Notes From Outside the Box
February 2017  
The Creative Sector: Digging Deeper

As spring approaches and the Vermont legislature continues to shape the budget, listen for the perennial mentions of jobs and the workforce. When you hear those words, think "creatives."

A study commissioned by the Creative Network last summer revealed there are 37,000 jobs in Vermont's creative sector. That number is a full 8.6% of all jobs in the state (Remember: many Vermonters hold more than one job, so this study does not represent individual people.) 28,708 jobs exist in creative industries (creative and non-creative positions inside the sector); about 8,500 creative jobs exist in non-creative industries (a graphic designer working in a hospital, for example).

This data was collected from four publicly available sources, using standard definitions for seven parts of the sector. The number of jobs in artisan food, culture and heritage, design, film and media, literary arts and publishing, performing arts, and visual arts is larger than two other Vermont sectors: 1)  agribusiness, food processing and technology or 2) information technology and telecommunications.

Read the complete study by FutureWorks.
Vermont artist David Brewster. Photo by Jeb Wallace Brodeur.
Creativity and Climate Change

The words "smart," "entrepreneurship," and "incubation" catch the eye of the creative. Such is the case with a request for proposals from the Vermont Council on Rural Development (VCRD). The organization is looking for communities to participate in the Climate Economy Model Communities Program, an initiative of the  Vermont Council on Rural Development.

The Vermont Climate Economy Model Communities Program has been designed to help communities build and implement plans that model state-of-the-art rural development in an age of climate change. Towns with populations between 1,000 and 7,500 are eligible to participate in this first year of the program. The ultimate goal is to create climate-smart communities throughout Vermont and brand them, leveraging rapid change by implementing comprehensive efficiencies efforts, transportation system improvements, energy generation, entrepreneurship, and business incubation to spur economic progress.

The program is a partnership between the Vermont Council on Rural Development, Green Mountain Power , Vermont Electric Coop , Washington Electric Coop and other utilities, and Efficiency Vermont.

Applications are available now, and proposals are due March 22.

VCRD welcomes inquiries about this initiative. Contact Jon Copans via email or call 802.225.6393.
Virtual Reality in Art. Really?

The art world is "always more skeptical than cinema and television about new technologies," says a recent article in the New York Times. So, the inclusion of virtual reality in recent artworks could be indicating that the technology is here to stay. 3-D imagery is available for streaming through Google's partnership with several museums; some cultural institutions have their own virtual-reality apps, tours, or downloadable content. And artists themselves are creating work with VR that transports the viewer by way of the mind, not the body.

Some may argue that the best part of VR is its capacity to let the viewer interact with his or her environment. "What's unexpected, therefore, is that so few of the virtual reality artworks I've seen really require its immersive capabilities," asserts author Jason Farago, suggesting that augmented reality may be more influential to art than virtual reality. Forago doubts that VR will revolutionize the art world, citing the unfulfilled promise of "net art" in the early 1990s. But it's exciting to see the ways that creatives are incorporating this emergent technology into the landscape of the art world. For examples and a more in-depth exploration, read the complete New York Times article.
Vermont Creative Network Action Roadmap 
Community | Education | Funding 
Leadership | Technical Resources | Visibility
The work of the Vermont Creative Network comprises six aspects. 
The following article, submitted by a guest, 
addresses an aspect of the roadmap.  
Never Stop Learning

Nonprofit leaders know the value of a good support system. Resources that offer flexible levels of participation and connect us to a strong professional network can be hard to find. When we do find them, they're worth holding on to.

The Center for New Leadership (CNL) at the Marlboro College Center for Graduate and Professional Studies is one of those resources. The Marlboro approach embraces systems thinking and collective impact; it applies these methods to teaching and coaching. Consultants, practitioners, and students create a learning community focused on making the social benefit sector tick.

Directors familiar with the challenges of being a "staff of one" can turn to the Certification in Nonprofit Management to develop skills in marketing, fundraising, financial reporting, strategic planning, legal obligations, and board development. Those in organizations ready for customized coaching in core competencies can turn to CNL to find the right consultant for their needs. Both options bring long-term support from the faculty, staff, and students.

The key to sustainable growth? Never stop learning. Those brave enough to ask how to do better will do better.

 - Sarah Mutrux, Artist and Community Programs Manager, Vermont Arts Council
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Vermont Creative Network
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