242 Presents: A Voice for Youth in Burlington

By November 1, 2016News

Courtesy Burlington Parks and Recreation

Until (very) recently, there was an energetic, creative, collaborative, open space behind a graffitied door in Burlington, which launched careers and branded Vermont loyalty into the hearts of the teenagers who found creative safety within. Teen Club 242 Main, was initiated in the mid-80s by then-Mayor, Bernie Sanders’ Youth Office as a “substance-free place for teenagers to explore all kinds of artistic expression” — including murals and other visual art, panel discussions, open microphone nights, rock music or whatever else the community could come up with through brainstorming…

242 Main was best known for its punk rock music scene, hosting bands like Fugazi who gig all over the world, but maintains a “real affection” for the Burlington venue. The freedom of youth matched with the audacity to claim a space solely for the invention of young creators/thinkers built a satisfied, though ever hungry, community of connected craftspeople with a built-in reunion venue for quenching the creative appetite.

With a healthy entrepreneur, build-it-yourself organic Vermont vision, centers like 242 Main, catering to all genres of invention, media, technology at the teen level could be one answer to Vermont’s “brand loyalty”, offering practical exposure to the passionate young and growing an exciting creative sector.

Thankfully, there is a handful (or more) of individuals interested in keeping 242 Main alive and kicking. Housed in the basement of Memorial Auditorium, 242 Main is closing for the time being due to structural issues with the building, not for lack of attendance or interest.

Lisa Buckton, Fletcher Free Library Teen Librarian is working with Burlington Department of Parks and Recreation to maintain programming under the slightly revised title, “242 Presents”. They are engaging a teen advisory board, focusing on “cultivating that sense of community, and reviving it in a younger population.” As Founder & Director of a teen film festival in Stowe, as a member of the Board of Vermont Media Alliance, I rushed out a note of thanks including an offer of help and genuine interest because 242 Main/242 Presents feels very much like a constant beginning to Vermont’s vibrant “media” sector. My part, naturally, a film series…

By: Anna Colavito