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Creative Sector Action Plan

Leaders in government, business, and the creative sector agree there is a critical need for statewide analysis and coordinated action to advance the creative economy.

This fall, the Vermont Creative Network is creating something big: Vermont's first creative sector action plan.

  • We're here to imagine a thriving Vermont creative economy
  • We're here to connect creative people and businesses to resources and each other
  • We're here to make Vermont the most creative state in the nation

Get involved at our planning hub: createvt.org.

Key findings

  • Vermont’s share of creative economy jobs (9.3% of all employment) is higher than the average across the United States. The majority of those jobs are in design, specialty foods, and visual arts and crafts
  • The creative sector has always had a high proportion of self-employment; this is especially true in Vermont where nearly 50% of Vermont’s creatives are self-employed or freelance (as compared to less than 40% nationally)
  • While the concentration of creative sector jobs in Vermont is higher than the national average, the pace of Vermont’s creative sector growth from 2010-2018 is lagging (8% growth vs. 14% nationally)

Priorities

Based on information gleaned so far, the Network’s priorities for amplifying the creative sector center on:

marketing creativity: Our reputation for creativity and innovation should be recognized as part of what defines Vermont’s identity and as something that attracts and retains creative entrepreneurs and young people to our state

investing in creative enterprises and individuals: Economic incentives, access to capital, and business and marketing support are needed to encourage development and to sustain creative enterprises such as makerspaces, design firms, arts guilds, and galleries

educating, training, and supporting emerging entrepreneurs: high schools, career and technical education centers, and colleges need support in providing creative sector-related skills matched to the workforce needs of Vermont’s businesses

leveraging cross-sector intersections/partnerships to amplify economic and community development: Profitable connections can be forged between creative businesses and other sectors of Vermont’s economy (such as agriculture/food production and outdoor recreation)

Vision

Creativity and innovation are the heart of the Vermont brand, attracting tourists and new residents, creating jobs, and advancing economic growth. 2020 is a year of looking forward. Our focus moves to sharing information and identifying the key statewide and regional action steps that will best serve the creative sector in the next decade.

Team

The consulting team for this project includes Mt. Auburn Associates, the lead contractor, and its partners Melissa Levy of Vermont-based Community Roots, and Stuart Rosenfeld. Mt. Auburn Associates and Stuart Rosenfeld have worked collaboratively for over a decade on creative economy plans for states and cities across the nation (including Kentucky, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Berkshire County, MA).  Stuart Rosenfeld and Melissa Levy worked together on the creative economy plan recently completed for the Northeast Kingdom.

Support

This project is supported by major grants from Jane’s Trust and The Windham Foundation. We are also grateful for support from the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development, the National Life Group Foundation, and the Ruth and Peter Metz Family Foundation.