Notes From Outside the Box
August 2018    
Sustainable and Creative Living
at Sunny Festival

SolarFest promotes artistic excellence and community-building while educating attendees on a wide range of sustainable living topics; it has done so since its inception in 1995. And, the entire festival runs on renewable energy! This year's event is slated for August 18-19 at the Stratton Mountain Resort. The lineup includes an eclectic variety of educational opportunities. Just to name a few: learn to design an off-grid solar system, explore the connections between racial justice and climate justice, and practice standing balance yoga poses.

The Vermont Creative Network will share its own kind of renewable energy at SolarFest. In a workshop entitled "Nurturing a Thriving Creative Economy," Vermont Creative Network coordinator Amy Cunningham, Southern Vermont zone agent Robert McBride, and Addison/Rutland zone agent Melissa Chesnut-Tangerman will explore the role of the creative economy in Vermont. The three will discuss the challenges the Network faces and the ways it is helping to galvanize this sector.
For tickets and complete information visit the SolarFest website .
Crash to Creativity
Nexus Next Steps

Calling all Southern Vermont creatives, legislators, town managers and planners, economic development folks, and community movers and shakers! A follow-up to the widely attended Nexus of Arts and Creative Economy is set for August 23 at the Bennington Museum. The region is abuzz with creative economy talk via the Southern Vermont Economy Project, the Bennington County Cultural Plan, the Confluence Project, and the work of Creative Network Zone Leader Robert McBride, among others.

The August meeting, entitled "Crash to Creativity," builds on the Bennington Museum's current exhibition of the same name exploring the New Deal in Vermont. Attendees will explore the impact of creative projects on the economic vitality of the southern region of our state. The keynote speaker is legislator and artist Rep. Bill Botzow, whose exhibit "Cambium" is also on display at the museum. Other speakers include: Sheela Harden, Bennington Potters; Robert Wolterstorff, Bennington Museum; Amy Cunningham, Vermont Arts Council; Julia Dixon, creative economy consultant for the Bennington County Cultural Plan; and a representative from the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development.

The meeting is free to attend, but registrations are requested.   Sign up on Eventbrite .
The Case for Vibrancy

Artists and arts organizations demonstrate undeniable contributions to thriving communities. Just ask anyone in Bennington or Burlington - two Vermont municipalities listed in "The Top 40 Most Vibrant Arts Communities in America (2018)."

A study published recently by The National Center for Arts Research at the Southern Methodist University delves into the important relationship between such establishments and the cities and towns in which they exist. An arts vibrancy index is established by measuring supply (total arts providers), demand (total nonprofit arts dollars in the community), and public support (state and federal arts funding). Concepts such as "arts and culture also play a vital role in a city's livability and its social cohesion" are put forward.

There's plenty to uncover. Read the entire study
Community Leadership Summit logo
Looking Locally for Leadership

The agenda is set, the panels are packed, and registration will open soon. The Vermont Council on Rural Development's (VCRD) Community Leadership Summit is right around the corner (October 1) and enlists some of Vermont's top talent from every region and area of expertise. Seasoned leaders will address complex questions through panels, facilitate discussions on community issues, and head workshops to develop participants' skills. This day-long event at Castleton University will include time for networking and ample opportunities for discovering further resources. The planned wrap-up is a group deliberation resulting in ideas for action steps. Afterward, participants are invited to a food truck and cash bar reception where VCRD community leadership and lifetime achievement awards will be presented.

Now all this event needs is a crowd of burgeoning leaders. Sign up here to be notified when registration opens.
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.