Creative Communities Exchange

6.6.19 to 6.7.19

Creative Communities Exchange (CCX)
June 6-7, 2019 | Montpelier, VT

Local host: Montpelier Alive


CCX 2019 will bring people from around New England to Montpelier, VT, a unique state capital where the opportunities and challenges of integrating creativity into advocacy and the daily life of a small setting are immediate and acute. CCX participants will be invited to engage in spirited dialogue about the past, present, and future of the creative sector and its inclusion in building community and identity.


Registration will open in early 2019.

Who Should Participate

The CCX is for people who make inclusive creative communities happen.  It’s for people who connect arts, or creativity to the social, cultural, and economic needs of their communities. Come to network with peers, share successes and challenges, and gain useful information to bring back home. We encourage participants to come with diverse perspectives, such as:

  • Arts, culture, or cultural heritage
  • Community development
  • Creative work, such as design, architecture, writing…
  • Downtown preservation and main streets
  • Economic development
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Municipal government and planning
  • Philanthropy
  • Research
  • Social action and justice
  • Youth leadership and career preparation

Anyone interested in the CCX is highly encouraged to communicate with event staff about any barriers to participation. Learn more about NEFA's focus on diverse participation. 

CCX Workshop info and guidelines

CCX workshops encourage participants to explore what it really takes to put creativity at the center of their community’s economic life. Each one discusses the specific strategies and outcomes of one creative economy initiative. These are stories of creative work that reaches across sectors to address community social, cultural, and economic goals.  Past CCX workshop strategies included pop-up creative businesses, cultural plans, cultural districts, cultural policy and zoning, downtown events, impact research, space development, workforce development, and many more examples that you can browse in NEFA's community initiatives directory.

CCX Workshop strategies generally fall within these four themes:

  • INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENT: Creative use of facilities, land, or systems to build community identity and resources.
  • HEADING DOWNTOWN: Innovative events and projects that energize various creative communities and draw visitors and visibility to the economic centers.
  • POLICY & PLANNING: The use of information and community planning to integrate the arts and creativity into policy and zoning decisions.
  • SECTOR CONNECTOR: Efforts that use technology, networking, and training to enhance the capacity of creative people and places and their connection to other sectors.

More About What You'll Learn at CCX


  • Workshops are chosen based on the quality of the connections between arts/creativity and community development goals with:
    • Clarity (specific creative economy strategies; well-articulated process; clear community development outcomes)
    • Inclusion (grassroots ideas; diversity of voices; authentic use of local assets)
    • Transferability (replicable aspects for other communities; shareable with peers; valuable lessons learned.)
  • Workshops focus on the step-by-step process of a single example, initiative, or piece of the work – not the work of an entire organization.
  • Workshops are timed and have a specific format: 20 minutes of how-to presentation, 20 minutes of Q&A discussion, and 20 minutes of networking time.
  • Workshop leaders create a how-to presentation and a To Do checklist outlining the steps they would take to replicate the initiative in a different community. These are reviewed with a mentor in advance of the CCX.
  • Two people may lead one workshop, but they collectively present a single initiative in the allotted time.
  • Workshop leaders are also participants in the CCX, learning and networking over the entire two-day event.
  • Workshop leaders receive discounted registration to the event and are encouraged to communicate with NEFA about any barriers to participation.
  • All 2019 CCX workshops will be considered for a 2019 NEFA Creative Economy Award, which includes a cash prize. 

HOW TO SUBMIT YOUR PROJECT for ccx workshop consideration

  • Read the Workshop Info and Guidelines in the section above.
  • Review the community initative form in advance; required fields are marked with an asterisk.
  • Plan your responses in a separate document, so that you can easily copy and paste into the online form in one sitting (unfortunately we don’t have a mechanism for you to save your online form and come back to it, so best to prepare it all ahead of time.) Please note that some fields have character limits and the form will cut off text that is over the limit.
  • When you have your responses composed, complete and submit a Community Initiatives form or contact Dee Schneidman ( or 617-951-0010 x530) if you need an alternative way to submit your information. If you would like your project to be considered for a CCX workshop, check the appropriate checkbox in the form.


SUBMISSION DEADLINE: December 20, 2018

  • Once submitted, NEFA staff will review the form and publish the project information on NEFA’s website. This will serve as a resource for other communities across the country. Posted projects will be available on the Community Initiatives page before and after the CCX.
  • A regional panel of peers will select 20-24 community projects to be shared at CCX workshops. If selected, you will be notified in early February 2019 and will receive instructions on preparing your workshop materials. You will then review your 20-minute presentation and To-Do checklist handout with a mentor in March.

join the committee that reviews workshops

Express your interest in serving on the committee that reviews the workshops submitted. To be considered, please fill out this questionnaire by December 3 so that we can learn more about you: Workshop Reviewer Questionnaire.


CCX embraces the wide variety of activity and types of communities across New England. Your experience of rural, urban, tribal, murals, festivals, cultural heritage, economic development, arts centers, architecture, transportation, planning, entrepreneurship, business districts, community organizing, and everything in between – is all valuable.