Vermont Arts Council

2024 Creative Sector Convening

Bellows Falls in background with the title 2024 Creative Sector Convening and the Vermont Arts Council and Vermont Creative Sector logos with the date of June 6, 2024

Join us for the 2024 Creative Sector Convening on June 6, 2024! We will start the day at the Bellows Falls Opera House, 7 Village Square. Sessions will be held at other locations throughout Bellows Falls.

For arts and culture organizations, community organizations, businesses, and others working in Vermont’s vibrant creative sector, the Convening will offer plenty of hands-on opportunities to network, learn, and advocate. The event will focus on three broad topics that center creativity in our communities: creative entrepreneurship, community resilience, and casemaking. Gather with your fellow creatives and community builders to be inspired, make connections, and learn new skills to invigorate Vermont communities through creativity. Creative experiences will fuel your day with performances including West African dancing and drumming from Shidaa Projects and roaming circus artist and entertainer Rob Crites.

The convening is held in conjunction with the Downtown and Historic Preservation Conference, hosted by Preservation Trust of Vermont and the Vermont Department of Housing and Community Development, on June 5 in Bellows Falls. Learn about places to stay and things to do in Bellows Falls.


9 a.m. Registration and Networking (Opera House)
Stop by the registration table at the Bellows Falls Opera House to pick up your nametag and program. Volunteers will be available to answer any questions. Coffee, tea, pastries, and fruit will be available during this hour.  

10-10:45 a.m. Opening Plenary (Opera House)
Welcome to Bellows Falls! Kick off the day with welcomes and introductions. Experience an interactive performance by the West African dance and drum troupe Shidaa Projects and enjoy roaming circus artist Rob Crites who entertains between sessions.

11 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. Morning Concurrent Sessions (Opera House, Library, Waypoint Center)

12:30 – 1:30 p.m. Lunch (Ciao Popolo)

1:45 – 3 p.m. Afternoon Concurrent Sessions (Opera House, Library, Waypoint Center)

3 – 4 p.m. End of Day Social. Refreshments and Facilitated Networking Table Topics (Library)


Morning Concurrent Sessions

Building Inclusive Creative Communities  (Opera House)

Continue the conversation from the June 5 Downtown Conference on its theme of “Downtowns for Everyone” – explore how we build inclusive, welcoming communities through the creative sector.  

Creative Placemaking for Community Resilience  (Library, 2nd floor meeting room)

When artists and community members come together to re-envision community spaces and forge a sense of identity and belonging through the arts, it’s called creative placemaking. And there are so many incredible examples of creative placemaking in Vermont! You’ll hear examples of the great projects already succeeding across the state and learn how to turn your own project ideas into creative placemaking reality.  

Creative Entrepreneurship  (Library, ground floor meeting room)

Learn key art marketing and business techniques to help creatives build their artistic business, even if they have limited time to spend on it. Whether starting your business from scratch, or enhancing the one you already have, this workshop is for all stages of your artistic career. 

Maximize Your Marketing Message in the Modern Media World (Waypoint Center)

Still relying on legacy media to spread the word? While it’s helpful, there are many more tools in the communications toolbox to connect to your audience. Jess Cover, director of marketing and communications at Junapr, who has worked in communications, media relations, and sales for more than 30 years, will offer new strategies and tactics for amplifying your message. 

  • Facilitator: Jess Cover, Director of Marketing and Communications, Junapr 

Afternoon Concurrent Sessions

Legal Resources for the Creative Sector: The Vermont Small Business Law Center (Waypoint Center)

Meet the dedicated team of lawyers, students, and community partners at the Vermont Small Business Law Center and learn about the resources available to empower creative businesses and entrepreneurs with access to legal services.  

Shaping the Future of the Vermont Arts Council (Library, ground floor meeting room)

Get hands-on with the Vermont Arts Council’s strategic planning process and make sure that your voice, your experience, and your input are part of the Arts Council’s future and the future of Vermont. 

Art & Inclusion: Removing Barriers to Accessibility in the Creative Sector (Opera House)

Accessibility is at the core of inclusive practice in the creative sector. Learn how to increase accessibility and build a more welcoming creative sector for everyone.   

  • Facilitators: Heidi Swevens, Director of Community Partnerships and Exhibitions, and Kirsten Martsi, Director of Adult Arts Education and Professional Development Expansion, Inclusive Arts Vermont 

Creatives at the Table: Get Involved in Local Government and Planning (Library, 2nd floor meeting room)

The Creative Sector should be at every table! But how do we find those tables? What seat should we take? What do we say when we get there? In this workshop, learn more about local selectboards, town plans, regional planning commissions, and the many layers that make up Vermont’s civic infrastructure….and take your seat at the table! 

  • Facilitators: Matt Bachler, Senior Planner, Windham Regional Commission; Elaine Harvey, City Councilor, Essex Junction; Zon Eastes, Selectboard chair, Guilford and Vermont Creative Network Zone Agent 



For questions, please email [email protected]

Carpool to the Convening!

Save on gas and extend your networking opportunities. Request or offer a ride here!


Accessibility Questions 

Know Before You Go Guide | Accessibility Guide

Each location is wheelchair accessible. We invite you to contact us with specific accommodations you need to facilitate your participation. We will make every effort to honor your requests when they are made by May 15. Contact Michele Bailey, 504/ADA coordinator at [email protected] or at 802.402.4614. Voice and relay calls welcome.


Catherine Crawley April 12, 2024
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