Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Today Is Arts Advocacy Day

This week I had a fascinating conversation with Alex Aldrich, Director of the Vermont Arts Council. I wanted to know more about the Council's involvement with today's events for Arts Advocacy Day at the State House.

One question I had related to the anecdotal experience we all have probably had at some point: doesn't it seem like you can't turn around here without running into a writer, a poet, an artist, or a musician of one kind or another?

I discovered it's more than a passing impression, that perception has quite a bit of truth to it. Alex confirmed that Vermont is among the top states per capita for the number of artists and artisans employed here: "I'm glad you raised this during a year when we're doing the census. I actually think that are really really under-counted as far as Vermont is concerned...we do know from what hard data we have that Vermont is number one where writers are concerned. We're number six where visual artists and designers are concerned, and overall I think we wind up around number two or three nation-wide."

So, what does it mean to be an "arts advocate"? "I think it's a crucial part of our program that a lot of what we do it simply educate people," Alex explained, " builds community, it builds responsible citizens, it builds creative citizens, and makes Vermont this wonderful jewel of a place where we like to live and work."

Public radio is also an integral part of a thriving cultural community. While VPR advocates for the arts in Vermont by telling you about upcoming events, playing the music of local performers and composers, and talking with the wide range of artists who make their home here - you, as a listener, are also an advocate through your support of our efforts. Thanks! And, congratulations to you on this Arts Advocacy Day for helping to make this such a vibrant place to live!

Arts Advocacy Day concludes this evening with the "Luck of the VSO" concert, starting at 7:30pm in the State House Chambers. Guest conductor Sarah Hicks leads the Vermont Symphony Orchestra in a program of music from the British Isles in honor of St. Patrick's Day.

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