Alice in Wonderland

During Pandemic, Vt. Arts Center Expands Offerings Outdoors With ‘Wonderland'-Themed Walking Trail

The addition of an art-lined trail was designed to promote physical distancing and the outdoors as safe approaches during the pandemic

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An arts organization in Vermont's Northeast Kingdom is using a story beloved by both kids and adults as part of a new way to serve its community during the pandemic.

"Alice in Wonderland" is the theme of an outdoor walking trail at the Highland Center for the Arts in Greensboro.

"It's a strong metaphor, I think," the destination's executive director, Keisha Luce, said, indicating 2020 and the pandemic have sure made her feel like she's fallen down a rabbit hole into a strange topsy-turvy world.

For that reason, Luce said she and her Highland teammates thought the story really fits the COVID-19 era.

A new trail, mowed through a field, takes visitors—physically distanced—on a short walk where they encounter characters like the Cheshire Cat, March Hare, Tweedledee and Tweedledum, and the Caterpillar. Book-related activities are provided for guests to do along the way.

"It is just a reimagining of the work we do," Luce said of the launch of the new trail.

David VonHolden and Allison Belisle visited Greensboro and the Highland Center Wednesday.

"I'm glad we came up," VonHolden said.

The staycationers said they've been looking to explore more of Vermont and, as much as possible, be outside—where it's widely thought the risk from the virus is much lower.

"We like to get out but want to make sure there's not going to be a lot of crowds wherever we go," Belisle said.

An indoor gallery space is open at the Highland Center for the Arts, with health safety measures in place.

The gallery is now exhibiting art depicting endangered species. Some of the artwork even comes to life through an augmented reality app when you hold a cell phone up to the art.

Back out on the Alice in Wonderland trail, the concept has been so well-received, the Highland Center is already thinking the outdoors will play a big role in future arts programming here, even after the pandemic.

"For the time being, these are the type of things we have to focus on and move forward with," Luce said.

More information on the Highland Center for the Arts can be found here.

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