April 2016 | VCN Newsletter
Greetings!
H. 868 Passes. 
Moves from House into Senate

Legislation establishing the Vermont Creative Network, now part of the omnibus economic development bill, H. 868, is working its way through Senate committees. The Network portion of the bill, under section L., is one of 17 that comprise the entire omnibus bill.

The Network originally requested an appropriation of $50,000. The House reduced the amount to $35,000. As things move quickly, we are working closely with Senators, advocating for the full appropriation. 
Southern Creative Zone Opens for Business

Seven creative leaders will gather in Manchester on April 26 for the inaugural meeting of the Southern Vermont Creative Zone Leadership Team. This team will be one of six leadership teams statewide, each assisted by the Vermont Arts Council and the Network Steering Team, the Network's statewide oversight committee. The teams will develop a region-based, annual action plan (perhaps modest at first). Together, the six regional creative sector plans will aggregate into a strong statewide course of action to advance the entire sector--inside and out. 

The Network's work plan will be guided by the Network's Action Roadmap: Communication, Education, Funding, Leadership, Technical Resources, and Visibility.

Members of the southern Leadership Team include:
Maria Basescu / Next Stage Arts Project, Putney
Betsy Bleakie / Manchester Community Library
Anna Drozdowski / Wilmington Works
Robert McBride / RAMP, Bellows Falls
Matthew Perry / Vermont Arts Exchange, North Bennington
Jon Potter / Latchis, Brattleboro
Steve Stettler / Weston Playhouse

To complete the creative zone building cycle across the state, the Network plans inaugural leadership team meetings for the Northeast Kingdom and the east central Vermont by early summer. Then, on to the three remaining Creative Zones, on the western side of the state.
Spotlight: Creative Sector Economic Impact Project Underway

The Two Rivers-Ottauquechee Regional Commission (TRORC)--on behalf of the East Central Vermont Economic Development District--has initiated a groundbreaking creative economy strategic plan for forty towns in east central Vermont. The project engages a steering committee comprised of businesses in the area's creative sector to gather data, investigate creative assets, and develop action steps in seven creative sectors:
  • Performing arts
  • Literary arts
  • Visual arts and fine crafts
  • Design
  • Film and media
  • Artisan foods
  • Culture and heritage.

TRORC hired Michael Kane, Stu Rosenfeld, and Stephen Michon, consultants who know Vermont well and have guided creative similar economic development projects in cities and states across the nation. Michael, Stu, and Stephen have already met with scores of community members from Springfield to Newbury and White River Junction to Randolph.

Initial findings are remarkably robust. The final report is expected in mid-summer.

Creative Network Action Roadmap: 
Community | Education | Funding | 
Leadership | Tecnical Resources | Visibility

The following article explores an element of the Network's Action Roadmap.
National Core Arts Standards Approved for 2017-18

On February 16, the Vermont State Board of Education adopted the National Core Arts Standards (NCAS) for the 2017-2018 school year. Arts and education stakeholders across the state--including members of the Vermont Curriculum Leaders Association, the Vermont Art Teachers Association, the Vermont Music Teachers Association, and the Vermont Principals Association--advocated for this change.
 
The NCAS are learning standards that support educators in providing a high quality arts education for students in Pre-K through high school in the disciplines of dance, media arts, music, theatre and visual arts. They were introduced in 2014 as a set of voluntary national guidelines by ten national arts and education organizations and will replace the former Vermont arts standards.
 
Prior to adoption by the State Board, the Agency of Education and Arts Council launched a data-driven survey to better understand NCAS support and readiness in the state of Vermont during the winter of 2016. Results indicated broad support for adoption of NCAS as Vermont's new fine arts standards. 
 
The Arts Council and Agency of Education collaborated to educate the field through a webinar, free online educational toolkitsmeetings, and workshops in 2015-2016. Professional development and support will be offered over the next year, as arts educators and organizations prepare to implement the standards in the fall of 2017.
 
--Erika Lowe, Vermont Arts Council education programs manager, 802.828.3778.
Vermont Creative Network
Vermont Arts Council
802.828.5423 | info@vermontcreativenetwork.org | vermontcreativenetwork.org
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Vermont Creative Network | Vermont Arts Council | 136 State Street | Montpelier | VT | 05633-6001