November 4-5, 2015
Vermont College of Fine Arts, 36 College Street, Montpelier


This was the inaugural VCN Summit . Over two days, nearly 200 Vermont creatives from all disciplines networked, learned, and helped shape this emerging Network.


Day One

9:30 – registration
10:30 – pre-sessions
Building a Creative Network Advocacy Agenda | Update — Vermont Community Foundation
noon  opening plenary: Creativity and the Vermont Brand
1:30 – sessions
Collective Impact — Lessons Learned from Vermont Farm to Plate Network | Making Noise — Music, Messaging, and Community | Fostering a Growth Mindset for Creativity | Co-Teaching to Integrate the Arts | Five Best Ideas to Ignite Your Organization
3 – sessions
The Creative Economy at Work in Western Massachusetts | Creative Independence in Vermont — Shared Spaces and the Future of Work | Social Media Myth Busters — “I Don’t Have Time and It’s Too Expensive” | Creative Mentorships in Real Time — Youth Speak | Vermont Village Greens and Public Art

reception | dinner | evening activities

Day Two

9 – community story lines
Cambridge Silos | Latchis Theatre | South End Alliance | Swanton Arts Council
10:30 –  sessions
Designing and Adopting National Core Arts Standards | Financing: Creative Approaches, Strategies for Successful Social Practice Projects | The Evolution and Ethos of the Emergent Media Sandbox Team, | Data + Stories = Impact
noon plenary: Hal Colston “Creating with Passion”
1:30  session: Collaborative Design for Social Impact | Creativity Central: Think Public Libraries | Results-Based Accountability for Program Performance | Advancing Vermont’s Creative Sector | Pathways to Partnership


Advancing Vermont’s Creative Sector
Vermont’s creative community is validated by how many creative artists comprise it. This variety is its hallmark: Unique personalities, modes of expression, grouping of talents, models for organizing institutions that champion the arts, all together demonstrate its vitality and strength. Our creative community also recognizes common needs. Alliance building and an exploration of these shared needs is occurring within the Vermont Creative Network. This panel provides a practical overview of the landscape in which individuals and organizations are seeking to advance creativity in Vermont. Panelists discuss challenges and offer solutions that create a new level of opportunity for everyone.

— Matt Dunne, Marguerite Dibble, Genese Grill, James Lockridge, Tom Stevens

Building Creative Independence in Vermont: Shared Spaces and the Future of Work
Over the last several years more and more Vermonters are becoming a part of shared workspaces – makerspaces, co-working spaces, incubators and accelerators. Let’s explore the big picture – the attraction of these spaces, why they are more and more relevant to Vermont communities, what they imply for the future of Vermont’s creative workforce – and practical details including the trials of getting them off the ground and what makes them work.

— Missa Aloisi, Mark Browning, Tad Cooke, and Lars Hasselblad Torres

Hal Colston presents "Creating with Passion" as day two plenary.

Hal Colston presents “Creating with Passion” as day two plenary.

Collaborative Design for Social Impact
Collaboration is a hot topic in the world of social impact. The recent veneration of design and design thinking as powerful tools to address complex social problems often reinforces problematic distinctions between those doing the design and those being designed for. We are learning that “solutions” that involve deep participation of those most affected will change underlying issues. In this session, we’ll share stories of what’s worked (and what hasn’t) when it comes to collaboration. How have we attempted to avoid the dreaded “design by committee?” What techniques, resources, and processes have we used, and what were the outcomes for the communities we were working with?

— Una Lee

Collective Impact: Lessons learned from Vermont’s Farm to Plate Network
The Farm to Plate Network is a self-governed collaborative of over 350 organizations working together to strengthen Vermont’s food system and reach the goals of the statewide food system plan. The Network has been using Kania and Kramer’s Collective Impact (CI) approach for the past four years. This session will provide an overview of the CI framework and how it is being used to coordinate food system activity. The session will include opportunity for discussion about CI and how the Vermont Creative Network might utilize this approach to advance its work.

— Erica Campbell

Co-Teaching to Integrate the Arts
A team of faculty (classroom teachers and arts specialists) along with administrators from the Integrated Arts Academy will highlight our journey in the creation of our school wide integrated arts co-teaching blocks—development over the past 4 years, the twists and turns along the way, and share planning templates, rubrics, assessments, and documentation of this model. These co-teaching blocks integrate the four art forms, visual art, music, drama, and dance with all of our students in classrooms grades 2-5. Art Specialists and classroom teachers collaborate to create this passionate way of learning through the arts. We will also highlight how this model has positively influenced our school.

— Judy Klima, Ada Leaphart, Mike Gerstenmaer, Bobby Riley

The Creative Economy at Work in Western Massachusetts
A member of the Massachusetts’ Creative Economy Initiative, the Pioneer Valley Creative Economy Network is a collaboration of art, business, university, economic development, city and community partners working to connect and expand opportunities for artists and creative businesses in the three counties of the Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts. We host monthly Plug-In network events for artists and creative business workers; conduct and share research; amplify professional development opportunities; co-create and host an annual Creative Economy Summit. Each partner represents their own constituencies, yet together reaches and connects thousands of artists and creative businesses.

— Dee Boyle-Clapp

Creative Mentorships in Real Time: Youth Speak The Vermont legislature recently passed Act 77, paving the way for personalized learning plans and flexible pathways to learning. Meet Vermont high school students piloting and pioneering authentic creative internships, exhibitions of learning, and independent studies from different high schools challenging traditional modes of learning.

— Big Picture School at South Burlington High School , Cabot School, iLab at Winooski High School, SOAR Program at Montpelier High School

Data + Stories = Impact
Have you had to represent your organization to your board, a donor, or members of your community recently? In high stakes conversations it can be difficult to decide which talking points to include. A narrow focus on numbers can lead to forgettable meetings or sleepy audiences, while a great story alone may lack the credibility to convince key stakeholders. In this session we will: discuss the importance of using data and stories together, look at examples of effective casemaking, walk through a step-by-step process for crafting a case, practice these skills in a hands on workshop using CDP Analytic reports.

— Joanna Wilkinson

Designing and Adopting National Core Arts Standards
This presentation will explain the grassroots, collective process that the National Coalition for Core Arts Standards used to create the National Core Arts Standards (NCAS). The process took three years and involved ten national organizations and thousands of arts educators from five arts disciplines across the country. It will explain how the previous arts standards in 1994 were developed in silos, and how the new core arts standards allow the five arts disciplines to honor their individuality, while also working together collectively. It will also address how other states have worked to adopt NCAS and address Vermont’s relationship with NCAS.

— Chris Case, Erika Lowe

Financing: Creative Approaches
Come learn how these creative enterprises got their projects off the ground by using non-traditional funding streams and innovative financing strategies. Financing strategies and options used by Sugar Snap Catering, DesignBook, and Cardboard Teck Institute will be explored in an open-sourced, fishbowl format.

— Abbey Duke, Christa Ferrari, Ben T. Matchstick, Liz Ruffa

Five Best Ideas to Ignite Your Organization
High performing organizations have the greatest community impact. Common Good Vermont will present five of the best ideas for building the capacity of your organization to operate at its highest and best.

— Lauren-Glenn Davitian, Sara Katz, John Killacky, Doreen Kraft

Fostering a Growth-Mindset for Creativity
How can educators create an environment that fosters a growth mindset and leads to creativity? This session will provide a short refresher on the fundamentals of developing a growth mindset and how that development is vitally connected to creativity. The session will provide dynamic, interactive explanation of the work, take-away activities to utilize in your educational setting, and pose essential questions for further consideration.

— Mike Martin, Mike McRaith

Making Noise: Music, Messaging, and Community
When community members gather to identify issues and build solutions, artist-inspired approaches offer perspective, strength and sustenance for their journey. Music as a strategic communications tool also helps communities tell their stories, connect with key constituents and galvanize action. Through facilitated exchange with Vermont-based artists, video and live music, participants learn about the power of music—historically and currently—to raise awareness, connect diverse communities and spark engagement. Participants understand how music and creative media might be applied in their own promotional, cross-sector and community building activities.

— Myra Flynn, Chad Hollister, Katie Trautz, Elizabeth Stookey Sunde

Pathways to Partnership: How Organizations Share Resources to Support Inclusive Teaching with UDL and Arts Integration
Participants will learn how a partnership in Vermont, made up of multiple arts organizations, a public school and an independent school, shares resources in arts integration and Universal Design for Learning to increase student engagement. There will be time for participants to brainstorm partnership possibilities in their home communities. Topics covered will include collective impact, classroom applications, planning processes, pitfalls, and successes.

— Judith Chalmer, Lisa Condino, Kim Desjardins, Sandra Limoge, Erika Lowe, Stacy Raphael

Presenting the Evolution and Ethos with the Champlain College Sandbox Team
With the mission of exploring emergent technologies and executing complex projects, Champlain College’s undergraduates, MFA in Emergent Media, and the EMC faculty and staff have built a team structure that breaks traditional educational structures to allow deep collaboration across disciplines. The goal is innovation through and iteration of unique ideas into tangible experiences that push the boundaries of art, innovation and design. Working within the unique facilities of Champlain College’s Emergent Media Center and MakerLab recent projects include: Icarus—a virtual environment navigated with physical wings; Pixel Cloud—a physical cloud that responds to the emotional content of the tweets sent to it.

— John Banks, Terry Sehr

Results Based Accountability for Program Performance
Measurement practices don’t just track data; done well, metrics can be a powerful tool to catalyze and guide collective action to create positive change. This out-of-your-chair workshop will begin with a brief introduction to Results-Based Accountability (RBA) as a user-friendly tool for measuring and building the community well-being. Participants will engage in creating performance metrics in a hands-on experience. The group will debrief and discuss challenges of developing a workplace culture of learning and accountability. Participants will receive links to RBA resources that will reinforce the learning and enable them to apply RBA concepts, including the performance metric creation exercise.

— Hilary Boone

Sharing Strategies for Successful Social Practice Projects
Social practice projects strengthen community while making the visual arts a part of everyday life. This session will detail how some of our successful past project came to be—including defining how all stakeholders benefit from participation, strategies to create the necessary funding, and ways to initiate partnerships with businesses, nonprofits, and local government.

— Adam Blue

Social Media Myth Busters: “I Don’t Have Time and It’s Too Expensive”
We’re not going to give you the “Eight-Minute Abs” infomercial on social media, but we kind of are…..
No matter how big or small an organization, social media can often fall to the wayside. There’s so many excuses: No ROI, I have no time, video and graphics are too expensive…. our intern left with the passwords….We’re here to help you with conversations on strategy as well as tools and tips to maximize your story-telling and improve your quality of life spent on social.

— Luke Stafford, Jen Williams

Village Greens and Creative Placemaking
Vermont’s village greens are the physical, historic, and cultural heart of many communities—welcoming concerts, fairs, festivals, and farmers markets. Integral to the Vermont way of life, village greens anchor and strengthen our communities, and make them more attractive places to live and work. Some of Vermont’s 148 village greens have suffered from deferred maintenance, poor preservation, and lack of investment. A new partnership is working to document, showcase, and revitalize these shared public spaces. Creative placemaking plays an important role in creating healthy, vibrant communities and sends strong messages about community values and public space. Do you have ideas that could help communities re-invigorate these important community gathering spaces through creative placemaking? Participants in this focus group discussion will share their ideas, identify potential partners, and create action steps with session leaders.

— Richard Amore, Michele Bailey, Judi Kamien.