts, and also creation of community by inviting people to connect with each other as they explore social, political, environmental, and other issues that impact the character and quality of their lives as individuals and citizens. By pooling resources with local partners, VPL is able to offer artists a range of spaces and opportunities to engage with scholars, students, artists, and the community at large. Our work intentionally leverages the power of the arts, culture and creativity in a way that drives a broader agenda for change, growth and transformation in our community. VPL Director Sara Coffey has more than two decades of experience as a performing arts programmer and administrator. Her creative leadership in the Vermont community has led to a new model for residencies that link artists and community partners.