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Notes From Outside the Box
February 2020      
Funding the Creative Sector
Council funding has supported music making and youth mentoring by the Afropop group A2VT.  
Vermont Arts Council Grants, 
Workshops Available
Several FY2021 grants--for activities beginning September 1, 2020--are now open for application. Artists can apply for Creation and Artist Development Grants; organizations can apply for Arts Impact, Arts Partnership, and Cultural Facilities Grants.  
Anyone interested in applying to any program should attend a workshop, held in February and March. This year, an online option will be available.   
The Council is also offering a special funding opportunity through the Animating Infrastructure program  for communities poised to integrate works of public art into upcoming infrastructure projects.  
Federal Funding in Question 
The Trump administration has submitted their budget proposal for the upcoming fiscal year--once again suggesting that the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), along with other cultural agencies, be eliminated. The National Association for State Arts Agencies (NASAA) supports a request for funding the NEA at $170 million; the CEO has already testified before a committee in support of funding for the arts.
The budget process--and actions you can take right away--are well explained in this recent e-newsletter. Contact Senators Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders as well as Representative Peter Welch (how to reach them). You can use NASAA's talking points, or just thank your congressmen for their strong and vital support for arts and humanities funding, and remind them why the arts matter in your community.
Making Spaces Safer
Shawna Potter, singer for the Baltimore punk band War On Women, has tackled sexism and harassment in lyrics and on stage for years. Her work in training staff at night clubs and community spaces in how to create safer environments for marginalized people informs her new book, Making Spaces Safer. It is a guide for organizers of public spaces and community efforts of all sorts who want to build a healthier, more inclusive culture. 
Big Heavy World is collaborating with community partners to bring thirty copies of Making Spaces Safer to Vermont libraries so that everyone can access the knowledge and practices Potter shares.
A discussion will be held at Fletcher Free Library on February 18 and will feature an appearance and presentation by the author; more talks are planned for Bennington and Rutland. More here.
--Photo by Josh Sisk.
Inside the Creative Economy
Image courtesy Simon Pearce.
A close look at Simon Pearce reveals the generative aspect of a creative enterprise.
This celebrated glassware company came from Ireland to Quechee in 1981. The man Simon Pearce is the son of an Irish potter and a potter himself turned glassblower, who chose Vermont as the place to raise his family. The enterprise employs three hundred and nine workers (sixty-six are makers), in eleven retail locations, three glassblowing workshops, and one pottery studio. Their product is available around the world in U.S. Embassies, and nationwide via
It doesn't end there. Simon's son Andrew is a glassblower turned woodworker crafting bowls. A studio formerly upstairs spurred the work of, among others, furniture maker Charlie Shackleton and potter Miranda Thomas, and painter Glenn Suokko. Many glassblowers come to the Simon Pearce apprenticeship program each year pursuing second (or third) careers.
Creativity begets creativity.
Experience 2020 Vision
2020 Vision. Seeing the world through technology. A project of the Vermont Curators Group.
Vermont Curators Group encourages exploration of our state's diverse creative sector with a yearlong cultural conversation among thirty-six museums and galleries on the theme 2020 Vision: Seeing the World Through Technology. To reward the adventurous, prizes await those who tag @VermontCuratorsGroup on Facebook or Instagram with each exhibition visited.
Each month, Notes From Outside the Box will feature a few highlights; you can view the full calendar of exhibitions and events at
on view
Spruce Peak Performing Arts  
on view
Champlain College Art Gallery
Thursday, March 12 at 5:30
Helen Day Art Center
The Vermont Creative Network is an initiative of the 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.

Past Editions


February 2020 Arts Council grants open | federal funding in question | Making Spaces Safer events launched | Simon Pearce featured | 2020 Vision preview

January 2020 creative sector advocates for tourism funding | AARP VT placemaking conference | entrepreneurs and JumpStart | 2020 Vision launched


December 2019 action plan moves forward | sector represented at rural economy hearing | Arts Council teaching artist roster opens for applications | meet the McBride Company

November 2019  professional development opportunities | surveying music sector | creative economy in Barre

October 2019 creative landscape survey | upcoming NEK zone mixer | Monica Callan is zone agent | Vermont Violins featured 

August 2019 Co.Starters in Northern Vermont | Disaster and Resilience Network to launch | Colin Bright joins steering team | VCN updates site

July 2019 77Art hosts two Rutland County events | Vermont Community Leadership Summit and Disaster and Resilience Network Launch approaching | Jason Boughton joins steering team | PBS series: American Creators

June 2019 CCX has strong showing in Montpelier | Rutland County Zone to hold first VCN event | Citizen's Institute on Rural Design applications open  | input on creative careers sought

May 2019 Chittenden County first mash-up held | marketing plans to emerge via 3CVT event | Bellows Falls held as example | why writers and poets love Vermont | where artists cluster

April 2019 national study features Network | April events | Creative Community Fellow applications Open | Forbes loves art

March 2019 New Steering Team Member | Feds Support Creatives | Zones Mashing Up | CCX Registration Open

February 2019 Building on a Legacy of Creativity full study and summary available | Beth Miller to serve on steering team | Vermont Public Radio highlights Broad Brook Grange | artists and scientists to explore partnering at Leahy Center Environmental Summit

January 2019 Action Plan complete | NEA grants open | success in small business | Welding Art to Life


December 2018 call for presenters at Leahy Center Environmental Summit (April) | Kimberly Gilbert now zone agent for 3CVT | call for presenters at CCX (June) | Matt Larock’s auto and art work

November 2018 call for CCX presenters | Convening recap and next steps | health care for small businesses | community space in Worcester, Mass.

October 2018 Convening agenda | sector mashup in Burlington | NEFA Idea Swap | change the world with art

September 2018 Network Convening October | “Crash”-inspired event | Radically Rural preview | Animating Infrastructure

August 2018 SolarFest includes VCN workshop | Crash to Creativity set for August 23 | The Top 40 Most Vibrant Arts Communities in America (2018) published | leadership conference October 1

July 2018 NEK Creative Economy Project launch | ACE director shares experience | creativity at Kohler Company

June 2018 3CVT mash-up | Spark incubator space | rural innovation | Creative Network Hits the Road

May 2018 preservation and downtown conference | New Hampshire’s creative economy | Putney event recap | artisan cheeses

April 2018 First Month Overview | Art and Economy Gathering | Legislative Issues

February 2018 Cunningham joins Council staff | NEK Collaborative | Robert McBride hosts interview show | attracting young workers

January 2018 Steering Team redux | leadership announced | Newark, NJ inspires | 3CVT in action


December 2017 task force work set | Creative Ground | VCN Leader Sought | Aesthetic Perspectives

November 2017 Summit recap | networking champion | Eastes to depart | Culture Track study

October 2017 two weeks to Summit | video game as art? | Rooted in Vermont feature

September/October 2017 Summit speakers | AEP5 enumerates creative economy | on “Tales of Two Americas” | TheaterEngine

August 2017 the Summit and policy development | jobs in New England’s creative economy | call for Our Town | investment resources

July 2017 Network First Report | Town Plan Study 2016 | Arts and Economic Prosperity data | “The Urban Crisis” review

June 2017 The Vermont Rural Innovation Hub | next Summit dates November 8 and 9 | USDA grant to Creative Network | AFTA’s pARTnership movement | tax credits to maker and coworking spaces

May 2017 all Zone Teams established | summit in November | town plan study conducted

April 2017 creative community conferences | zone updates | social investing

February 2017 defining the creative sector | climate change and creative solutions | virtual reality in art | professional development

January 2017 researching town plans | funders gathering in March | strategic planning begins | results, process, and relationships at play | review creative zone meeting | the arts in community | national arts funding questions