Board of Directors
Michael Barsanti, President
Michael joined the Seven Stars board in February of 2019 and became President in July of 2020.
“As an artist, teacher and lifelong learner I joined the Seven Stars Arts Center board to help steward and continue the valuable services that Seven Stars brings to east central Vermont and New Hampshire.”
Michael Barsanti is a resident of Sharon VT. He holds an MFA from University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. In addition to being a sculptor, and potter he is Professor of the Practice at the School of The Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University, Boston, MA.
Thelma Thompson, Secretary
Thelma Thompson joined the Seven Stars Board in February of 2019 after playing in Chris Rua’s coached recorder consort for several years. Chris’ classes are one of the high points of her week. Thelma also enjoys participating in Ina Anderson’s poetry sessions at Seven Stars. Thelma and Peter Thompson moved to Post Mills, VT after she retired from the University of New Hampshire where she was Government Documents and Maps Librarian. Before that they were at a small college in Iowa, where she taught geology labs and worked as a part-time librarian, returning to Vermont each summer to map bedrock geology in the Green Mountains. She is currently in charge of finances for Norwich contra dances and an active English country dancer. In addition, she enjoys Tai Chi, gardening, hiking and other outdoor activities as well as the more sedentary pleasures of reading, sewing and cooking.
Emerson Gale, Treasurer
Emerson Gale joined the Seven Stars board in February of 2019. Emerson teaches joy-based music and outdoor education in the Upper Valley including Music Theory & Composition at The Sharon Academy and the Pacem School, violin/fiddle and piano lessons for Upper Valley Waldorf School students, and cello and ukulele instruction through the Seven Stars Arts Center.
Emerson previously served as the Music Director and Camp Director of Camp Greenwoods in Hangzhou, China, which he co-founded as one of the first international youth camps in that country. Emerson’s youth mentoring expertise also includes The Experiment In International Living, City Year London, Bay Area Wilderness Training, Raven’s Wood Outdoor School for Renegades, Bold Paths and the Upper Valley Haven Children’s Program. You can find Emerson speaking Mandarin Chinese or playing cello for the Vermont Fiddle Orchestra and various contra/square dance bands in New England. To learn more visit: www.emersongale.com
Peter Thompson, Board Member
Peter Thompson joined the Seven Stars board in February of 2019. He is a retired geology professor and active consulting geologist, mapping bedrock for state surveys in New England. He will be teaching a class at Seven Stars Arts Center called “Geology through Art”. Peter is an avid amateur recorder player and learned of Seven Stars when he signed up for a recorder consort with Chris Rua. His interests outside of geology include early music, contra and English country dancing, foreign languages, films and theater, Tai Chi, gardening, hiking, and botany. He and Thelma have enjoyed visiting the highest point in each state (35 out of 50 so far) and hope someday to have hiked all 4000 footers in New England.
Anne Mapplebeck, Board Member
Anne Mapplebeck was a SSAC board member back in 2008-2010 and in February of 2019 re-joined as a transitional board member with a brand new board.
Anne is a singer, visual artist and earns her living as a Professional Organizer in the Upper Valley and Boston locales. She For seven years she enjoyed her run as a “rock star” in the cover band Still More Cats, as singer and bass player. Having graduated from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts/Tufts University in 1997, she finds her time in the studio a deeply contemplative and creative experience, working with domestic materials and addressing concerns around home, place in society, war and sometimes just the joy of color and pattern!
Scott Gordon, Board Member
Scott Gordon joined the Seven Stars board in April of 2021. Scott is an artist, furniture maker, and father of two teenage boys. He enjoys hiking, biking, skiing, learning, teaching, and conversation. Having participated in a variety of non-profits, he looks forward to serving the community and being part of the fascinating people, cultures, and ideas that make up our brave little state of Vermont.
Margaret Gilmore, Board Member
Margaret Gilmore joined the Seven Stars board in May of 2021. Margaret has lived in Vermont since 2006. Originally from Louisiana, she has lived, studied and played professionally and taught in the Netherlands, Mexico, Louisiana, California, Texas, Colorado, Arizona, Vermont & New Hampshire. She has performed with over sixteen professional orchestras and at festivals in this country and abroad. She studied as a kid at Juilliard Prep in NYC and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Music from LSU, a Master’s from Rice University and a D.M.A. from the University of Arizona. She also studied at the Sweelinck Conservatory in Amsterdam and was assistant principal cellist of the Utrecht Sinfonie Orkest, and Het Omroep Orkest (Netherlands Broadcasting System in Hilversum).
In Los Angeles she played in recording studios for movies, TV and CD record dates. She has been a member of the Arizona Opera Orchestra since 1985. Margaret is very active in the Upper Valley performing in chamber music concerts with Concert Artists of New England, the Sterling String Quartet and with local choral groups. She has recorded the works for cello by Richard Faith, with the composer at the piano, for the French record label, Musik Fabrik. She has registered Suzuki training through book 6 with the SAA and has also taught traditional method for over 40 years.
Victoria Fullerton joined the Seven Stars Board this Autumn 2021, having just moved to Sharon. She knows the area well, having raised her children in the Upper Valley, and she is in love with South Royalton, “So Ro” - which she discovered driving her daughter to The Sharon Academy from Norwich. She has a love of music that started with classical piano training, but now is focused on new interpretations of ancient and folk tunes. She is a serious nature lover, and spends as much time outdoors as possible, and hopes to establish some new outdoor venues for events. She is excited to be part of the creative group at the Seven Stars Arts Center, who are dedicated to strengthening it as a focal point for the communities surrounding this upper region of the White River.
Where we've been and where we're going...
The Mission of Seven Stars Arts Center is to nurture a love and understanding of the arts by providing diverse educational opportunities and performances. Located in rural Sharon, Vermont, the Seven Stars Arts Center (SSAC), formerly Vermont Independent School of the Arts (VTISA), was founded in 2002 in response to widespread budget cuts in public school music education. VTISA changed its name to the Seven Stars Arts Center in 2016. The first Seven Stars board of directors had a vision to provide affordable, accessible music and arts education that would meet the needs of students and families that wanted to pursue the study of instrumental and vocal music. Once established, SSAC quickly grew from a music education resource into a bustling, diverse arts hub for East Central Vermont. Through community partnerships, sponsorships and fundraising, SSAC strives to make the arts accessible.
Seven Stars is home to a historic theater curtain or drop from the early Twentieth Century. We are dedicated stewards of these objects that tell the story of our community. Board members Peter Thompson and Thelma Thompson have been diligently researching the history of Seven Stars from Church to Grange to Garage to Arts Center. The board is deeply thankful to them for their work in this regard. The curtain restoration was completed in October of 2021. We look forward to having the curtain and accompanying ears on view.
Ode To Seven Stars
by Helen Barrett
Big, old white building, they built you
to be a church up on Beaver Meadow Road.
I'll bet you were beautiful up there, with your
tall spire in hills.
But they picked you up and carried you to the river in Sharon.
And then you were The Grange Building,
but the Grange faded,
And some big wind knocked down your spire.
And Old Man Brooksie bought you.
And then you became a Garage, a repair place,
Where a homeless, beaten boy could
make a bed up in your belfry.
And then Angels came along and bought you
They closed the garage doors, and took care of your old bones,
And they opened you up to your new purpose.
And then you became Sharon's own Seven Stars Arts Center.
Sharon is my home, and so I have been
able to spend every Saturday morning for
eleven years learning Tai Chi, the art form of my life.
For this great gift, I thank you,
Old Baptist Church
Garage and Haven
Seven Stars Arts Center