Notes From Outside the Box
November 2017    
Vermont Creative Network Summit 2017

The theme of this year's Summit, Connect to Advance, found multiple paths for realization when 130 Vermonters attended the event in the State House. Participants took part in activities from Summit bingo to defining next-step actions that will advance creative sector work.
"The Summit was powerful," noted Barry Lampke, a workshop presenter. Barry spoke on a collective impact effort at ECHO called Voices of the Lake.
Workshop topics, designed for weaving into progressive conversations as the Summit unfolded, included: creative economy data, existing and inspiring Collective Impact models, frames to structure work, and expansive explorations of creativity and inquiry. Materials for workshops will be made available on the VCN website.
Highlights from the Summit's three plenary sessions include:
  •  inspiring presentations by four young Vermont artists
  • opening remarks from Senator Becca Balint (D-Windham)
  • a panel discussion on the role of creativity in Vermont's identity. The panel, facilitated by Paul Costello (Vermont Council on Rural Development), included Ted Brady (Agency of Commerce and Community Development), Wendy Knight (Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing), and Abbey Willard (Agency of Agriculture)
  • active participation from representatives of many aspects of Vermont's creative sector (beyond just arts and culture)
  • closing remarks from Senator Tim Ashe, President Pro Tem (D-Chittenden)
Three key policy issues were addressed, clarified, and turned toward action by the end of the second day. At that time, registrants enthusiastically signed up for the three task forces: investment, identity, and infrastructure.
Learn more about workshop and plenary presentations, see Summit photos, and read a review of the two-day event and development of the Creative Network  in the Rutland Herald.
  When Networking Wins

Ciara Perez was this year's Summit grand prize winner. Ciara, originally from Texas, is in Vermont to pursue graduate studies and has recently engaged with the new Vermont Dance Alliance.

Everyone at the event was encouraged to embrace this year's theme, Connect to Advance. Bingo cards, devised to forge connections, were given to all registrants. The first five people to achieve bingo each day were eligible to select an artisan chocolate bar from Tavernier Chocolates in Brattleboro. All completed bingo cards were entered into a grand prize drawing for a $200 gift certificate from Small Dog Electronics. Congratulations, Ciara!

Eastes to Step Down
Following the Summit, Zon Eastes announced his plans to retire from the Vermont Arts Council. As director of outreach and advancement, Zon has been the Creative Network's champion and has been instrumental in developing the Network from its earliest stages. He worked with dozens of statewide and community leaders to build the collaborative network to advance Vermont's creative sector. The legislature officially established the Network in May 2016. Zon will step away from the Council in early December, but will continue on a limited contract through February to assist in a smooth Network transition.
Zon says, "With the Vermont Creative Network on a more solid footing, it's the right time to make this move. I am grateful for the remarkable opportunities I've had to work with so many wonderful people. I am deeply proud to have been a player in the Network's initial buildout. I see a very bright future for the Network and look forward to continued engagement, just from a different vantage point."
Karen Mittelman, the Council's new executive director said, "Though we are sorry to see Zon go, we wish him the very best. I am excited, as is the Arts Council board, to fully embrace the Creative Network going forward. As we saw at the Summit, there is growing recognition across Vermont that art, creativity, and innovation are critical to the vitality and well-being of our communities. The Creative Network seems an inspired way to bring all of our voices together to work for change, both on the local and statewide levels."
Culture Track is a cultural innovation engine.
A Paradigm Shift for the Arts?

We know the ways people experience the arts are changing. Virtual reality and mobile apps bring museums and other cultural experiences into our hands and homes. But an even bigger change has occurred, according to an article on The results of the 2017 Culture Track study show institutions and activities which were previously thought of as the epitome of culture are no long considered, by some, to be culture at all. "37% of Museum Visitors Don't View Them as Culture - and Other Takeaways from the 2017 Culture Track Report" reviews some of the most potentially shocking and important findings of the report. Other facts author Isaac Kaplan explores are that "only 27% of cultural audiences are loyal to cultural organizations" and that the foremost barrier to participation is perception.

In the "Artsy" article, Kaplan decries the idea that these numbers are detrimental to the organizations. Rather, he says, they make a strong case for the necessity to rethink programs and offerings for consumers. Find the full article or visit for additional information.
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.