SVA: Executive Director Erika Schmidt to ‘pass the torch’


Executive Director, Erika Schmidt to ‘pass the torch’

After nine years of dedicated service to Stone Valley Arts, Erika Schmidt has decided to step down from her position as Executive Director. Her association with SVA began in 2014 joining as a board member when SVA was a newly formed non-profit organization operating from the Journal Press Building. In 2015, Erika was elected president of the board and at that time, along with David Mook, was instrumental in the negotiations that took place with the Preservation Trust of Vermont toward acquiring the “Historic Stone Church” as the permanent home for the community art center. SVA moved into the stone church building on June 1, 2016. Erika stepped up as volunteer director to manage and oversee the visual and performing arts programming and was officially hired as Executive Director in 2019.  

As a multidisciplinary artist herself, Erika spent over a decade familiarizing herself with the art communities across Vermont. As an established exhibiting printmaker and collage artist, art and dance educator, choreographer for regional theater and producer of DanceFest Vermont, Erika brought a broad knowledge of understanding and love for all forms of art to her position as Executive Director.  Erika is quoted saying “I believe that there is an essential human need for creativity in one form or another and art is how people tell their individual and collective stories, whether through a drawing, a poem, a play or song, art is how we express our humanity. Art is a form of communication that directs us toward better understanding each other. I believe that a community art center is important in that it becomes a place that supports the development of the total person and reflects the unique character of a particular place. I’d like to think that Stone Valley Arts has become that place for Poultney and the surrounding region”

During the 2020-21 ‘pandemic years’, Erika succeeded in keeping the art center alive and visible. The challenges of those years prompted new efforts and energy to increase SVA’s virtual programming and digital capacities.

Throughout her tenure, Erika maintained a perspective that was about designing a yearly event calendar that would be well rounded and accessible and in which every class, workshop, art exhibit, music and theater performance was important to establishing a sustainable foundation and business model. She was committed to bringing high quality programming to the community. SVA now draws a variety of regional, national and international artists and attracts art enthusiasts and audiences from near and far.

SVA will host a holiday open house on Saturday, December 3rd from 3:00 – 5:00 pm. The public is welcome to come by to greet Erika and meet the newly appointed Executive Director, Diane Bargiel.