MONTPELIER -- On Thursday, May 1, the Vermont Legislature proclaimed 2015 the Year of the Arts. The Vermont Arts Council worked closely with the House and Senate Leadership and the Vermont Legislative Arts Caucus to bring this resolution to completion, in part to mark the upcoming Fiftieth anniversary of the Arts Council.

Executive Director Alex Aldrich said, "With this proclamation, we are laying the groundwork for much still to come. We intend to use 2015 as a time to shine the light on 'everything art' in Vermont. More important than our anniversary is the opportunity to showcase the hundreds of organizations and thousands of artists that enrich the culture of Vermont. We also want to recognize the role the arts play in education, community development, and human services, as well as our everyday lives. Ultimately, it's not about the Council; it's about Vermont taking the stage as a significant cultural destination in part due to the constant investment of public dollars over the past half-century."

In 1964 a group of citizens who recognized the importance of the arts in Vermont communities formed an arts council. On June 30, 1965, the Vermont Legislature passed Act 170, which designated Vermont Council on the Arts, Inc. as "the state agency to formulate and apply for grants-in-aid to the state under the National Arts and Culture Act of 1964." The Vermont Arts Council remains the only state arts agency in the U.


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S. that is also a private, nonprofit, membership organization.

The proclamation noted several important facts about the Council and the central role the arts play in Vermont culture including:

  • For 50 years, the Council has fulfilled its promise to Vermont citizens and visitors, nurturing hundreds of arts organizations, thousands of artists, and fostering public art installations in facilities throughout the state
  • The Council has awarded more than $20 million in grants in support of arts activities
  • According to 2012 U.S. Census data, Vermont ranks third overall for artists as a percentage of the workforce, second for fine artists and writers, and eighth for musicians and photographers.

The Council plans to work with Vermont artists, arts organizations, and communities to identify and promote arts activities and events throughout 2015.

Since 1964, the Vermont Arts Council has been the state's primary provider of funding, advocacy and information for the arts in Vermont. It strives to increase public awareness of the positive role artists and arts organizations play in communities and to increase opportunities for Vermonters to experience the arts in everyday life. The Council is the only designated State Arts Agency in the U.S. that is also an independent, not-for-profit, membership organization. For more information on the programs and services of the Vermont Arts Council, visit http://www.vermontartscouncil.org .