Vermont Arts Council Distributes $3.6M in Creative Sector Support, Announces Next Round

MONTPELIER, VT— The Vermont Arts Council announces $3,692,500 in awards to 49 creative sector organizations and businesses in its first round of funding through the Creative Futures program. Round two opens for applications on Jan. 5.

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. This marks 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. Applications that are not funded in one round may be re-considered in the next round.

For interested applicants in round two, the Vermont Arts Council will provide a variety of outreach and support, including two virtual grantseeker workshops– from 2-3 p.m., Jan. 11, and from 7-8 p.m., Jan. 23. A wide range of “office hours” will be available for interested applicants to meet with program officers in advance of applying. Technical assistance is also available to interested Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) applicants through a partnership with the Vermont Professionals of Color Network.

Applications are evaluated by external review panels for severity of Covid-19 pandemic harm, community and cultural impact, and economic impact.

The creative sector economy is the collective enterprises, organizations, and individuals whose products and services are rooted in artistic and creative content. It includes culture and heritage; design; film and media; literary arts and publishing; performing arts; specialty foods; and visual arts and crafts.

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 Creative Futures program is a not only a response to the extreme impact that the pandemic had on the creative economy, it is also an unprecedented investment by the State of Vermont in a sector that is crucial to Vermont’s economic development and community vitality,” said Vermont Arts Council Interim Executive Director Amy Cunningham.

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.

For a list of the Creative Futures Round 1 recipients, visit

For more information about the Creative Futures program, visit

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

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



Catherine Crawley, Vermont Arts Council Communications Director,, 802-828-5422