Notes From Outside the Box
December 2017   
Season's Greetings!
The Network Agenda: Investment, Identity, and Infrastructure

Prior to the Network Summit last month, a call went out through the six creative zones and to the field: What key issues, if adequately addressed, could make a real difference for Vermont as well as its creative sector? At the Summit, a clear, initial set of mutually agreed-upon actions was formulated. Participants signed up to collaborate with colleagues in order to advance the charge of each; three task forces will be up and running soon.

Investment: Investors in Vermont support the creative sector.
Outcome: An engaged investor community.
Initial Actions -  Review existing funding resources. Who uses which funding sources? Collect data/metrics to support investments.
Further Actions - Develop a fast-acting pipeline system, for loans, training. Develop a systems map to locate needs/gaps. Develop the creative sector advocacy role.

Identity: Vermont's Creative Sector is an important player and economic resource.
Outcome: The creative sector works with ACCD/VDTM to promote Vermont's identity.
Initial Actions - Survey current relations, resources. Develop mutually beneficial plan. Develop a tool kit for sector partners to tell the stories; to strengthen language and engagement.
Further Action - Survey and clarify current economic data.

I nfrastructure: Sharing capacities and resources advance the sector.
Outcome: The creative sector discovers possibilities for sharing resources and deepens supportive inter-relationships ("hard," such as spaces; "soft,'" such as services). Broaden concepts of inclusion.
Initial Action - Survey existing platforms/uses. Survey educational landscape.
Further Action - Identify and strengthen hubs to leverage investments. Foster the sector's supportive role, drop the "we must do it ourselves" and the "someone needs to do this for us" stance.

Interested in participating? We welcome your voice. Send an email to
A Resource for Vermont Creatives

re you running a startup and looking for connections? Are you an artist or creative business owner seeking an interactive space to create a gallery?  Would data on the creative economy support your community's development? Consider using Creative Ground.

Join the 3,000 Vermont creative individuals and businesses currently profiled in this robust, interactive platform connecting activities and resources all across New England. The directory is a project of the New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA), the regional arts agency serving the six New England states. Creative Ground invests in research and reporting on New England's creative economy.

Creative Ground has consistently upgraded in sophistication and possibility. At the November VCN Summit, Creative Ground revealed initial findings on the recent status and impacts of Vermont's creative economy. The 2017 report provides significant information about New Englands's creative sector, Vermont included.

The Arts Council and some of the Network's creative zones are currently exploring ways in which this powerful database might serve as a central connecting and reporting tool, at both the state and regional levels.


Arts Council Hiring Network Leader
The Creative Network appears at the center of a job posting at the Vermont Arts Council. A new position at the Council - deputy director - takes on responsibility for the oversight of the backbone functions of the Network.

The ideal candidate will actively engage and energize the creative zones, working collaboratively with zone leaders and the VCN Steering Team to further envision and implement the next phase of the VCN's work. Working closely with the executive director, the deputy director will also be responsible for managing other Arts Council programs and day-to-day operations.

The application deadline is January 22, 2018. More information here.
Commitment, communal meaning, emotional experience, and sensory experience are 4 of the 11 criteria explored in the guide.
New for the Toolbox

Animating Democracy, a project of Americans for the Arts, recently introduced a new tool for evaluating political or issues-based art works. The breadth of subject matter and unavoidably charged content can make objectively assessing this type of art a challenge. And while there are differences between arts for change and art for art's sake, that doesn't mean either should lack substance or quality.

" Aesthetic Perspectives: Attributes of Excellence in Arts for Change," which was developed by artists, provides a framework for evaluation based on "11 artistic attributes that address the potency of creative expression to embody and motivate change."  The guide includes companion materials for artists, funders, evaluators, educators, and curators - a help to anyone interested in high-quality, thoughtful, and powerful art for change.

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.