Notes From Outside the Box
February 2019     
Bread and Puppet Theater, photo by Mark Dannenhauer; Memphremagog Arts Center;  and Circus Smirkus, photo by Robert Sanson.
Insights and Actions

The Vermont Creative Network and the Vermont Arts Council have released the results of a six-month study that examined and documented the creative assets in the Northeast Kingdom (NEK). The work also includes an action plan to support and expand those assets to bolster the economy throughout the region.  
Findings in Building on a Legacy of Creativity: Understanding and Expanding the Creative Economy of the Northeast Kingdom show that the creative sector represents 9.4 percent of all the jobs in the NEK. Another important finding is that the concentration of creative industries is 31 percent higher in the NEK than in the rest of the country.
Key elements of the action plan include:
  • establishing a creative entrepreneurial and business development system
  • increasing economic synergy between the region's creative and outdoor tourism/recreation industries
  • strengthening the branding and marketing of the Northeast Kingdom
  • nurturing, attracting, and retaining creative talent
  • expanding opportunities for learning and collaboration
Vermont Creative Network and Vermont Arts Council leaders intend to use the results of the study as a model to develop a statewide creative sector study and action plan that will begin this year.

Read more in A Legacy of Creativity .
Beth Miller: Generating Energy for the Creative Community

Beth Miller is the newest member of the Network steering team. She replaces Melissa Chestnut-Tangerman from Theater in the Woods as zone agent; both will be active on the Addison/Rutland zone team. Beth represents the 77 Gallery, an art center located in the former Central Vermont Public Service company headquarters in Rutland.

Beth works as community impact director for the Rutland County Parent Child Center and recently graduated from the Vermont Leadership Institute at the Snelling Center for Government. Her recent community service has  focused on stewarding a strong creative economy in her hometown--coordinating the Middletown Springs craft fair and serving on the board of that town's public library. 

Beth uses found materials to make art centered on the human impact on the natural environment, a "response to an in-between time of hope and despair." Victoria Crain reviewed Beth's 2016 show, This World is Exactly What I Wanted, in the Rutland Herald, describing Beth's work as taking "ordinary, everyday miracles and reveal[ing] them in ways that are beautiful and thought-provoking." So there are recurring themes in her life about cultivating connections and--as Beth puts it--"generating energy."

As she begins her time as a zone agent, it's probably unsurprising to note that her goals are to help increase opportunities for collaboration and to build awareness of the creative sector in Addison and Rutland Counties. Beth is especially interested in a greater virtual presence for the creative community, paired with opportunities to enable creatives to connect in person.

Welcome Beth Miller!
Vermonters gathered at the Fairfield Community Center.
When Buildings Build Community

If the sights and sounds of "old-timers mixing with hippies and little kids," is something you dig, events at old grange halls and former churches and town halls could be for you. Often, these spaces are refurbished as community centers.
In 2018, people interested in everything from bad music to good bread and Jeff Danziger cartoons came together at the Socialist Labor Party Hall   in Barre. Movies, holiday celebrations, and ice cream were dished up at Pierce Hall in Rochester. Art and music routinely bring community together in East Fairfield's Meeting House on the Green. (The Arts Council's Cultural Facilities Grant program supported improvements at each of those facilities.)
A recent piece on Vermont Public Radio highlighted the Broad Book Grange in Guilford. As Vermont's creative economy continues to grow, so do the opportunities for connection in our communities. Both are shaping Vermont's cultural landscape.
The Alchemy of Art and Science

Creating a culture of clean water is the focus of the Leahy Center Environmental Summit. The Burlington event highlights the lakes, rivers, streams, and ponds that sustain us, and offers ways to explore the challenges we face--challenges caused by the ways we have shaped our communities and the land. The important question to be asked this year is, "How can artists and scientists partner to communicate the value of water protection and restoration projects?"
Take this opportunity to learn about new strategies and explore partnerships that engage Vermonters to understand, care, and act. Come to the summit April 5 to share your ideas for collaboration in the arts and sciences.

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 logo. National Endowment for the Arts_ logog
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