Arts News for June 2020—Covid-19 Edition
House Approves $5 Million to the Arts Council
Photo of the Vermont statehouse in Montpelier. Credit: Harshil Shah, 2016.
As of press time today, the Senate is debating approval of House bill 966—a multi-million dollar relief bill to support Vermont nonprofits using the Coronavirus Relief Fund dollars that Vermont received via the CARES Act. Among the funding, the bill sets aside $5 million to the Arts Council to provide grants to nonprofit arts and cultural organizations. Throughout the policymaking process, the Arts Council advocated for additional grant funding for Vermont’s creative sector, and we will continue to do so. We greatly appreciate our legislators' recognition that the very survival of our arts and culture organizations and creative businesses, which historically have been both the economic anchor and the heart of Vermont communities, is at stake. Visit our Creative Sector Response and Recovery page where we will post updates.
Vermont Organizations to Receive Nearly $1 Million from NEA
Nine Vermont organizations will receive grants totaling $972,800 from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) through its second round of funding announced June 10 for FY2020.

"We are proud that the NEA awards recognize Vermont's outstanding and diverse arts landscape," said Vermont Arts Council Executive Director Karen Mittelman. "These federal grants will support some of Vermont's major cultural organizations, across a wide range of disciplines, from theater and opera to arts education and folk art traditions. Vermont is so fortunate to have champions in Congress - Senator Leahy, Senator Sanders, and Representative Welch - whose strong support of the arts is especially vital in these challenging times."

I am a Vermont Artist: Jericho Parms
Jericho Parms is an old pro at living “between extremes”—between urban and rural, Black and white, art and life. In “On Touching Ground,” the first essay in her 2016 collection,  Lost Wax , an exhibit of Degas’ horse sculptures at the Metropolitan Museum of Art is a ticket to memory, family, and identity, to a young Jericho visiting her grandfather’s Arizona ranch all the way from New York City.

Jericho uses language and writing to make connections that build, that “repair our understanding of experience,” and show us truths like how a wild mustang, a sculptor, and a little girl are all teachers of resilience and grace.

Born and raised in New York, life has seen Jericho in the Southwest, Central America, and Europe. Since moving to central Vermont in 2012, Jericho—now of Middlesex—has dedicated herself to forging meaningful connections for the arts community here, working as faculty and as Director of Alumnx Affairs & Diversity Initiatives at the Vermont College of Fine Arts.

Six-Word Quarantine Stories from the Creative Sector Forum
At the  Creative Sector Response and Recovery Forum  on May 11, Council deputy director Amy Cunningham asked participants to share “six-word stories” of their experience since the Covid-19 pandemic began. We selected some of our favorites to share in our blog .

Do you have a six-word story about your quarantine to share? Tell yours on social media with the hashtag #quarantinesix, and tag us so we can share your story, too (@vermontartscouncil on Facebook , @vtartscouncil on Twitter and Instagram ).
Art is Essential! Vital Cultural Institutions Speak Out
JAG Productions launched in 2016 in White River Junction with a mission to produce classic and contemporary African-American theater that challenges hierarchies of race, gender, class and sexuality. Without JAG, the Vermont arts scene would not be the same.

As part of a new video series produced by the Arts Council and Vermont Humanities featuring vital cultural institutions, Jarvis Green, JAG's Producing Artistic Director, spoke about JAG's role in the community and how the pandemic has affected them. Watch Jarvis' full video , or watch others in the series on YouTube . If you’re interested in submitting a video or would like to suggest a cultural organization that we should feature, contact Communications Director Catherine Crawley at .
Honoring Our Poetry Out Loud Finalists and First Original Poetry Award Winners
Few events bring the country together in the name of poetry like Poetry Out Loud. Each year, in every state, high school students compete to recite poems of every style and era for panels of judges from the local poetry scenes. The students who recite most faithfully and evocatively go on to compete at the national level in Washington, D.C. In 2020, however, the Covid-19 pandemic disrupted this tradition like any other.

The national championship was canceled. Some states moved forward with in-person finals while others went virtual or canceled their events. The Vermont Poetry Out Loud finals were among those canceled, despite our best efforts to quickly adapt our processes for a virtual competition. For all those who know the magic of poetry and its power to connect, these cancellations are disappointments—but there is still much to celebrate.

On our blog we've announced the ten students qualified for our state finals, all of whom will have videos of their recitations produced and shared nationally. We are also pleased to announce the winners of our first annual Original Poetry Awards. Read more about the 2020 POL finalists and Original Poetry Award winners on our blog, including a video of state finalist Eloise Silver Van Meter's recitation.
Art in the Time of Covid: Shanta Lee Gander
Artists everywhere have felt the social, economic, and cultural pressure of the pandemic since quarantines first began rolling out around the country. For many artists, however, the alone time has not been so unwelcome, or at least unfamiliar.   Like the poet Mary Ruefle , fellow Vermont writer Shanta Lee Gander does some of her best work in isolation. To her this is an “auspicious time,” an opportunity for artists to dig deep into the work of bearing witness.

Shanta Lee has been making her mark on the Vermont arts scene for a decade now, working with organizations from Sandglass Theater in Putney to The Clemmons Family Farm in Charlotte.

She has served on the Brattleboro Selectboard and was a strong advocate for the establishment of Brattleboro’s Town Arts Fund . In 2019, she co-curated and was featured in the Spotlight Gallery’s  I AM… exhibit , which showcased works by artists from our ongoing “I am a Vermont Artist” series.  Read Shanta Lee’s own “I am a Vermont Artist” feature here . Currently Shanta Lee is the Director of Outreach and Publicity for  Mount Island , a Vermont publisher of rural LGBTQ+ and POC voices, and through the Vermont Humanities Speakers Bureau   she presents on the life of Lucy Terry Prince , a Guilford woman remembered as the first known African-American poet in English literature.

As part of our series featuring creative professionals’ responses to the virus, Shanta Lee shared her thoughts with the Council .
Vermont Curators Group: Summer Reopenings
Vermont’s museums & galleries are beginning to re-open to in-person visitation. Follow Vermont Curators Group on Facebook or Instagram for updates on the options available to you.

Whether in-person or online, our state’s culture sector still displays endless creativity. You can still enjoy virtual tours and art activities at , and visit your favorite cultural institution’s website to see what they have planned.
Opened June 1
American Precision Museum
Opened June 22
Studio Place Arts
Arts Briefs
Artist Development grant applications close July 13. For this additional round of funding we particularly encourage projects that help artists adapt and respond to the Covid-19 pandemic, whether by learning new digital skills, attending virtual residencies, digitizing collections, or any number of ways. Learn more and apply today.
Applications to join our Teaching Artist Roster close July 7 . This month we held a Teaching Artists Convening on adapting practices with students and schools for the Covid-19 era. Teaching artists Judy Dow and Rajnii Eddins presented. Watch a recording of the event on YouTube, and apply to join our Teaching Artists Roster today .
The deadline for our Cultural Facilities grants is July 27 . These grants enhance, create, or expand the capacity of an existing building to provide cultural activities for the public . See examples of projects eligible for funding in our list of FY2020 Cultural Facilities grantees , and start your application today .
New Arts Experiences
Sandglass Theater
Through August 31
Flynndog Gallery
208 Flynn Ave, Burlington
Through August 31
Southern Vermont Arts Center
July 6 - July 31
Recent Classifieds
Posted: June 20, 2020
Category: Calls to Artists
End Date: July 31, 2020

Posted: June 16, 2020
Category: Grants/Funding/Residencies
End Date: June 30, 2020

Posted: June 6, 2020
Category: Space Wanted/Available
End Date :July 10, 2020
Submit Listings to Our Arts Calendar and Classifieds
Are you organizing an arts event, class, or ? Do you need to list an ad for space, residencies, or a call for submissions? Submit your event listing to our calendar , or submit a classified ad listing .

Listings are free and seen by thousands of people throughout and beyond Vermont. Once submitted, eligible listings are reviewed, categorized, and published within two business days. Council staff may contact you for more information.
The Vermont Arts Council is funded, in part, by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts , which requires a 1:1 match from the Vermont State Legislature. Council grants, programs, and statewide arts promotion would not be possible without the critical funding provided by these government agencies.
Vermont Arts Council | 802.828.3291