MONTPELIER, VT – from VAC:
The Vermont Art Council has awarded over $300,000 in Cultural Facilities Grants to 17 Vermont arts and community organizations, making a critical investment in the state’s aging cultural infrastructure.
The Cultural Facilities Grant Program supports capital improvements to town halls, theaters, library buildings, museums, community centers, and other public spaces where Vermonters gather for arts and cultural activities. The Vermont state legislature allocated an additional $100,000 in funding for this program in the current capital budget.
Funds support projects that expand buildings, upgrade equipment, enhance public health and safety, and ensure that the arts are accessible to all Vermonters. Improvements can bring public buildings into compliance with fire codes, help to address ventilation challenges during the Covid-19 pandemic, or can expand the capacity of a building to reach more community members with cultural programming.
Among the projects supported this year are the construction of three classroom spaces at the Vermont Granite Museum in Barre to support the expansion of job training programs and help the museum to become the premier training center and exhibition space for Vermont’s next generation of granite sculptors.
Another funded project is at the Bennington Museum whose electrical wiring in some cases dates to the 1940s. The grants will upgrade obsolete electrical panels and bring existing wiring up to code.
Each year, a substantial portion of grant funds support ADA compliance, paying for handicapped accessible restrooms, elevators, lifts, and ramps, which help to adapt Vermont’s older cultural facilities. This year, nine of the grants address accessibility issues. Among those projects are new elevators at River Arts in Morrisville and at the Fairbanks Museum and Planetarium in St. Johnsbury, as well as accessible restrooms in Fair Haven Town Hall and in an historic village building run by the Sheldon Historical Society.
The grant program is part of the Building Communities Grant Programs established by the Vermont Legislature to help communities preserve important historic buildings and enhance community facilities. The Council partners with the Historical Society and the Division for Historic Preservation to administer the program. A panel of experts in historic preservation, architecture, and other building and accessibility expertise determines award recipients.
Since the program began 20 years ago, grants totaling $3.4 million have enabled over 200 arts and cultural institutions across Vermont to make essential improvements to their buildings.
Grant funds also support local Vermont contractors, such as electricians, plumbers, and construction crews, who are typically hired to complete the projects. Since 2014, when the Council began collecting data, more than three-quarters of contractors hired were in Vermont, for a total of more than $3.7 million.
“Cultural Facilities grants preserve Vermont’s cultural treasures and ensure that those resources are accessible to all, particularly our most vulnerable residents,” said Vermont Arts Council Executive Director Karen Mittelman. “Investments in our downtown theaters, museums, libraries, community arts centers and town halls are vital to Vermont’s future.”
FY2022 Cultural Facilities Grant Recipients:
- Bennington Museum – $15,575 to support electrical upgrades in two museum galleries and replacement of five outdated electrical panel boxes
- Broad Brook Community Center, Guilford – $30,000 to support insulation throughout the building
- Fairbanks Museum and Planetarium, St. Johnsbury – $26,700 to support the installation of a three-stop elevator
- Friends of Dog Mountain, St. Johnsbury – $12,935 to support the installation of HVAC in the gallery and environmental controls and storage for the art collection in the barn
- Friends of the Union Meeting Hall, Inc., Ferrisburgh – $26,400 to support a new accessible entrance on the north side of the building
- Henry Sheldon Museum, Middlebury – $20,067 to support the installation of a new boiler
- Main Street Arts, Saxtons River – $26,700 to support renovations to the education room
- Middlebury Studio School – $10,880 to support the installation of an accessible restroom
- River Arts of Morrisville, Inc. – $15,034 to support the replacement of a failing elevator
- Sheldon Historical Society – $15,798 to support the installation of an accessible restroom and lift to the second floor
- Strafford Historical Society – $18,040 to support the installation of a new HVAC system
- Swanton Public Library – $3,756 to support the installation of audio/visual equipment and room darkening blinds
- Town of Fair Haven – $16,910 to support the installation of an accessible restroom on the second floor of the Fair Haven Town Hall
- Town of Franklin – $10,822 to support the installation of a sound system with assistive listening devices and acoustic curtains for the windows in the Franklin Town Hall
- Town of Rockingham, Bellows Falls – $21,222 to support LED theater lighting, winched piping, and a light board in the Bellows Falls Opera House
- Vermont Granite Museum of Barre – $26,700 to support the construction of three classroom spaces within the Museum
- Wardsboro Public Library – $3,606 to support the installation of audio/visual equipment and an assistive listening system
About the Vermont Arts Council
The Vermont Arts Council envisions a Vermont where all people have access to the arts and creativity in their lives, education, and communities. Engagement with the arts transforms individuals, connects us more deeply to each other, energizes the economy, and sustains the vibrant cultural landscape that makes Vermont a great place to live. Since 1965, the Council has been the state’s primary provider of funding, advocacy, and information for the arts in Vermont. Learn more at vermontartscouncil.org