Creative Communities Exchange

The biennial Creative Communities Exchange (CCX) gathers people from across New England who connect creative work to community goals. An energizing networking and learning event, participants share ideas and discuss strategies about how to make inclusive creative communities happen.




Montpelier, VT

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.

Download the Program Book

The program book is in an accessible PDF format.

CCX 2019's local host is Montpelier Alive.

Registration Info & Ways to Save

Registration Info - SOLD OUT

The event is sold out. Walk up or onsite registration will not be available.

Workshop leaders will receive a registration code via email.

Registration includes:

  • Attendance at all workshops & presentations
  • Thursday and Friday breakfast 
  • Thursday cocktail reception
  • Thursday and Friday lunch

Ways to Save

1. Travel & Registration Support

  • The application for support was due by March 22, 2019 

2. Early Registration

  • Save $50 per person by registering before April 12

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 & Guidelines

Event participant speaks from the audience, uses hands to illustrate point.
Julianne Gadoury, of New Hampshire State Council on the Arts, at CCX 2017; photo by Emilie Farrugia/The Day

Announcing the CCX 2019 workshops

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 a particular 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


The call for CCX workshop submissions is typically during the fall preceding the event; the CCX 2019 deadline for submissions was 12.20.18.

  • 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 an instructional handout 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. 

Review the timeline for selected workshops


CCX event activities will take place in various venues of downtown Montpelier like the City Hall Auditorium/Lost Nation Theater, the VT History Museum, the Unitarian Church and Kellogg-Hubbard Library. The Capitol Plaza is “CCX Central.”

See the Full Schedule

Directions, Parking, Carpool, & Lodging


  • Montpelier is in the heart of Vermont; an easy, scenic drive within four hours of every major New England city. Public transportation is available by Greyhound bus (downtown) and Megabus and Amtrak (short cab ride to downtown); Burlington International Airport is 40-minute drive, with direct Greyhound and public bus service (via transfer) available.
  • See Montpelier Alive's helpful Getting Here & Parking page for transportation routes, times, and an interactive city map:  


  • Accessible parking is available at all venues.
  • There is free, permit parking for CCX participants at the Capitol Plaza Hotel & Conference Center. Download the permit in advance to save yourself time, or pick one up at the CCX registration table. Permits are not valid in the spaces marked for the bank or on metered spaces.
  • Overflow parking: Free parking is available at the Department of Labor lot at 5 Green Mountain Drive.This lot is a 15 minute walk to the hotel along a bike path, which you can access from the back of the lot. Walk along bike path along the river,  cross the river along the path, and you will end up on Taylor Street, which runs along the side of the hotel.  You may also take the hotel shuttle (a white van with the Capitol Plaza Hotel logo and "Customer Shuttle"), which runs every 10 minutes. Do not take the "Capital Shuttle," which goes through downtown but not to the hotel. Driving directions to the overflow lot: 
    • From Montpelier:  Continue on Route 2 towards the I-89.  Go through the light, passing Montpelier High School (it will be on your right).  You will see tennis courts on your right, take that next right hand turn onto ‘Green Mountain Drive’.  Once you pull in, take your first right into the parking lot.  The lot is “u” shaped, so continue to the back part, past the bus stop.  Park anywhere back there and our Capitol Plaza shuttle will transport you to the hotel.  
    • From Interstate 89:  Get off at Exit 8 (Montpelier/St. Johnsbury) and continue through ONE set of lights.  Immediately after that set of lights there is a left hand turn ‘Green Mountain Drive’ – take that left.  Once you pull in, take your first right into the parking lot.  The lot is “u” shaped, so continue to the back part, past the bus stop.  Park anywhere back there and our Capitol Plaza shuttle will transport you to the hotel.  

Carpool Sign Up


Capitol Plaza Hotel & Conference Center

100 State St.
Montpelier, VT 05602

  • Discounted rate for CCX participants is $151/night and up. Deadline May 1. Reserve early for the best price.
  • Reservations can be made by calling the hotel and referencing “Montpelier Alive.”
  • Free parking is available for guests and most CCX venues are located within 0.3 mile of the hotel.

Vermont College of Fine Arts Visitor Housing

36 College St
Montpelier, VT 05602
0.8 mile from Capitol Plaza

  • Reservations are now closed. 
  • Rate for CCX participants is $75/night. 
  • 73 dorm rooms are available; free parking for guests
  • Please contact Chiyomi McKibbin, VCA Coordinator of Campus Services, with any questions

Other Lodging Options

  • The Inn at Montpelier
    147 Main Street
    Montpelier, VT 05602
    0.4 mile from the Capitol Plaza
  • Comfort Inn & Suites at Maplewood
    213 Paine Turnpike N.
    Montpelier, VT 05602
    Approximately 4 miles from the Capitol Plaza. Please note that parking in Montpelier is limited. Participants are encouraged to stay within walking distance of CCX venues.

Montpelier also has multiple Airbnb and VRBO options


Creative Economy Award

From left: NEFA executive director Cathy Edwards with 2017 Creative Economy Award recipient Marta V. Martinez, Rhode Island Latino Arts, and board member and Rhode Island State Council on the Arts executive director Randall Rosenbaum; photo by Emilie Farrugia/The Day

One creative economy project and one organization is recognized at each CCX with NEFA's Creative Economy Award. This year, the ceremony will take place during the lunch on Friday June 7 at the Capitol Plaza Ballroom.


Local Area & Events

Welcome to Montpelier, Vermont's Capital City

Montpelier provides small town charm with big city flavor. Exquisite historic buildings are home to Vermont's state government, shopping, commerce and world-class dining and arts. Outstanding outdoor recreation is within minutes of the downtown. Montpelier is the largest urban historic district in Vermont. The crown jewel is the impeccably restored State House - one of the oldest and best preserved in the country. Three blocks away is the city's unique business district. Linger at independently-owned shops offering books, recordings, clothing, fine crafts and pastries, or dine in one of the many restaurants, cafes or delis in the city. Our thriving arts community has earned Montpelier recognition as being one of the best 100 small towns in the United States. Our recreation opportunities are second to none. 

Image of a crowd of people on a warm sunny day with Vermont's capitol building in the background.
Montpelier's Capitol Building, by Paul Richardson

The icing on the cake? We're the only state capital without a McDonald's, and we're sure you won't miss it. We hope you'll visit and experience Montpelier, where Vermont is served daily. 

Montpelier Alive, CCX local host, has organized ArtsFest, a two-night celebration of local creativity, especially for CCX 2019. ArtsFest is designed to exhibit the vast and diverse artistic talent in Central Vermont and a chance for seasoned and emerging artists to showcase their talents. 

During the evening of Wednesday, June 5th, Langdon Street in Downtown Montpelier will be turned into the Creativity Thrives Downtown Reception, a celebration of the arts that will bring together attendees of the Downtown and Historic Preservation Conference and CCX along with the general public. The street party, presented by National Life Group, will include food and drink, four bands across two stages, ephemeral art projects, performances, and more. 

During the evening of Thursday, June 6th, the streets of downtown Montpelier will host Art Walk alongside a diverse array of arts events. Art Walk features more than two dozen art openings on one night in Montpelier, with a flexible format that allows art lovers to start at any venue and visit as many exhibits as they wish. Additionally, arts venues across Montpelier will host open houses and guided tours, Lost Nation Theater will host a production, and streets, shops, and restaurants will be filled with performers, artist talks, and creative endeavors.

For more information, visit and the local host table at the Capitol Plaza during CCX.



Learn more about the CCX by watching this video from CCX 2017 in New London, CT.

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