Arts News for March 2021—Covid-19 Edition
Better Places Grants Awarded to Eight Vermont Communities
Vermont's new Better Places program is launching with awards to eight communities totaling nearly $130,000. These grants will support placemaking projects that help communities reimagine and reopen public spaces for a safe return to social life, including many projects that revitalize downtowns, villages, and neighborhoods through the arts.

An amphitheater in Barton, walking paths in Middlesex, outdoor films in White River Junction, and more will be funded through this partnership between the Vermont Community Foundation, the ACCD, and a number of partner organizations including the Arts Council.

2021 Vermont Poetry Out Loud Champion Announced
Irén Hangen Vázquez, a student at Burr and Burton Academy, took top honors at the Poetry Out Loud State Finals, held virtually on Vermont PBS’s OVEE platform on March 15.

Gavin Ghafoori, a student at St. Johnsbury Academy, was the runner up. Also announced were the winners of the Original Poetry Awards, held for the second year: Samantha Aikman, Brooks Balkan, Talia Gibbs, and Beniamino Nardin.

Twenty-four high schools across Vermont registered to bring the national Poetry Out Loud program to their classrooms in 2021. Sixteen students were selected by their teachers as school champions and advanced to participate in the 2021 statewide competition.

Arts Recovery and Resiliency Updates
Following the enactment of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 on March 11, dozens of federal agencies are already beginning to implement the $1.9 trillion of COVID health and economic relief aid to those in need. Vermont is expected to receive roughly $3 billion in federal funds, with $1 billion going directly to Vermonters, and state leaders are working through what that means for individuals, business, nonprofits and schools in Vermont. We are closely following the activity and advocating at the state level for the arts, culture and creative sector in Vermont.

In the meantime, the federal Small Business Administration has announced that its Shuttered Venue Operators Grants (SVOG) online portal will open to applications on April 8. Visit the online portal.

Several documents have been updated on the SVOG website. Note that you will be able to apply for both a PPP and an SVOG. However, please note that the FAQs state you cannot apply for a PPP after receiving an SVOG. The SBA has also clarified that audits will not be required for the great majority of SVOG applicants.
Between the Lines: Calling on Vermont Poets to Read Their Short Works
April is the country's 25th annual National Poetry Month, and this year the Arts Council is partnering with Vermont Humanities and Vermont Public Radio to celebrate Vermont poets and their original works on the airwaves.

Now through April 20, Vermont poets and community members are invited to submit short recordings of their original works for consideration to be broadcast on VPR. Submissions must be of yourself reading your original work and should be no longer than 15-20 seconds.

Vermont Creative Network News
Vermont's Creative Sector Action Plan Advances
Creativity and innovation are key to helping our communities recover from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and to forging a new future for Vermont. The Vermont Creative Network convened hundreds of Vermont creatives last fall to develop a vision for a thriving, creative Vermont.

The result is a nine-point Action Framework outlining a vision and strategies to revitalize Vermont communities. Informed by statewide economic research findings in addition to the Action Framework, key thought leaders are currently helping to develop specific tactics that will put the plan into play. A public roll-out of the work is scheduled for the end of April. 
Creative Zone Profiles: Chittenden County
Meet Erin Burdock
Erin Bundock is a mixed media artist based out of Burlington who recently graduated from the University of Vermont. Erin has been in Vermont for 12 years and loves it. The local art scene here allows for more avenues for creativity and getting commissions from local businesses than just being a studio artist who works for a single company, Erin believes. Read Erin's profile.

This Creative Zone profile was produced in spring 2020 by students in the University of Vermont's Department of Community Development and Applied Economics. Read more zone profiles on the Vermont Creative Network website.
Arts Council Grant Opportunities
Creation Grants
Creation Grants support the creation of new works by Vermont artists of all disciplines. This year in addition to awarding Creation Grants to our usual eligibility categories, we are giving special consideration to emerging artists.

Deadline: 11:59 p.m. on April 14, 2021
Artist Development Grants
Artist Development Grants help artists at all stages in their careers pursue professional development, master new skills, improve their businesses, and more.

Deadline: May 10, 2021
Cultural Facilities Grants
Cultural Facilities Grants help Vermont nonprofit organizations and municipalities enhance the capacity of an existing building to provide cultural activities for the public. A grantseeker workshop will be held Wednesday April 14, 2021 at 1 p.m.

Deadline: June 7, 2021
Steering the Ship: Q&As with Vermont's Cultural Leaders
Elise Brunelle
"We will return to live events, but the future is online and there’s huge competition. Focus on what’s unique about your organization’s art and make noise about what you do. Try the untested, be bold, and work with others."

—Elise Brunelle, executive director of the Vermont Symphony Orchestra

Read the latest installment of Steering the Ship, our Q&A series with Vermont's cultural leaders.
I am a Vermont Artist: Riki Moss, Leaf Silver
"We were artisans traveling the country, growing a reputation, and paying the bills. We were an ever-changing family of hundreds gathering at county fairs, city centers, museums, galleries, then retreating to our coupledom or solitude to hone our wares."

—Riki Moss

Read Riki's interview, and visit Riki's online gallery in our I AM... 2021 exhibit.
"There is so much pressure as an artist to always be producing more and more artwork, and this time has taught me that it’s okay to go through periods of repose, and it’s okay to take extended breaks between creative projects."

—Leaf Silver

Read Leaf's interview, and visit Leaf's online gallery in our I AM... 2021 exhibit.
I AM... 2021 Artists Talk Process at Second of Three Gatherings
The second artist talk for the I AM…2021 exhibit was held March 18. “Behind Creativity: Discussing the Creative Process” brought together seven artists who spoke to another packed Zoom audience about what inspires them and the work that goes into their art. View a recording of the event.

The I AM... 2021 exhibit is viewable on our website through April 30. Tune in April 15 for the last artist talk, "The Business of Creativity: Getting Our Work Into the World".

Visit our online gallery to explore the exhibit and register for the next events.
Objects of Care: An Interview with Artist Kate Donnelly
The Covid-19 pandemic has thrust the work of the caregiver into the spotlight like never before. Nurses, doctors, hospice workers, and death doulas have become the most essential workers in the world, and the toll of their work among the gravest. This contradiction at the heart of care—that the wellbeing of others demands sacrifice—is no surprise to Burlington artist Kate Donnelly, who has put care under a microscope since long before the pandemic.

What kinds of labor do we consider “care” and why? What does the work of caregiving actually consist of, and what are its social and individual costs? How are women’s bodies in particular subject to the contradictions of care? Weaving film, choreography, sculpture, and research, Donnelly has been exploring these questions and more with a frank and unsentimental eye, and this work has earned her an FY2021 Creation Grant. Later this year, Donnelly plans to debut her latest project at the intersection of feminism and care in three forms: a collection of “Objects of Care,” a live, choreographed performance, and several short videos.

Arts Briefs
The 40th Annual Vermont Congressional Art Competition is open! Registration is open until April 18, and interested high school students should contacts their teachers to learn how to submit their work.
Americans for the Arts' National Arts Action Summit is virtual this year, bringing together arts advocates from around the country together April 5-9, 2021 for advocacy trainings from experts in the field. For the first time ever, attendance is FREE!
How arts organizations can reopen their venues in 2021 is the topic of a webinar presented by the National Endowment for the Arts with special guest Dr. Anthony S. Fauci today, March 23, 2021 at 3 p.m. Learn more about the webinar.
New Arts Experiences
Vermont Animation Festival
March 27
Middlebury College
April 2
Seven Stars Arts Center
April 8
2020 Vision Continues Into 2021!
The year 2020 has changed the world profoundly. 48 Vermont museums & galleries are reflecting on the year through a statewide cultural conversation into 2021, with exhibitions both in-person and online.

Explore, submit passport entries, and be entered to win prizes! Find out more at
Catamount Arts
St. Johnsbury
Through Summer 2021
Brattleboro Museum & Art Center
Through June 13
Soapbox Arts
Through April 3
Recent Classifieds
Posted: March 12, 2021
Category: Job Postings
End Date: April 1, 2021

Posted: March 22, 2021
Category: Calls to Artists
End Date: April 9, 2021

Posted: March 5, 2021
Category: Job Postings
End Date: April 15, 2021
Submit Listings to Our Arts Calendar and Classifieds
Are you organizing an exhibit, concert, class, or other arts event? 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.
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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.
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