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April 2021


A year-plus of covid: reacting, adapting, evolving. A vaccine developed and applied that was only an uncertain-hope-for a year ago.

In March 2020 with lock down, we retreated and explored a virtual world for supporting each other, planning, and seeking a context of normalcy. Now we are cautiously stepping back into the 3-dimensional world, knowing that our relationship to it has changed.

We need to hear and share more of your stories: how you, your businesses and organizations have navigated this pandemic and are planning for the future.

Hopefully, this issue of the So VT Creative Newsletter provides information to reflect, as well as to act. And being the eternal optimist, with the half-full glass, I urge you to proceed creatively.

Robert McBride, Southern Zone coordinator

Southern Zone Leadership Team

Robert McBride, Bellows Falls, zone agent
Maria Basescu, Putney; Sara Coffey, Guilford; Anna Drozdowski, Wilmington; Zon Eastes, Guilford; Susanna Gellert, Weston; Sarah Lang, Brattleboro; Matthew Perry, Bennington; Jon Potter, Brattleboro

Newsletter drawings courtesy of Matthew Perry. Thanks, Matthew!

Vermont Creative Network News


VCN Strategic Plan Launch :: Save the Date!

Stay tuned for the VCN Strategic Plan launch in early May


Safe Outdoor Venues in Vermont :: Meeting Recording

From the recent phone conference sponsored by the VT State Parks and the Vermont Arts Council, in response to the ongoing pandemic. Speakers from the VT Agency of Commerce & Community Development (ACCD), VT State Parks, VT Arts Council, and Montpelier Alive. Meeting Recording Link

Also, general information about Vermont’s re-opening guidance can be found on the ACCD’s Covid-19 Resource Center webpage, with specific information for “Group B” sectors – including “8.3: Indoor Arts, Culture and Entertainment.”



Sign up for the VCN Newsletter :: News from Outside the Box

If you are not yet connected to the state's creative network, we recommend that you sign up for News from Outside the Box, the Vermont Creative Network newsletter. Sign up here

Find our more about the Vermont Creative Network.

Springtime Conferences

2021 Southern Vermont Economy Summit: RECONNECT

May 12, 13, 14, 2021 | VIRTUAL | Anywhere, VT
Register Now!
Three outstanding keynote speakers share their insights on how to build rural resilience from three perspectives; federal policy and investment, structural change in state agencies, and community-driven initiatives.
  • Tony Pipa, Senior Fellow of Global Economy and Development at the Center for Sustainable Development at the Brookings Institution. Discussion of the new administration’s approach to federal rural programs and funding.
  • Xusana Davis, State of Vermont’s Executive Director of Racial Equity. Presenting her work with state agencies to identify structural solutions to structural barriers to equity, applying an "equity lens" to three key areas: fiscal impact, equity impact, and operational impact.
  • Majora Carter, a real estate developer, urban revitalization strategy consultant with the Majora Carter Group. Speaking to her corporate consulting practice focused on talent-retention to reducing Brain Drain in American low-status communities
 Learn More About Sessions
 Learn More About Speakers
The annual Summit is a time for our region to gather, think big, learn something new, ask questions and connect. It will also take place this year during International Economic Development Council’s (IEDC) Economic Development Week. The pandemic has highlighted the importance of economic development as the very real struggles of working Vermonters and small businesses. This year we have an opportunity to expand the regional conversation about economic and community development strategies to help southern Vermont recover and thrive.


Summit on the Future of Vermont

May 26 and 27, 1-5 p.m. | Virtual

Consider transformational goals and actions for the future of our economy, environment, communities and people at VCRD’s Summit on the Future of Vermont!
  • Consider ideas for a Proposition for Vermont’s future
  • Think with experts and leaders
  • Contribute your ideas for action
  • Engage in partnership for the future of Vermont
  • Share your voice and shape action for Vermont’s future.
Produced by the Vermont Council on Rural Development. Questions? Visit or contact or 802-223-6091. 

Arts Council Grant Information

Arts Impact Grants

The Vermont Arts Council is now is accepting applications for its Arts Impact Grants.
Arts Impact Grants award up to $4,000 to support nonprofit organizations, municipalities, and schools in their efforts to add vibrancy to Vermont communities by providing equal and abundant access to the arts. To further support our creative sector, the Arts Impact Grant program is also expanding this round to include small operating grants to arts organizations.
The Arts Council is especially interested in projects and organizations that respond creatively to the following:
Expanding access to the arts and cultural activities for all Vermonters. This might include, for example, projects that engage individuals with limited access to the arts due to age, ability, income, race, geography, or other factors.

Application Deadline: June 11.
Inquiries about the Arts Impact Grant program or about using the online granting system should be made by sending an email to Meredith Bell or by calling (802) 402-4478.
For full details about this funding opportunity and past grantees, click here.
Free Grantseeker Workshop
Learn more about the grant and tips for preparing a strong application. 
Thursday, May 6, 1:30-2:30 p.m.
Register on Zoom
*The workshop will be recorded and posted on the Council's website after the event if you are unable to attend.

Closed captioning will be provided.
The Arts Council invites you to contact them with specific accommodations that you need to facilitate your participation in the workshop. The Council will make every effort to honor your requests when they are made two weeks prior to the event. Contact Michele Bailey, 504/ADA coordinator, with questions about access. She can be reached by sending an email to Michele Bailey or by calling 802.402.4614 Voice and relay calls welcome.


Artist Development Grants

The Vermont Arts Council is now accepting applications for its next round of Artist Development Grants. The deadline for this current round is May 10, 2021.
Artist Development Grants support artists at all stages of their careers. Grants can fund activities that enhance mastery of an artist’s craft or skills and activities that increase the viability of an artist's business. New this year: Grants can also support teaching artists in developing the skills necessary to provide instruction in K-12 schools remotely during the COVID-19 crisis.
Funding may also support aspects of the creation of new work when the activity allows the grantee to accept a rare and important opportunity.
Eligible expenses for such activities include, but are not limited to:

  • advanced study of technique or practice with a mentor

  • attending a professional conference to build business or artistic skills or knowledge

  • contracting professional services including photographic documentation of work, contract preparation or business incorporation, creation of accounting systems, developing e-commerce on a website, creation of marketing materials, etc.

  • marketing, planning, purchasing some materials, or renting space for new exhibitions or performances

  • adapting and responding to the current COVID-19 crisis

  • travel within the United States

Applications are evaluated in three areas: impact, planning, and budget. Priority is given to first time grantees and proposals for rare or unique opportunities.
Who May Apply. Artists who:

  • have been residents of Vermont for a minimum of one year prior to the application deadline and are residents at the time the award is granted

  • are eighteen years of age or older at the time of application

  • have submitted all required reports on any prior Council grants

  • meet all of the above requirements and are applying as a representative of an artist group

Who May Not Apply

  • Artists whose projects involve activities for which college credit is given

  • Artists who have received any other Arts Council grant in the same fiscal year to support the same project

  • Artists who have received an Artist Development Grant between September 2020 and June 2021

Grant amounts range from $250-$1000. For examples of previously funded projects, visit our list of recent grantees.
For full details and the online application, visit

Tell Your Story

We are interested in sharing your stories. How you, your businesses and organizations have navigated this pandemic and are planning for the future.

Robert McBride hosts a half-hour program on cable access station FactTV out of Bellows Falls. Curate a program with him via Zoom. For more info email: and put in the subject line, Creativity in Southern VT.

Common Ground

Sign up for Common Ground, a powerful connection resource for New England

We encourage every Vermont creative to learn about Creative Ground and get listed. What can you do at Creative Ground: promote yourself with targeted webspace; find potential collaborators and supporters. Sign up here

Find out more about Creative Ground.

Glad you are reading! Click on the envelope to share this newsletter with your friends and colleagues! Glad you are reading! Click on the envelope to share this newsletter with your friends and colleagues!



Vermont Arts Council
Vermont Humanities
New England Foundation for the Arts 
Americans for the Arts
National Endowment for the Arts 
Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development
Bennington County Regional Commission 
Bennington County Industrial Corporation 
Windham Regional Commission 
WIndham Region Broadband Project
Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation 
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