Vermont Arts Council

Art-Pack Your Day in 10 Easy Steps

Vermont is 159 miles long and 89 miles wide at its broadest point. Small! The state is home to many artists and other creatives, and in Vermont art is everywhere. Beautiful!

All of this art is meant to be seen and heard. It is here to be shared and enjoyed.

What if everyone were to treat themselves to at least one art-packed day in every season? What would it be like to explore the state and be immersed in the arts for an entire day? Maybe two days, maybe more! If that seems overwhelming or hard to plan, this article is meant to help. Let’s break it down in something called…

the art-pack how-to

Vermont Map-web
Even Phil Godenschwager’s rendering of Vermont can be used in step 1

1. View a map

The map can be online, made of paper, or even a wooden puzzle. Let it open before you, and let your eyes drift all over it. Think about places you’ve been and things you’ve seen. Hold in your mind all the qualities you love about the state. Note: if you haven’t yet been to Vermont, skip the ruminating and move to the next step.

2. Choose a region

Remember that great day in the Champlain Islands last year? Is it time to go back? Maybe variety and adventure are what you crave. In that case, consider visiting  a place you’ve never been. Don’t dismiss southern Vermont as one region; spend some time on whichever side of the Green Mountains is “the other side” for you.

3. Let the byways be your guide (optional)

The United States Department of Transportation has already done some route-finding homework for you, recognizing certain roads that have one or more of six “intrinsic qualities”: archeological, cultural, historic, natural, recreational, and scenic. The Vermont Scenic Byways are listed here, each with an arts and culture itinerary attached.

4. Do the research

In addition to the byways itineraries, there are other excursions on the Council’s website. The website also lists arts festivals, venues and series, and is home to a robust arts calendar. VPR has an extensive lineup of summer music festivals. An arts directory called Creative Ground holds entries for hundreds of artists and arts organizations. And, never underestimate the power of a simple google search (e.g. “art st. johnsbury vermont“).

5. Choose some artsy things to see

JoAnne Wazny and Pam Kroat-Voss at the Artist in Residence Gallery in Enosburg Falls are happy to chat about their work

A good starting point: 3 artsy things. The day should be full, but do leave extra time. You’ll see why in step 8.

6. Pick the date (optional)

Consider scheduling your art-packed day following a busy or stressful time. Give yourself something to look forward to. Are you more likely to go if you plan in advance, or is spontaneity more your style? Is your outing linked to a certain event? Whether planned ahead or not…

7. Go

Yes. Do it. Get out there.

8. Talk it up

Chat with other people and the artists you meet along the way. Ask artists about their work. Tell them you are packing your day with art and find out where else you might go. Maybe you’ll find the proverbial “hidden gem.” Maybe you’ll decide Vermont is the proverbial “hidden gem” and consider the search over.

9. Make a purchase

Artists love to make art, and they need to make a living.

8. Remain calm

on the roads, anyway. Get excited about the arts. It’s hard to get lost in Vermont — don’t fret. Art can be found in the most surprising places. Directions from a local might include the words, “look for some goats on the left and an iron bridge on the right.” Roll with it. And, speaking of rolling:

Share-web9. Share the road

Cyclists are as passionate about their endeavors and the Vermont landscape as artists are. Give them room.

10. Report out

Let others know about your excursion. Share what you’ve done in the comments section. Use #VTarts and #excursion on social media. Bear this in mind: talking about the art-packed day you’ve created could spare someone else steps 1-5.


Susan McDowell