Notes From Outside the Box
April 2019     
Rural Prosperity Through the Arts _ Creative Sector_ A Rural Action Guide for Governors and States_ National Governors Association
National Rural Arts Study Features Vermont Creative Network

"All too often, the mainstream media tells stories that stereotype what [rural] regions lack: infrastructure, economic opportunities, and access to high-quality health care or education. While it's true that many rural communities face daunting challenges, it's time for a more complete story to be told: a story of rural resilience, ingenuity, prosperity, and abundance. The arts and culture lie at the heart of that equation!"

That is how Pam Breaux, CEO of the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies responded to an action guide released in March by the National Governor's Association. The publication has garnered significant attention by asserting that the arts and creative industries are the path forward for creating prosperous rural communities.

A Rutland Herald editorial affirmed the value of this report for Vermont, especially in light of significant concerns about the state's economic future with: "The demographic challenges in Vermont are real, and the limitations have plagued governors for years now. But this governor seems to be feeling it acutely, as his mounting concern over affordability in the state can really only be countered by moving the needle through a bump in the economy from more citizens living here and paying taxes . . . The authors of the report are correct: When rural regions lose their traditional industries, they can capitalize on their creative assets to re-imagine--and realize--a new future. Vermont has always made a push to think outside the box. The first steps have been made. And to truly make a difference, we need to do even more."

Three of the successful, high-profile creative sector initiatives showcased in the report are in Vermont. The Vermont Creative Network was featured as an innovative example of a statewide support system for artists and creative entrepreneurs. Entitled Rural Prosperity Through the Arts and Creative Sector: A Rural Action Guide for Governors and States, the study is available here.
Network With Creatives at
Zone Events in April

All occasions are free, open to all, and designed to inspire and connect.

Morning mixer presented by the Chittenden County Zone
Thursday, April 11, 10 a.m.-noon
Darkroom Gallery
12 Main Street, Essex
Sponsored by the Cornerstone Creative Community (3CVT): This event will inform the direction of a branding strategy to serve the development of the creative economy.  This social welcomes all in the Network.

Wednesday, April 17, 6-9 p.m.  
Engine Room
188 S Main Street, White River Junction
The first gathering of creatives in the Four County Zone

Wednesday, April 24, 10 a.m.-noon
The Grange Hall Cultural Center
317 Howard Ave., Waterbury Center
Cultural Trailblazers, Unite!

You know the arts and culture are powerful tools in making change. You've had success implementing programs. Unfortunately, you might not have understood that "driving transformation through arts and culture can be daunting, difficult and often lonely." The people at National Arts Strategies know that.  

Currently, the organization has an open call for creative change-makers who could benefit from an understanding of strategy, design thinking, and leadership. Artists, community organizers, administrators, or entrepreneurs in New England are encouraged to apply to become Creative Community Fellows.

Find out more about applying to the five-month program. (Deadline is April 22, 2019.)
Photo by Bob Eddy.
A Powerful Position  
Any sector expanding faster than the total economy every year since 2012 is worth noting. And when that sector's contribution to GDP is greater than agriculture or transportation, it becomes critical to know more. A steadfast business resource, Forbes Magazine, contained an article pointing out what readers of NFOTB probably already know: The arts are the unappreciated engine of the U.S. economy.

Citing a new report by the Bureau of Economic Analysis, and pointing to the National Endowment for the Arts' Creative Forces program, the author posits that "America would do well to consider the arts as a vital partner in keeping our nation competitive and thriving on the world stage." Read the full article here. 
Vermont Creative Network
Vermont Arts Council

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 and NEA logos.