Notes From Outside the Box
July 2016 
Vermont's Creatives are Everywhere. We've Got the Numbers.

As the Vermont Creative Network develops, it is important to understand more about the sector as well as the assets and energies that drive it. The Arts Council recently engaged Stephen Michon of FutureWorks in Nashua, New Hampshire, to measure the scope of Vermont's creative workforce. The first task was to define the Creative Sector. What is it? Who's in? Who's out?

The Creative Sector definition chosen by the Network encompasses businesses, organizations, and individuals engaged in the origination, production, and distribution of goods and services rooted in artistic and creative content. This definition aligns with descriptions used in a growing number of studies and projects across the country.

Vermont's Creative Sector can be characterized by seven sub-sectors. These inherently include education and training, social networking, and financial and business services in addition to other activities.
  • Visual Arts and Crafts
  • Performing Arts
  • Literary Arts and Publishing
  • Film and Media
  • Design
  • Culture and Heritage
  • Artisan Foods
FutureWork's study used codes employed by the North American Industry Classification and the Standard Occupational Classification to count jobs in industries related to each of the sub-sectors. The resulting number includes creative and non-creative jobs found inside the creative sector (e.g., a graphics design professional working in an architecture firm, or a finance officer in a regional theater company) as well as creative jobs found outside the creative sector (e.g., a graphics design professional working in a hospital). In 2015, the creative sector accounted for 37,132 Vermont jobs.

Vermont Creative Sector Economy. Total employment _ 37_132. Non-creative workers in creative industries _ 19_198. Creative workers in creative industries _ 9_510. Creative workers in other industries _ 8_424. Creative industries _ 28_708. Creative occupations _ 17_934.

In 2015, Vermont reported 432,478 jobs. Nearly 9% of these jobs are in the creative sector. The concentration of creative sector jobs in the Vermont economy is 32% higher than the national average.

Vermont Creative Sector Economy. Total jobs in state economy _2015_ _ 432_478. Creative sector jobs _ 8.6_. All other jobs _ 91.4_.

More data from the FutureWorks study are available here. You can read further creative sector research in a recent article from Seven Days. The article speaks to the research produced by FutureWorks as well as findings from the 2016 Vermonter Poll .
Courtesy Vermont Farm to Plate.
Spotlight: Vermont's Farm to Plate Network

Vermont Farm to Plate (F2P), a statewide food systems network, has ridden at the forefront of the collective impact movement since its institution in 2011. Blogger David Phillips, of the Collective Impact Forum, recently interviewed Ellen Kahler to discuss her experience implementing F2P as a collective impact initiative. Kahler is the executive director at the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund, which serves as the backbone for the F2P movement.

The interview explores the reasons for the creation of such an initiative, the struggle of aligning the goals of vastly different members, the particulars of the program's structure, the project's direction, and advice for fledgling endeavors. In it, Phillips also questions Kahler about the progress of the initiative and about the role of the backbone organization.

To read about challenges, successes, and management methods from an inside leader's point-of-view, and for interviews with collective impact leaders across the nation, visit the Collective Impact Forum's blog.
Photo courtesy Woodstock Chamber of Commerce.
Charting the Course with the Action Roadmap

Over time, six Leadership Teams across Vermont will develop six regional plans. Those plans will aggregate into a statewide course of action. Those actions are based on the Network's Action Roadmap: Community, Education, Funding, Leadership, Technical Resources, and Visibility.
The East Central Vermont (ECV) Creative Zone stands apart from any other zone to date. The ECV Leadership Team will have as a ready resource a report titled "Artists, Artisans, and Entrepreneurs: Creative Economy of Vermont's East Central Vermont Region." The six-month project referenced in the report engaged individual creative businesses and organizations in the region. The final report will be available online in August.

For three years, 40 east central Vermont towns (in four counties) have planned together as part of a regional process called What we Want. An aspect of that multi-town initiative is the creative economy project described above.
The ECV Leadership Team will initially include seven organizations, and may expand to accommodate the scope of the completed creative economy research project. Members of the ECV Leadership Team to date are:
  • Dave Clark, Yellow House Media, Quechee
  • Nick Kekic, Tsuga Studios, Chester
  • Anni Mackay, BigTown Gallery, Rochester
  • Loralee Morrow, Two Rivers-Ottauquechee Planning Commission, Woodstock
  • Monique Priestley, Cohase Chamber of Commerce, Bradford
  • Amy Sadkin, Norman Williams Public Library, Woodstock
Similar to Leadership Teams at work in southern Vermont and the Northeast Kingdom, this team will develop an annual plan to advance creative sector issues. The six Creative Zones are supported by the Network Steering Team (Network oversight group) and the Vermont Arts Council (Network facilitator).
The Network Creative Zone for Windsor and Orange counties will convene for the first time in early August. Plans call for the three remaining creative zones to be developed in the coming months.
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