Notes From Outside the Box
March 2019     
Christopher Kaufman Ilstrup Assumes Steering Team Role

Christopher Kaufman Ilstrup is the newest member of the Network steering team. He is executive director of the Vermont Humanities Council, has worked at the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts and was a senior philanthropic advisor at the Vermont Community Foundation from 2007-2017.

Christopher was involved with the Community Foundation when the initial funding for the Creative Network was granted. Looking back, he enthused "I was intrigued then, and I am excited now. The potential this network holds, and the progress made already are two big factors in my interest in this work. I want to be a part of the many changes that we can make in moving the creative sector forward."

Christopher's joining the Network is just one way the collaborative and sometimes overlapping nature of the two Councils' work manifests. The Network, and the sector, are sure to benefit from his passion for ideas and democracy as well his experience in the arts.

Welcome, Christopher!
Amy Cunningham and Welch staffer Alexandra Morris. Prints by Vermont artist Stephen Huneck in background.
The CREATE Act: Supporting Artists, Entrepreneurs, and the Creative Economy

The CREATE Act is an interesting piece of legislation with a long name. The Comprehensive Resources for Entrepreneurs in the Arts to Transform the Economy Act has great potential to increase opportunities for the creative economy.

The act doesn't include new programs or initiatives. Instead, it recommends twelve adjustments to existing federal programs that would expand access to creative industries and artists. Changes include improving the visa processing time for foreign guest artists and U.S. nonprofit arts organizations; adjusting FEMA disaster relief assistance guidelines to include self-employed workers, like artists; and increasing loans and technical assistance for artists at the Small Business Administration.

Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) and Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) introduced the legislation on March 5, 2019, which was Arts Advocacy Day. Vermont Creative Network coordinator Amy Cunningham was in Washington, D.C. to get the latest on this bill and other arts-related legislation. She met with staff members from Sen. Leahy, Sen. Sanders, and Rep. Welch's offices to discuss the creative economy, arts education, and funding for the National Endowment for the Arts.

The Zones Activate in April

Mark your calendars now for three different zone-focused events in April. These occasions are free, open to all, and designed to inspire and connect.

Thursday, April 11, 10 a.m.-noon
Darkroom Gallery, 12 Main Street, Essex
Local hospitality and "lightning round" presentations will enliven the morning. The event is presented by the Chittenden County Zone of the Vermont Creative Network and hosted by Kristin Humbargar, founder of the Essex Hub coworking space. Look for the reveal of a major statewide initiative to be facilitated by the Vermont Creative Network. Learn more and register.

Wednesday, April 17, 6-9 p.m.
Engine Room, 188 S Main Street, White River Junction
This social for the creatively connected welcomes all in the Creative Network. The aim of the evening get-together, sponsored by the Cornerstone Creative Community (3CVT) is alignment. This will inform the direction of a branding strategy to serve the development of the creative economy.  
Wednesday, April 24, 10 a.m.-noon
The Grange Hall Cultural Center, 317 Howard Ave., Waterbury Center
This is the first gathering of creatives in the Four County Zone . Monica Callan of the Grange Hall Cultural Center hosts. For more details, contact zone agent Samantha Sheehan by emai l.
Creative Communities Exchange Coming to Montpelier
Hundreds of New Englanders will gather in Montpelier on June 6 and 7 to explore ways to connect creative work to community goals. The Creative Communities Exchange (CCX) is both a networking and learning event. Over two days, participants share ideas and discuss strategies about how to build vibrant communities.

Early registration is available until April 12. Join this exciting event to discover new ideas for your creative community!
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.