Notes From Outside the Box
September/October 2017  
Summit 2017 Connect to Advance. November 8-9_ 2017_ State House_ Montpelier.
Summit Speakers Announced

The Vermont Creative Network is pleased to welcome four key speakers to this year's Summit.
Our new Lieutenant Governor, David Zuckerman, will share his commitment to expanding the spaces where veterans meet the arts in Vermont. Ted Brady and Wendy Knight, both from the Agency of Commerce and Community Development (ACCD), will reflect on the nexus between creativity and economic development in Vermont. Ted Brady is deputy director of ACCD and Wendy Knight is director of the Department of Tourism and Marketing. (The two are new to their positions with the Scott administration.) Paul Costello, director of the Vermont Council on Rural Development, will facilitate the development of clear policy statements for 3-5 key issues - issues that will be forwarded to the governor and the legislature in January 2018.
Watch for news about additional speakers.
Connect with creative sector colleagues in your creative zone and from around the state. Learn more about best practice models, delve into interesting case studies, and get up to speed with the most recent creative economy research. And whether or not you have before, tour the State House.
The Summit schedule is updated regularly. Check back for details, but register today.
The Arts Bring Dollars and Opportunities
Cultural activities are just one aspect portion of Vermont's creative economy. Thanks to a robust national study, we can now understand more about the ways those events generate tourism and greater investment. Vermont was one of 20 states - along with 320 American regions and cities (including Chittenden County) - to participate in the fifth iteration of Arts & Economic Prosperity (AEP5). This far-reaching survey measured the health and impact of arts organizations
as well as the economic behavior of audiences attending arts and culture events. In Vermont, over 80 arts organizations participated in data collection.

The data are impressive and dovetail neatly with other information emerging from Vermont's creative sector. Highlights from the study reveal, for instance, that tourists spend twice as much locally for non-ticket items (like restaurant meals or event memorabilia)  than residents at the same event. Vermont produces hundreds of cultural events each year - a first-rate opportunity to engage visitors. Read some of the highlights, then travel on to the AFTA website for additional powerful information.
Tales of Two Americas book cover

Not Equal in Our Nation
Numerous discussions on economic inequality have to date failed to evoke a proactive response in most areas of the country. Author Jason Heller, in an article on, asserts that those two words have become overused. "It can start to blend into the background" of the collective consciousness, much like the entity itself. Heller reviews a new book - "Tales of Two Americas: Stories of Inequality in a Divided Nation" - that disallows this kind of back-burner acceptance. "This collection of 36 essays, poems, and short stories puts the focus squarely on inequality, from hunger and homelessness to racism and the treatment of immigrants. Rather than speaking academically or in the abstract, however, the book's impressive roster of contributing authors push their pens toward the personal."

Heller points to editor John Freeman's introduction to the book. In it, Freeman reminds readers that the creative economy boom, seemingly transformative and overwhelmingly positive, relies on "service labor to run their dream machines." This perpetuates inequality. Issues like this must not be ignored as the sector forges ahead. More out-of-the-box solutions are needed to ensure the benefits of a thriving creative economy are accessible to everyone.
New Platform for Those on Stage

Dominic Spillane reached out to the Creative Network this week. He has been working on a promotional platform for the performing arts. Asking for help in testing the beta site, Dominic wrote:  
"I've been working in theater for the last 15 years as an actor, director, producer, and finally, as administrative staff at a nonprofit theater in Manhattan. Frustrated by the lack of online promotional tools available as an individual artist, and as a producer marketing a show, my family and I moved to Vermont to pursue the construction of TheaterEngine, a crowd-sourcing platform for the performing arts. Think of it as a mix between Fandango, IMDB, and Facebook ... but all for theater.
TheaterEngine is a listing site for current or future shows in your area, a database of production history, and a promotional tool for theater professionals and companies.
  • Artists (actors, directors, designers, musicians, etc.) can create profiles that host all of their promotional material and link directly to their production history or any current or upcoming shows
  • Theaters can create show pages with photos, ticketing information, reviews, cast and creative information, and anything else that will help them reach audiences
  • Fans can search for local shows, "like" and "follow" individual artists/companies/venues, write reviews, and more
 TheaterEngine is a Vermont startup based in Northfield. We are still in development, and constantly working to improve the functionality, usefulness, and user experience for theatergoers and theater professionals. Now we could use your help! Create a profile for yourself, your company, your venue, list an upcoming show, or create a past show in our database. Play around and tell us what's working and what's not. We are thrilled to be launching this platform in Vermont, and we hope we can make a meaningful contribution to the vibrant performing arts scene in this amazing state. Please feel free to email me with any questions!"
Vermont Creative Network
Vermont Arts Council

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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.