Blog Posts for Vermont

Seeing Anew: How Serving on a Selection Panel Changed My Perspective (Podcast)

Posted by Mr. John R. Killacky, Feb 28, 2012 2 comments

John R. Kilacky

(Editor's Note: Play the podcast above to hear John read his post. Both were first published by Vermont Public Radio earlier this month.) Recently I served as a panelist for the National Science Foundation’s Antarctic Artists and Writers Program. Forty-nine applicants wanted to be embedded in scientific research teams. They sought to explore the ethos, mythologies, and realities of this extraordinary continent. Composers wanted to listen to the wind, water, animals, and shifting ice. Visuals artists hoped to delve into infinite striations of whiteness: the effects of transparency on ice, the glitter of ice crystals, and light and shadow patterns on the surface and internal features of the frozen landscape. Photographers and documentarians were drawn to the heroics of transformative research under such harsh conditions. Poets and writers wanted to go with a blank page free of hypothesis. Choreographers aspired to locate themselves in the overwhelming immensity of endless horizons. My panel duty did not ignite a travel-lust of my own for Antarctica; instead I have been inspired by these artists to pay more attention to my own home environment. Seeing anew, I observe how the longer days continually shift the light in the woods behind our town house to reveal an ever-evolving panorama. I never realized before, just how many different kinds of birds live there even in winter.

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Creativity Will Change the Model

Posted by Bill Roper, Nov 08, 2011 2 comments

Bill Roper

On behalf of the Orton Family Foundation, I was recently visiting communities in Montana and Colorado, assessing whether they would make good Heart & Soul Community Planning demonstration projects. Part of my message during this tour was that community building and planning is broken in the United States.

Approaches to engaging the public over the last 30 years have become top-down, tired, and seemingly irrelevant. Who wants to come to a meeting to provide input on a plan developed behind closed doors and when it’s pretty clear a decision has already been made? Who ever catches the notices in the newspaper or on the bulletin boards that all look the same, are always in the same places and use technical or hot button words like updates, zoning, transportation trip levels, etc.?

In a country that expects another hundred million people by 2050, we’ve got to wake up and shake up the usual way of doing business.

To move from the left brain to the right brain, to excite people and entice them or inspire them to participate, to open up the government model and build on the assets found in our human, social, and natural landscapes. Art and the creativity it embodies and unleashes can play a critical role in this regard.

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Coping with Mother Nature: Emergency Relief & Readiness

Posted by Cornelia Carey, Sep 30, 2011 1 comment

Cornelia Carey

Nearly a month has passed since Hurricane/Tropical Storm Irene blew up the East Coast affecting 17 states and territories from the Virgin Islands to Maine.

The deep river valleys of New York and Vermont were among the most severely impacted. And just as those communities were beginning to dig out, Hurricane Lee caused another round of flooding in parts of Pennsylvania and New York.

Further, drought fueled wildfires had homeowners, businesses, and firefighters scrambling for control earlier this month in Texas. In Bastrop County, TX, alone 34,068 acres burned with 1,553 homes destroyed.

Needless to say, it’s been a busy time for those of us who work as emergency responders. While Montpelier, VT, where the CERF+ office is located, narrowly missed devastation, experiencing the disaster from the front lines has been a humbling and heartbreaking experience for our staff.

Recently, Laura Scanlan, director of state and regional partnerships at the National Endowment for the Arts organized a conference call for all of the states and territories affected by Hurricane/Tropical Storm Irene. The news coming out of the states and territories, with the exception of Vermont and Puerto Rico (and with a few states not on the phone) is that arts organizations fared relatively well.

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