What does a thriving Vermont Creative Sector look like to you?

What We Heard

Our (emerging) VISION for a thriving Vermont creative sector

In the fall of 2020,  we gathered visions for a thriving Vermont creative sector from hundreds of creative Vermonters. Then we wove them together into one. Here's a snapshot of all the diverse visions and hopes, in many creative forms. Check our draft action plan to see the final tapestry.

6-Word Visions

We kicked off each FutureJam session by asking attendees to share a 6-word vision for Vermont's creative sector. See theirs and add your own.

Vision Art

At our kickoff VisionJam event, the artistic team at Juniper Creative Arts sat in on sessions, listened, engaged, sketched, and designed. At the end of the day, they produced a piece of original art capturing the creative vision they heard.

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Vision Portraits

A diverse group of Vermonters sat down for zoom interviews to paint a portrait of their vision for a creative Vermont. And while they talked with interviewers, artist Rebecca Kinkead painted a 30-minute portrait of each of them.
Check out their stories about Vermont's future.

6-WORD VISIONS

During the FutureJam event on October 6, we asked participants to kick off the conversation by sharing a 6-word vision for a thriving Vermont creative sector. We've put their ideas onto sticky notes in an interactive online pinboard. We invite you to add to the mix. 

  • click "see the board" below to load the latest version right here on the page

  • click "go to board" to open it in a new window where you can interact

    • double-click any blank sticky note and start typing to add your own

    • drag a blue star to mark a vision you like

 
 

VISION PORTRAITS

A diverse group of nine creative Vermonters sat down for zoom interviews to paint a portrait of their vision for a creative Vermont. And while they talked with interviewers, artist Rebecca Kinkead painted a 30-minute portrait of each of them.Check out their stories and faces.

The text below is based on notes and paraphrased interview excerpts.

Rebecca Kinkead

painter  |  Cornwall

Rebecca is a renowned painter and portrait artist. She has painted hundreds of 30-minute portraits with A Neighbor Project.  

rebeccakinkead.com

VERA ESCAJA-HEISS

student, poet

Poetry Out Loud state winner  |  South Burlington

VISION FOR A CREATIVE VERMONT

A greater sense of community and diversity. Equity (not necessarily equality). Awareness! Of faults, and reparations that need to be made before moving forward. An open conversation, and true collaboration, around how to move forward together.

HOW WE GET THERE

 

Start to have conversations. Talk to real people. Less competition, more support.​ More poetry out loud. Make sure everyone is heard. It starts with education. More diversity training at young ages. More programs and opportunities. We need to amplify creative outlooks at a young age.

VeraEscahaHeissPortrait.jpg

"MY VOICE IS NOT UNIQUE. IT'S UNDERREPRESENTED."

CRAIG MOWERY

technical director, business owner, organizer
Local 919-International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Pentangle Arts  |  Upper Valley

VISION FOR A CREATIVE VERMONT

Guaranteed pay. Respectable pay. More recognition for the people -- the "artisan workers" -- behind the scenes. There needs to be a change in perception of unionized workers. People deserve to know that imbalances in the arts exist.

HOW WE GET THERE

Have more events and make the arts available to more folks. The drive is there for performing arts in schools; we have to nurture and define it. We should all be a part of training folks for the future.

CraigMoweryPortrait.JPG

"WE NEED TO EXPAND THE WORD 'ARTIST' TO INCLUDE WORKERS."

MARK FOLEY, JR.

small business owner, public art supporter
MFK Properties  |  Rutland

VISION FOR A CREATIVE VERMONT

How to improve our communities? With art. Art is critical to a community's success. Art can improve the community's love. Art can drive our creative economy. 

HOW WE GET THERE

There needs to be a higher value on art. It's a fine line between chasing your paycheck and creating the art you want to. There are mechanisms that are successful in bringing capitalism and creativity together.  We need more opportunity for artists and creatives. We need more venues and opportunities to show work.

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"ART TELLS OUR STORIES WITHOUT OPENING OUR MOUTHS."

HEATHER RITCHIE

granite carver 
Bonnie Wee LLC  |  Barre

VISION FOR A CREATIVE VERMONT

Having art accessible and available is really important. For businesses to thrive, we need to get everyone excited about art. Vermont is an amazing place to take classes and engage in art. Buy a membership to art galleries to get people engaged and do something creative. Purchase something as a gift. Plenty of people appreciate art and the culture, but not enough people to buy memberships and purchase art. 

HOW WE GET THERE

 

Art projects have been waking people up, but it will take more. It takes a community, and it takes a community who want art in their lives. If every family in Vermont purchased a membership to their local art gallery or craft store, it would change everything. We need to offer [visitors] a slice of life that not everyone has. We want to share it with the world.

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"THERE'S NO OTHER PLACE TO DO WHAT I DO."

 SHANTA LEE GANDER

writer, poet, speaker, photographer, journalist

shantaleegander.com  |  Brattleboro

VISION FOR A CREATIVE VERMONT

Well-fed artists who can be sustained by their creative work and have the skills to make art their business. Communities, municipalities, businesses and organizations that are deeply engaged with art and are held accountable for supporting the arts. Diversity and opportunities for individuals who do not represent the norm, but a range across class, race, age, etc. A pipeline that truly engages the next generations of artists and creatives, and a broader and more inclusive understanding of what it means to be an artist.

HOW WE GET THERE

 

The state, towns, and cities should develop ways to support the creative economy through legislation, policy, and budgeting. Study the creative economy and identify strengths and gaps. Build a bigger, more diverse, and more inclusive understanding of what it means to be creative or even a part of the creative economy.  

(portrait below by Robert Liberace)

Famed artist Robert Liberace Portrait of

"THERE IS SOMETHING ABOUT VERMONT THAT ALLOWS IT TO BE A TESTING GROUND FOR MANY INDIVIDUALS ."

MICHAEL JAGER

designer 
Solidarity of Unbridled Labour, Karma Bird House  | Burlington

VISION FOR A CREATIVE VERMONT

Vermont's creative community should be working to create Vermont as a massive magnet– to attract and retain amazing talent from all disciplines... to create this magnetic energy we must generate far greater awareness of the incredible talent here. By pulling it together, it will become far more visible. 

HOW WE GET THERE

Great art, ideas, design, from all disciplines is what powers the magnet. A magnet of course also repels negative energy, we must support our creative space with responsible, just, and equitable values– always... and repel those who generate negativity. Attract. Repel. Create. Celebrate our differences!

MichaelJagerPortrait.JPG

"VERMONT SHOULD BE A MASSIVE, CREATIVE MAGNET."

JASON BROUGHTON

state librarian 
Vermont Department of Libraries  |  Barre

VISION FOR A CREATIVE VERMONT

Concentrated effort to diversify and be far more inclusive to the differently abled - those with hearing/vision impairments in particular. This population should have access to the arts and opportunities to participate in the arts, from street art to murals.

HOW WE GET THERE

 

People must have access to the resources they need. And we must provide art literacy education and art appreciation across the State. This conversation and efforts should look like a tapestry of who we are -- celebrating all things from gender to abilities. We must be able to express our unique perspectives.

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"WE ARE BEAUTIFULLY ECLECTIC. THAT'S UNIQUE FOR A RURAL STATE."

MOLLY VESEY

museum director
Old Stone House Museum  |  Brownington

VISION FOR A CREATIVE VERMONT

Networks and collaborations in the creative economy. A creative economy is a really important part of the fabric of this area. Connections and partnerships with other sectors will create a more resilient community. 

HOW WE GET THERE

We already have a culture of caring. We need strong infrastructure built to support the creative economy. Vermont does a good job supporting it already. But we need more resources directed to support this work in the NEK. 

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"WORKING TOGETHER AND NETWORKING BUILDS RESILIENCY."

JESSE KREITZER

filmmaker

Lanterna Film  |  Marlboro

VISION FOR A CREATIVE VERMONT

A sense of community among other Vermont filmmakers, whether formal or informal, would allow us to commiserate with and challenge each other - it would help us avoid the potential for isolation and - with film-specific grants - foster a more engaged and visible film community.

HOW WE GET THERE

 

A stronger film culture - the kind that supports arthouse cinemas and film festivals - would be a big asset to Vermont. Grants, philanthropy, and tax-incentives that are directed specifically to Vermont film production would nurture that culture and give us the chance to showcase Vermont on screen. Vermont is rich with beautiful landscapes but even movies that are set in Vermont are usually filmed in some other state. Without a state film commission and tax incentives it's unlikely that Vermont would attract larger scale productions.

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"SUPPORT FOR THE ARTS IS PARAMOUNT."

 

During the fall 2020 VisionJam, hundreds of creative Vermonters joined us to kick off the CreateVT vision and action planning process. Throughout the day, they joined sessions to share and discuss their visions for Vermont's creative sector.

Artists Will Kasso Condry, Jennifer Herrera Condry, and Alexa Herrera Condry sat in throughout the day, listening and participating. At the end, they created an original artwork capturing our collective vision.

The image below was created for the CreateVT planning process by Juniper Creative Arts.

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VISION ART

Juniper Creative Arts
artist team  |  Brandon
Jennifer Herrera Condry
Will Kasso Condry
Alexa Herrera Condry

Juniper Creative Arts is a Black and Dominican family collective that facilitates community mural projects with colleges and universities, K-12 schools, and community-based organizations. They are nationally recognized muralists, facilitators, and educators with a mission-driven practice of creating art that both involves and celebrates historically excluded communities. 

junipercreative.bigcartel.com