From the Desk of Zon Eastes:
The Vermont Creative Network, as a functioning entitity, is coming into clearer and clearer focus. Based upon input from hundreds of Vermonters as well as a review of best practice models, the general structure of the Network is moving toward a strategic framework described in the following draft plan.
At the outset, it must be repeated: The Vermont Creative Network will succeed as a collective of energies and solutions. Because the central tenant of the Network is to advance the creative sector, ideas laid out here will likely be adjusted to suit changing inputs.
Based on the principles of Results Based Accountability, the draft seeks to support the advancement of the creative sector, through a series of statewide and regional actions.
At the highest level, the Network’s guiding statement (population goal) will be: A healthy, vibrant creative sector will embed creativity into the state’s DNA by advancing positive quality of life and economic outcomes at the state level and among Vermont regions and communities.
We will know that the work of Vermont’s creative sector is being accomplished through these four indicators.
- Vermont’s creative sector will thrive as a significant element of the state’s general and economic well-being.
- The story of the Vermont’ s creative riches will be told.
- Collective energies for community based planning and development will advance the state’s overall well-being.
- In the creative sector, common points of interest will be identified, advocated and promoted.
Initially, each of these state-level indicators will become part of the plan as a set of clear actions in support of the creative sector. Among the many initial strategies to be clarified, these will likely be included (along with others) in the first year of work:
- The reestablishment of the Office of Creative Economy.
- The strengthening of the sector through investments at the state, regional, and local levels.
- The employment of an arts content specialist at the Agency of Education.
- Regional collaborations will be enhanced through the establishment of six Creativity Zones / Action Roadmaps.
- Vermont’s creative and cultural resources will move more toward the center of the Vermont brand.
At the regional level, Vermont will be partitioned into six Creative Zones*. Each Zone will be free to construct its own creative sector strategy around an Action Roadmap, developed from 14 community forums (the Network will not be a top-down structure).
- Resources (tech, space, and professional)
Based on hundreds of ideas presented, here is a brief list of the types of regional projects that a CZAR might undertake in support of the creative sector. Any activities could potentially advance the sector while providing stories and data for a statewide report.
- Convene monthly meetups
- Enhance communications among creative sector types
- Set up a mentor program
- Research and report on current in-school arts education
- Identify potential partners outside the creative sector
- Draft ‘How To’ manuals to be shared across the Network
- Create social media pacts among multiple partners
- Develop regional strategies for story telling, engage area media channels
- Cultivate working relationships with are lawyers, accountants, other professionals in support of creative sector work
Vermont’s creative sector buzzes with energy and an increasing sense of agency. The work of the Vermont Creative Network, at every level, will demonstrate increasing value for the well-being of the state. Join the process!
* Creativity Zones / Action Roadmaps (CZARs). Given that no division serves every model perfectly, these six were built considering potential opportunities, populations and demographics, geography, and other traditional divisions. From the south upwards
- Bennington/Windham counties
- Addison/Rutland counties
- Orange/Windsor counties
- Chittenden county
- Franklin/Grand Isle/Lamoille/Washington counties
- Caledonia/Essex/Orleans counties