From the Vermont Arts Council –
The Vermont Arts Council announces $3,220,000 in awards to 99 creative sector organizations and businesses in its second round of funding through the Creative Futures Grant program. The final round opens for applications today.
Supported by $9 million from Vermont’s share of the American Rescue Plan Act, the program aims to provide relief to one of the state’s economic sectors hit hardest by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Funding of up to $200,000 is available to Vermont-based creative economy nonprofits and for-profit entities, including sole proprietors, that can demonstrate economic harm caused by or exacerbated by the pandemic. It’s the first time that the Council has the ability to grant funds to the full creative sector, including for-profit businesses.
Funding amounts are based on 2019 (pre-pandemic) operating revenue. The funds are for any regular operating expenses, including but not limited to payroll and benefits, utilities, rent, and insurance.
Grants are awarded in three rounds with the last funding round opening May 1 when all remaining funds—just under $2 million—will be awarded. Applications that are not funded in one round may be re-considered in the next round.
Applications are evaluated by external review panels for severity of Covid-19 pandemic harm, community and cultural impact, and economic impact.
In round one funding, announced Jan. 5, more than $3.6 million in grants to 49 creative sector recipients was awarded, which included 15 creative sector for-profits.
In round two funding, the Council received 134 new applications and 98 applications to be reconsidered from round one. Total eligible requests equaled $5,572,500.
Of the 99 recipients, 61 were nonprofits and 38 were for-profits. Recipients came from all Vermont counties and represented all seven segments of the creative economy: performing arts; visual arts and crafts; culture & heritage; design; film and media; literary arts and publishing; and specialty foods.
Recipients represented a range of sizes, from large for-profits like Danforth Pewter in Middlebury and nonprofits like Marlboro School of Music and Festival to smaller nonprofits like JAG Productions in White River Junction, and to sole proprietorships like Polar Productions, a film and media company in Stockbridge, and Naga Bakehouse in Middletown Springs.
“The Covid-related investment the state has made thus far has helped hundreds of cultural organizations and creative businesses to survive. It’s a recognition that the creative sector is vital to Vermont’s overall economic health. These funds will ensure a more vibrant and resilient future for communities across the state,” said Vermont Arts Council Interim Executive Director Amy Cunningham.
Vermont’s creative sector lost millions in revenue and thousands of jobs during the pandemic. And though the worst of the crisis may be over, the state’s core cultural organizations continue to struggle to make up for lost revenue, reach sometimes hesitant audiences, and invest in new ways to present programming—both safely indoors and innovatively online.
The deadline for applying in the final round is June 30. Two virtual informational workshops about the grants will be held for potential applicants, from 10-11 a.m. on May 11 and from 4-5 p.m. on May 23. Registration is available on the grant web page.
The Creative Futures program of the Vermont Arts Council is made possible by a grant from the State of Vermont through the Agency of Commerce and Community Development, Department of Economic Development.
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 www.vermontartscouncil.org
About the Vermont Creative Network
The Vermont Creative Network is a broad collective of organizations, businesses, and individuals working to advance Vermont’s creative sector. Authorized by the Vermont Legislature in 2016, the VCN is an initiative of the Vermont Arts Council. Learn more at www.vermontcreativenetwork.org