Notes From Outside the Box
March 2020      
Dear Friends,

All of us at the Vermont Arts Council are moved by the amazing creativity and resilience of Vermont artists and cultural organizations in the face of the COVID-19 crisis. This issue of Notes offers resource to help you stay connected, inspired, and mobilized.  We are also actively exploring options for quick-response relief and other efforts to mitigate the serious economic impact of COVID-19 on the arts and creative sector. Updates will be posted on the Vermont Arts Council  COVID-19 webpage  and announced through this newsletter.
Art in a Time of COVID-19
Morris dancers at Chandler's 24th New World Festival. Photo by First Light Studios.

The Pandemic's Impact on the Arts, a nd Art's Impact on Community
Karen Mittelman, executive director of the Vermont Arts Council, and Jody Fried, chair of the Vermont Creative Network and executive director of Catamount Arts, offer this commentary on the COVID-19 emergency's impact on artists and cultural organizations.

"Across the nation, theaters and museums are going dark in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Arts organizations are closing to protect the health and welfare of their communities, often at the expense of their own financial security. In Vermont, the list of cancelled concerts, festivals, workshops, classes, and other public events grows by the hour.

The long-term economic impact of those cancellations will be devastating for our state's creative sector-and many local economies-if we don't act quickly..."

Continue reading on our website.
State and Federal Impact Surveys

As of 3/18/20, we have closed the VAC's "COVID-19 and Vermont Cultural Organizations" survey. We very much appreciate the 30+ responses we received. As the situation has evolved, two new, more encompassing tools for collecting impact have been developed and we encourage members of Vermont's creative sector to use these moving forward:  

Vermont Businesses and Organizations 
The Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development has created an online survey for accepting impact info. They are no longer accepting impact information via the email address announced previously.
National Arts and Culture Sector Survey
Americans for the Arts has developed this 5-minute survey to collect information about the financial and human impacts that the spread of the coronavirus have had on arts and cultural organizations. The survey also collects basic information about the participating organizations so that the data can be parsed by specific geographic regions, artistic disciplines, and budget categories.

Staying Connected while Socially Distanced


While some are taking crash courses in video conferences and online meetings, many 

members of Vermont's creative sector are veterans of remote working.

The Space on Main, founded by Monique Priestly, offers co-working space, community gatherings and gallery shows in downtown Bradford. They are stepping up to offer tutorials on using Zoom and Slack. The latest schedule for these webinars can be found on their Facebook page.

Some video conferencing tools that creative Vermonters have been using:

Zoom is among the most popular options for online meetings. It's easy to use and has reliable service. The free version allows you to have many participants, but the maximum group meeting time is 40 minutes. It's $14.99 to increase your subscription to the "pro" level.

Cisco's WebEx Meetings has rolled out new pricing that makes this a very good option. The free subscription allows up to 100 participants and no time limit. Use code "wecare2020" at check out for discounts on the paid levels.

WhereBy runs through you internet browser only, which means that users don't need to download anything. It uses a meeting room structure and has high quality video streaming, but a maximum of four meeting participants at the free level. For $9.99 a month, it goes up to 12.

Jitsi is a fully encrypted, open source video conferencing option. It's completely free.

Share your remote work tips and questions over at the Vermont Creative Network Facebook page.
The Arts Respond
Hanna Satterlee of Vermont Dance Alliance
"Sing Out The Flesh" by Nicole Dagesse, artistic director of Murmurations Dance. Photo by Lo Storer.  

Like many arts organizations around the state, Vermont Dance Alliance has been hit hard by the mass cancellations, quarantines, and social distancing necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Loss of ticket sales, fundraising event revenue, and artist morale have left many in the creative sector with more questions than answers--but artists are nothing if not resilient. As part of a new series featuring creative professionals' responses to the virus, Hanna Satterlee, founder and executive director of Vermont Dance Alliance, shared her thoughts with the Council:

What is the most difficult impact you've felt from the coronavirus pandemic?
Very unfortunately the Vermont Dance Alliance had to cancel our upcoming March and April Gala events, including a silent auction fundraiser, a works in progress showing, an artists' social, and the Gala weekend itself-which was to be full of performances and workshops for the public. It was a very sad decision to make, as the five selected choreographers have been working very hard since their acceptance in October to create pieces especially for the Gala.
We are thinking creatively now about how best to proceed, and how best to honor each choreographer and their process. This will include highlight videos introducing each artist to the community (coming soon!), as well as individual conversations about how each choreographer might need the support of VDA to continue their work. We will find a way! 
How have you gained hope or solace from your arts community since the crisis began?
Vermont Dance Alliance is one of three arts organizations that helped to create the "Smart Artist Series" (the other two organizations are Big Heavy World and Theater Engine ), and a meeting we had with the Vermont Arts Council on Monday really helped to set the tone that we are all in this together, as artists, and as the Vermont creative community. 
Resources are being shared via Facebook groups (one has been created, "Smart Artist Vermont," that artists of any medium can join). The Facebook group "Vermont Dance Alliance Members Forum" is open to anyone needing dance resources-I have been filling it with articles on how dancers all over the world are coping, links to classes and training modules, and links to playlists of music to dance to. It is open for anyone to add their own resources to as well..  It's awesome to see how many at home dance parties are being planned! And professional companies are offering classes daily. Zoom is becoming more and more popular for live classes, jams and long-distance rehearsals, as it gives us a taste of that feeling of accountability and support that a normal dance session offers.
While we are not together physically, we can dance simultaneously and still be engaged in the art form together. Dance is both an introspective as well as a connective art form, so dancers must continue to move together. It will help.
How can people support Vermont Dance Alliance and its dancers through this difficult period?
The Vermont Dance Alliance team believes in the power of community, connection, and sharing resources. The best support would be to join the Vermont Dance Alliance , so that our network may grow, and thus our impact and support in each others' lives. Joining also helps to ensure the financial stability of our organization.
There are three membership options:  we recommend "Artist" for individuals or dance companies (it is open to any genre of dance, any level, any age!), and "Partner" for institutions, services or organizations that may support or service dancers. For audience members, fans, and supporters of dance, you can join as a "Patron!" 
In addition, participate in our Dance Community of Vermont Facebook group and share resources that are inspiring you to dance or create. And sign up for VDA's weekly e-newsletter  to stay informed of the changes and developments as we proceed.

2020 Vision Cancellations, Online Gallery Coming
2020 Vision. Seeing the world through technology. A project of the Vermont Curators Group.
The Vermont Curators Group's 2020 Vision initiative is a yearlong series of exhibitions at 36 museums and galleries around the state on a shared theme: "2020 Vision: Seeing the World Through Technology." As with all things, COVID-19 has changed these plans, and many participating museums & galleries our now closed. While two exhibitions plan to remain open, and others may reopen in the weeks or months ahead, we strongly encourage following CDC guidelines to practice proper social distancing measures. 
In the meantime, you can get your fill of Vermont arts and culture through the launch of an exciting project called Vermont Art Online. Created by Sarah Briggs and Sarah Laursen of the Middlebury College Museum of Art in partnership with the Vermont Curators Group, will be a digital portal to Vermont's museum and galleries, taking you on virtual tours all over the state, from the comfort of your home. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram @VermontCuratorsGroup for updates on our launch.

The website is under construction, with plans to launch within the month. Stay tuned for updates.

on view
Studio Place Arts
Saturday, April 11
BigTown Gallery

The Vermont Creative Network is an initiative of the 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.