By Gordon Hayward
Latchis Arts Board President
Note: This blog post first appeared in the Brattleboro Reformer on March 8, 2017
BRATTLEBORO —The Children’s Film Series on Sundays; the a capella performance in support of the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center; Monet’s paintings on the big screen; the recent New England Center for Circus Arts extravaganza; simulcasts of the British National Theater, the Bolshoi Ballet, and the Metropolitan Opera; a brand new web site; and a 220-page book about the history of four generations of the Latchis Family in Brattleboro a great deal is going on at Latchis Arts (LA), and that’s by design.
September 23, 2018 will be the 80th anniversary of the opening of The Latchis Hotel and Theatre. Jon Potter, Executive Director, and the board that manages the non-profit LA, have been expanding programming to draw new audiences into the four theaters in this historic building.
Mondomedia, Luke Stafford’s Cotton Mill Hill-based website-design and marketing company, has led a complete redesign of Latchis websites. A web search for either LA, Latchis Theatre or Latchis Hotel will display links to the other two.
Through these handsome new websites, the two boards are hoping to draw tourists and guests from near and far to all that Brattleboro has to offer. In fact, the Latchis Hotel website establishes that its key amenity on offer, beside a movie and a room for the night, is Brattleboro itself with its a wide range of restaurants, shops, cafes, and galleries as well as high-level jazz and classical music, bookstores and an art museum.
In order to tell the remarkable story of the four-generation Latchis family, I published his 220 page “GREEK EPIC: The Latchis Family and the New England Theater Empire They Built” and introduced it last October. All sales benefit Latchis Arts. Books are available at Everyone’s Books as well as the front desk at The Latchis Hotel.
LA is also addressing a variety of problems related to the building itself. For example, Jon Potter has been working with Travis Stout, Facilities Manager, and Darren Goldsmith, Theater Manager, to address the problem of “sound bleed.” Movies have been getting louder and louder, with low-frequency sound waves from the Main Theater reaching into Theater Three and vice-versa. LA is working with an acoustical engineer to explore options.
In the lobby, visitors and movie-goers can see photos of all the people who keep The Latchis humming in the lobby display of 40 slightly larger-than- life portraits taken and arranged by Putney-based Christopher Irion, a self-described photographer of communities. And if you go to the new LA website, you’ll be able to see all of Christopher Irion’s portraits.
The LA Board hired Irion to photograph their ten board members as well as the ten members of The Latchis Corporation Board. Irion also photographed the 27 employees who work in the 30-room hotel and the four-screen movie theater.
Everyone is there — from Sue Nadeau, who has been looking after the hotel rooms for nineteen years to Jon Potter, executive director, to the treasurer for the corporation board: Dan Yates, President of Brattleboro Savings and Loan. In these portraits, movie-goers are discovering that it is their friends and neighbors who are looking after The Latchis. In future columns, I will profile some of these employees and board members who are the stewards of The Latchis on behalf of our whole community.