Notes From Outside the Box
August 2017  
Greetings!
notebook with to-do list
An Eye on the Summit ...
and Beyond

Vermonters with a stake in the health and advancement of our creative sector will gather for a statewide summit in Montpelier on November 8 and 9.

One focus of the Network Summit will be policy development: What are the key issues facing the sector that, if acted upon, could really make a difference? For you? In your community? In the state? A central outcome of discussions at the two-day event will be the identification and development of critical policy issues, to be presented to the governor and legislature at the start of the 2018 legislative session.

Prior to November, a planning task force will work with the leadership teams of the Network's six zones to uncover issues and ideas, some of which will be further framed and clarified during the convening. We invite you to share your ideas for policy development via this brief survey. All responses will move to the appropriate creative zone team and all ideas will be part of the planning process.

Join the conversation. Plan to attend. Watch for the opportunity to register.
310_000 people
What New Englanders Know
 
New England is not only a unique vacation destination - it is also a modern, culturally rich place to live. A new study completed by the New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA) proves it. The report, entitled "The Jobs in New England's Creative Economy and Why They Matter," examines specific data like "The Relationship Between Creative Enterprises and Creative Occupations," and "Change in Creative Employment Compared to Independent Artists, Writers, and Performer Nonemployers." It compares results with nationwide statistics, and the news is good: New England's 310,000 creative workers earn $17 billion per year, and there is a 20% higher concentration of artists in New England than in the rest of the United States.

The report also shows, however, that the benefits New England receives from cultivating these creative, industrious types may be in danger if workers are not supported. Many freelancers suffer from the pressures of changing technology and consumer habits (e.g. online shopping). A short, shareable video summarizes these findings from the report. For more detail, read the full report or register for a September 6 Q&A webinar here.
Next Stage Arts in Putney
Active Call: Our Town

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) operates a vibrant, creative placemaking program called Our Town. For five years, grant funding has expanded opportunities in over 200 communities across the country. Cities and towns have been able to build community collaborations and make substantive contributions to change, in local economy, in community engagement around decision making, and the use of shared public space. In Vermont, the NEA has previously awarded Our Town grants to the Town of Brattleboro, Burlington City Arts, the City of Montpelier, and the Next Stage Arts Project.

A new cycle of Our Town grants is underway. The deadline to apply - September 11, 2017 - is coming right up; organizations must already have registered by August 21. Projects that start on or after August 1, 2018 are eligible.

Two types of undertakings may be proposed for the coming round:
  • Arts engagement, cultural planning, and design projects - each requiring a partnership between a nonprofit organization and a local government entity, with one of the partners being a cultural organization
  • Projects that build knowledge about creative placemaking - available to arts and design service organizations and industry, policy, or university organizations that provide technical assistance to those doing place-based work.
The NEA offers an array of support materials to prepare you for the application and implementation processes.

If this is not the year for your community's application, but you want to learn about creative placemaking, the NEA offers helpful information through its Creative Placemaking Resources page
Investment Resources for the Creative Sector

The Vermont Center for Emerging Technologies (VCET) recently made news, announcing the promotion of Samantha "Sam" Roach-Gerber to director of innovation. VCET offers entrepreneurs business mentoring, three co-working spaces, and venture capital investment. They also manage the Vermont Seed Capital Fund, LP, which  invites proposals from early-stage, high-opportunity technology-based companies in Vermont.

VCET is just one of a growing number of programs and capital funds that offer select early stage firms substantive business mentoring along with traditional business incubator services and infrastructure. If you have a great idea for a new startup, but maybe not all of the skills, experience, and resources in place to grow and prosper, visit the Agency of Commerce and Community Development website. One  page listing other investment resources is included.
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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Vermont Creative Network
Vermont Arts Council

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