Creativity is everywhere in Vermont, and Vermont’s creative sector already provides many benefits to the state. Creativity sparks revitalization in our towns, public spaces and village centers, drives resurgence in our local food system, and engenders ingenious new ways of reaching audiences and connecting communities during a pandemic.
Vermont has a strong track record. Here are just a few examples of progress over the years where investments in the creative sector have benefited people and communities:
Attracting Revenue. The Center for Cartoon Studies (CCS) in White River Junction was the first higher education institution to offer a Master of Fine Arts in cartoon studies. A small school with an outsized impact. Around 60 sixty people study or work for the school year-round. Thousands more from across the world visit to attend public lectures and exhibitions. While they’re here, they stay at hotels, eat in local restaurants, and shop in local stores. CCS generates between $1.5M and $2M in economic activity per year.
Growing Tourism. Statewide efforts like the Vermont African American Heritage Trail promote local entreprises, build our brand, and attract visitors. The Trail tells the story of teachers, activists, ministers and legislators. Spanning eras and events, the trail draws visitors and revenue to essential historic sites, connecting Black history to Vermont’s vibrant Black culture today.
Diversifying Economies. Art, history and affordable housing converge at the Exner Block on Canal Street in downtown Bellows Falls, among many collaborative efforts to revitalize the once sleepy downtown. Preference is given to artists who wish to live in the 10-unit building. Storefronts for art studios and performance are also available.
Leveraging Funding. State historic preservation grants, tax credits, village and downtown designation programs also support the creative sector, driving innovation and entrepreneurship. Grants like Better Places represent a new investment of public funds in community placemaking projects, such as public art installations, which complement the funding opportunities provided the Vermont
Sparking Innovation. Did you know that the presence of just one performing arts organization in rural communities more than doubles the likelihood of innovation in local businesses? The Paramount Theatre in Rutland is a cornerstone of community and civic engagement in Rutland, bringing more than half million through its doors annually. It serves as a major draw to the Addison County region, bolstering businesses at restaurants, bars, and shops.
Driving Rural Recovery. When cross-sector partners like Catamount Arts and Kingdom Trails team up for events, the economic benefits scale exponentially. Catamount Arts in St. J has fostered several programmatic and promotional collaborations with the Northeast Kingdom’s outdoor recreational enterprises, including Burke Mountain and Kingdom Trails.