Notes From Outside the Box
October 2016 
University of Vermont, Burlington
Chittenden County Team Gears Up

Seven Chittenden County creative sector leaders gathered on Friday, October 14 in Williston for the inaugural meeting of their Zone Leadership Team. The Chittenden County team is empowered to explore opportunities to advance the creative sector in the Burlington area. Six separate zone teams will develop an annual plan to advance creative sector issues; together, their regional plans will aggregate into a statewide course of action.

The Chittenden County team, like its cohorts, will be supported by the Vermont Arts Council, in its role as network facilitator. The Network's Steering Team will provide additional oversight.

Each zone's work plan will be informed by the Network's Action Roadmap: Communication, Education, Funding, Leadership, Technical Resources, and Visibility.

Initial members of the Chittenden County Leadership Team are:
Jen Adrian, Emergent Media Center, Champlain College, Burlington
Adam Brooks, South End Arts and Business Association, Burlington
Judy Chalmer, VSA VT, Essex Junction
Tad Cooke, Moran Plant, Burlington
Marti Fiske, Dorothy Alling Memorial Library, Williston
John Killacky, Flynn Center for the Performing Arts, Burlington
James Lockridge, Big Heavy World, Burlington

Once fully operative, this team will begin the planning process, determine the optimum size, and select a Zone Agent to work with the Vermont Arts Council.

The Network's proposed structure calls for one final Zone Leadership Team to be developed in the Addison-Rutland area.
City Hall, Montpelier
The Vermont Creative Network Convenes

About sixty people form the human infrastructure of the Vermont Creative Network. Designed to coalesce the state's creative assets, this particular collection of Vermonters will convene for the first annual gathering of the Network on Thursday, November 10, at City Hall in Montpelier. Attendees will connect with one another, learn best practices for collective impact work, and receive training in Results-Based Accountability - the planning and evaluation rubric used by the State of Vermont.

Speakers for the Convening include Marguerite Dibble, founder of GameTheory in Burlington; Ellen Kahler, director of Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund in Montpelier; and Hilary Orsini, director of the Center for New Leadership in Brattleboro. Other presenters include Andrea Colnes, executive director of the Energy Action Network; John Sayles, director of the Vermont Foodbank; and Dee Schneidman, program director at the New England Foundation for the Arts.   A report will be created after the November event and will be posted to the network's website.

The Vermont Creative Network is an initiative of the Vermont Arts Council, authorized by the board of trustees in advance of the Council's fiftieth anniversary year. The Network was established by the Vermont State Legislature in May 2016.
Vermont Community Foundation Continues Support of VCN

Last week, the Arts Council received word from the Vermont Community Foundation that the Network has earned a continuation grant of $10,000 in support of its collective impact work. The Network's proposal was one of three in this funding cycle to receive a second-year award. The award notice praised work to date: "Your project represents the very best of innovative nonprofit work in Vermont. We are proud to continue support of your work, and that of your colleagues with this award."

Grant monies will be used to fund strategic planning and creative zone development. The Vermont Creative Network is grateful for this important endorsement from the Vermont Community Foundation.
Creatives: Be Counted

Vermont's Creative workers add to our state's vibrancy. But, statistically speaking, creative sector workers are often under counted, and thereby sometimes under served. Where do Vermont's creatives work and what's the nature of their practice? New England for the Arts (NEFA) has carefully developed a survey to find answers to these questions.

Take 20 to30 minutes to complete this ground-breaking survey which is designed to capture the complexity of creative work. Your participation will assist advocates, service providers, and other stakeholders to ensure that creative workers are represented well by employment analysis, program planning, and advocacy strategies.

Count yourself in, and encourage creatives in your networks to do the same
You can take part in the survey until November 18. A final report of the collected data will be released in spring 2017.

Take the survey now!
Vermont Creative Network Action Roadmap 
Community | Education | Funding 
Leadership | Technical Resources | Visibility
The work of the Vermont Creative Network comprises six aspects. 
The following article, submitted by a guest, 
addresses an aspect of the roadmap.  
D og Mountain, St. Johnsbury, was the recipient of a Rural Business Development Grant. Photo courtesy Amanda McDermott. 
USDA Recognizes the Importance of Arts and Culture

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently awarded Rural Business Development Grants to the Barre Opera House, the Friends of Dog Mountain, and the Foundry in Lyndonville. In choosing these creative-based nonprofits, the USDA recognized the significant community development role played by arts and culture institutions.

The USDA's Rural Business Development Grant program provides support to Vermont organizations seeking to increase the economic vibrancy of their community through supporting businesses and cultivating job creation. Arts and culture establishments are anchor institutions in many Vermont communities, attracting visitors to downtown businesses and helping to fuel the creative economy. These attributes align them with the mission of the USDA's grant program. The year, the USDA provided over $1 million in grant support to 19 Vermont community organizations through the Rural Business Development Program. Learn more about the 2016 awardees

Nonprofits and municipalities interested in pursuing economic development funding through the USDA can visit the Rural Business Development Grants website or contact Susan Poland, Business Specialist,  802.828.6002.

--Pollaidh Major, USDA Rural Development VT/NH
Network Watch 
Creative Sector Opportunities | Events 
Learn, connect, participate. 
November 2 | Webinar CREATE Act
Legislation introduced by Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) to more thoroughly serve the people, places, and programs that make our nation's creative economy prosper in all its cultural, social, and commercial forms.

November 2-3 | Conference Vermont Collective Impact Conference
This statewide, two-day conference will build on the momentum of the 2015 Collective Impact Conference and provide opportunities for teams of stakeholders to learn and work together in furthering emerging or existing Collective Impact efforts.

November 15-16 | Conference  Vermont Creative Learning Forum
The two-day Forum will investigate Vermont case studies of personalized and proficiency-based learning initiatives, and how creative engagement both in and out of school can be a powerful catalyst for advancing school initiatives.

November 28 | Survey Deadline | #Creatives Count
Take 20 to 30 minutes to complete this groundbreaking survey designed to capture the complexity of creative work.
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Vermont Creative Network
Vermont Arts Council