The New England Foundation for the Arts will host its biennial Creative Communities Exchange conference in Montpelier. Slated for late May or June of 2019, the conference brings together arts leadership from around New England to learn from one another about creative place-making trends and ways to support the creative economy at the local level.
Over the years, Montpelier has become a welcoming and growing home to a vibrant independent art scene. This includes "the city as platform," which has generated more parklets and pocket parks per capita than any other city in the US; the rise of new art galleries like cooperative managed Gallery The Front; Lost Nation Theater, a decades-long repertory theater; Savoy Theater, an independent film house; and a dramatic proliferation of boutique food and beverage venues. Much of this growth has coincided with the success of the Vermont College of Fine Arts, which according to one study estimates that for every new graduate program, an additional $100,000 is generated in downtown spending annually.
Dan Groberg, Executive Director of Montpelier Alive, a membership-driven downtown improvement organization, told the Times Argus recently that, “Montpelier is truly emerging as the creative capital. Hosting CCX is a reflection of the tremendous creative energy in our city that lends innovation and vitality to Montpelier.”
The Argus also reports that the city's successful pitch to host the conference was, "a collaborative effort by numerous arts and education institutions, including the Center for Arts Learning, T.W. Wood Gallery, Local 64, the Vermont Historical Society, Lost Nation Theater, the Art Resource Association, Vermont College of Fine Arts and Goddard College. The Vermont Arts Council was also involved in an advisory capacity only because it’s a statewide organization and cannot advocate for one community over another."
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