Notes From Outside the Box
July 2018    
The Plan is Under Way

A July 9th meeting between a consulting team and advisory committee marked the official launch of the NEK Creative Economy Project. The committee will serve as ambassadors for the emerging plan and provide guidance as it develops.

Jim Kisch, CEO and president of Passumpsic Savings Bank - and a member of the advisory committee - noted, "The arts are an important pillar in the economic vitality of the Northeast Kingdom. In fact, when our team set out to quantify community prosperity, prosperous communities consistently had a vibrant arts culture. Banks like Passumpsic Bank, hospitals, and other key organizations in the region have embraced arts and creativity and the important role they play in a thriving community."

The project team will continue to meet with community leaders and creatives representing all aspects of the Kingdom's creative economy. Supported by grants from the USDA and the Vermont Community Foundation, the six-month project will result in a comprehensive plan to further this sector in the NEK and raise community awareness of its power and potential. We'll keep you posted as work progresses.

health care_ food services_ and manufacturing are the top three
Creative industries are the fourth largest employment sector in New York's Capital Region.
Sager Shares Wisdom

Maureen Sager, project director at the Upstate Alliance for the Creative Economy (ACE), attended last year's VCN Summit as a self-proclaimed fan. Maureen recently reappeared in Vermont to share information at a VCN steering team meeting.

Vermont's western neighbors have done significant cultivation of their own network. ACE is a nonprofit committed to supporting and growing the creative economy of the eight-county Capital Region of New York. Similar to the NEK Project, the alliance emerged following an economic assessment with recommended strategies. Maureen confirmed that this initial groundwork - much like the 3CVT zone did and the NEK zone is about to do - was vital. Much of her effort now is focused on spreading word of the impact of the sector. Another priority is working to build a sense of regional identity.

The two networks - in very different states - can learn from each other. Maureen shared candid advice for increasing engagement. She also lauded the open arms of the Vermont Creative Network and recommended the public be kept informed of progress.

Watch an inspiring interview with Maureen on YouTube .
Creativity and Innovation in ...

Good design and artistic inspiration drive businesses and organizations of all sorts - even a 144-year-old manufacturing enterprise. Kohler Company's senior vice president gave an inspiring speech this spring on Capitol Hill. When she spoke, Laura Kohler affirmed the critical role of art and creativity in fostering an innovative workforce. At Kohler Company, the results are beautiful and functional products coupled with solutions to far-reaching problems.

Kohler, who has "an M.F.A., not an M.B.A." described the ways art has been at the center of success for this designer and producer of toilets, bathtubs, faucets, and sinks. "Art and creativity are one and the same and indispensable to who we are as people, our quality of life, and success in business. Our belief and investment in artistry is one that has guided our company for generations."

She mentioned the artist-in-residence program the company started in 1974: "There is no other artist residency program where artists' studios are located right on the production floor of a manufacturing facility, such as our cast iron foundry or pottery. Artists are introduced to bulk materials, such as slip-cast clay and cast metal, and techniques that give them a new way of thinking and working creatively ... Artists in residence value the expertise and experience of these associates, and the associates in turn are engaged in helping the artists solve creative problems."

Read Laura's complete speech on the NASAA website .
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.