Who We Are
AllTogetherNow! began as a vision and collaboration between Ellen Leonard and Janice Walrafen and our community of friends and family. Our name came from a fruitful evening of trying to come up with what to call ourselves. Janice had been organizing All Species Day parades and workshops for a decade, and Ellen was a Music Teacher in the Vermont public schools and Music Together©
All Species - Music Together - Now you get it!
AllTogetherNow! Community Arts Center was born from a vision of people living and working together in celebration of life through art, music, dance, puppet theatre, gardens, respect for all living beings, and FUN!
Ellen and Janice began collaborating in the early nineties and continue to organize and teach summer camps, workshops, puppets, and performances for our yearly seasonal celebrations held in Montpelier, Vermont’s State Capital.
In 1999 Ellen opened the AllTogetherNow! Preschool and in 2004 we purchased the property in East Montpelier to house the preschool, art studio's and homes for friends and family.
In 2021 we changed the ownership structure of the property and established Cherry Tree Hill Co-housing Association and have begun to build a third home.
AllTogetherNow! Is a community of partners. This is who we are.
The Cherry Tree Hill Co-housing Association is the owner of the property, with acres of vegetable and herb gardens, apple and fruit orchards, barn, pool and farmhouse/Community Arts Center. The organizational structure follows communitarian principles. There are four members three homesites and the Community Arts Center/farmhouse owned by members: Ellen Leonard Trust, Janice Walrafen, Ben Graham and Adrienne Allison Graham
AllTogetherNow! Preschool is housed in the Community Arts Center/farmhouse that has been caring for children and families in our community for over 20 years. The Ellen Leonard Trust is the owner of the preschool and Mia Leonard is the director of this nurturing school.
Art Tiles Clay Studio is in the basement of the farmhouse where Janice creates handmade tiles, sculptures and clay vessels to provide a livelihood for Janice and beauty to those who purchase them. Students of all ages, and apprentices are a part of the clay studio’s learning and creative environment. See her tiles at: www.jravenarttiles.com
In the Art Classroom Janice creates larger than life puppets, masks and costumes and at times the classroom is filled with paper mache’, cloth, wood and fibers retrieved from the waste stream to create magical dancing puppets for community performances. She regularly teaches classes and workshops both in her studio and in the community. In the Summer the classroom is used by the Summer Camp program.
AllTogetherNow! 501 (c)(3) non-profit corporation was established in 1987 by families of Central Vermont wanting to provide quality arts programming to the community. It has a long dedicated history of organizing performances, artist residencies, festivals, founding Onion River Arts Council, and establishing First Night Montpelier. In 1997 Janice and Ellen joined the board and this grassroots organization has been the foundation from which 30 years of Montpelier’s seasonal celebrations have been supported: All Species Day, Ice on FIre, Enchanted Forest, First NIght Montpelier, and more. Our non-profit also organizes and supports permaculture workshops, Transition Town Building convergences, and our fun filled summer camps for youth ages 6-12.
The Gardens are tended by residents and community members to grow and store food crops for year round use. We apply biodynamic methods and preparations to the land, (according to Rudolph Steiner’s agricultural teachings), planting, tending and harvesting by the phases of the moon. We sing the waters(as taught by Victor Shauburger) as we stir the water and preparations that we apply to the land to enrich and nourish all life. We can, pickle, ferment, and root cellar the bounty of the gardens to nourish us throughout the year.( We built an earthen root cellar in the basement of the farmhouse during one of our Village Building Convergences.)
There is a wood fired cob oven and we enjoy the company of our friends, hosting regular potlucks.
Community Potlucks, Music, Solstice Celebrations are held every Summer and Winter to honor the turning of the seasons with puppet performances, morris dancing, sculptural bonfires, potluck and games. This is open to friends and the larger community.