From A to Z: Advocacy and Zon
The State Arts Action Network, a program of Americans for the Arts, recently wrote about the Council’s Zon Eastes and his role in Vermont Arts 2015. Here is the article as it appeared in their newsletter, The SAANbox.
Spotlight: Zon Eastes
Director of Outreach and Advancement, Vermont Arts Council
For Zon, he could not imagine a time before being involved in arts advocacy; his life and career has always been in the arts. Zon commented, “Because the arts have held sway over my life, I assume they must, or can, over others.”
Zon taught cello and coached chamber music at Dartmouth, Amherst, and Keene State colleges, and he conducted the Windham Orchestra, one of Vermont’s community orchestras. He then worked at the Brattleboro Music Center in Vermont and then transitioned to lead staffer at the Bainbridge Island Arts and Humanities Council in Washington state. He has now worked at the Vermont Arts Council for about two and a half years.
Currently, Zon is in the early stages developing the Vermont Creative Network, a statewide collective to advance Vermont’s rich arts and culture sector. Once established, the Network will address meta-issues to: increase leverage points and advocacy for the sector; increase communication and planning across the sector; and increase peer-to-peer learning and mentoring opportunities.
Instead of discussing a favorite advocacy moment, Zon prefers to talk about those moments of understanding he sees in others (whether it be individuals or groups)—about a change, a brilliance that occurs easily, or naturally, because of an arts experience or collective understanding. Zon believes that this collective understanding is the best expression of power. Zon said, “So, I was buzzed when the Vermont Legislature unanimously proclaimed 2015 as the Year of the Arts. I have to assume that these legislators understand something along the lines of what I do—the arts make a difference and it’s worth noting.”
Zon stressed that new arts advocates need to know that individual and collective voices advocating for the arts make a real difference. Well-intentioned, respectful connection with elected officials is effective and even appreciated.
As previously stated, Zon has actively been in the arts his entire life—he is both a cellist and conductor. Later in life, he has taken up painting as a pastime.
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