Woman outside smiles in front of autumnal trees
Community Engagement Coordinator, Creative Economy


CreativeGround highlights the people and places that contribute to New England’s thriving creative economy. Every other year, NEFA hosts the Creative Communities Exchange (CCX) to celebrate the projects that leverage those people and places for community development. This June, the sixth CCX will take place in Montpelier, Vermont. To prepare you for the imminent peer exchange of creative community initiatives, CreativeGround invites you to dig into the juicy activity in the area with the latest from local creative economy players.

Check out the robust CreativeGround profile for the Center for Arts and Learning.

It's the week of CCX, and we have one last Montpelier local creative enterprise to share - the Center for Arts and Learning. The Center is a partnership of three organizations - the Monteverdi Music School, River Rock School, and the T.W. Wood Gallery - and offers studio space, practice space, and community-based arts programs. We checked in with executive director Alice Dodge to get some fun facts.

(Pssst... Catch up on last week's interview with Montpelier's Community Engagement Lab here.)

CreativeGround (CG): What is a typical day for you at Center for Arts and Learning?

Alice Dodge (AD): There is no typical day at the Center for Arts and Learning. Right now, a day may involve making sure our elevator construction workers aren’t making too much noise while our toddler music lessons are going on; meeting with artists who’d like to install their work in the building for the upcoming ArtsFest, and helping a River Rock student learn locksmithing by exploring the cool, old doors in our historic building with them.

CG: Tell us how you’re involved in the region’s creative sector off the clock. What is your favorite arts blog or online publication? 

AD: For national and international arts goings-on, I find Hyperallergic has interesting stories and profiles of people doing intriguing work. Locally, the Montpelier Bridge often has great coverage of what’s going on specifically in our town.

CAL's Summit School enjoys a stringed instrument class.

CG: Name three New England artists, creative businesses, or cultural nonprofits we should all know about. 

AD: You should definitely check out the Front, also on Barre St., which is a cooperatively run gallery of about twenty artists with unexpected work. One local artist who has been making a splash around here is Tuyen Nguyen, she’s currently the artist-in-residence at Studio Place Arts in Barre; and you should absolutely check out Chris Jeffrey – he’s an artist working in our building, and he creates site-specific installations using light and reflective materials that are just breathtaking.

CG: What was the last New England creative business or cultural nonprofit you visited and what did you see? 

AD: I recently saw the new show at the Garage building in downtown Montpelier – it’s an old building that’s been vacant for awhile, but has been rehabbed into a gorgeous second-floor space to house art exhibits, cooking classes, and events. They have a show of large-scale sculpture done in plaster that’s strikingly different, in that we don’t have a lot of venues that can accommodate that kind of work. 

CG: How does CreativeGround serve the creative economy in your region?

AD: Everyone here is really excited about the upcoming CCX conference, and I look forward to using CreativeGround as a way to connect back to people I hope to meet during the conference.

A snowy day at the Center for Arts and Learning

CG: Why should New England artists, creative businesses, and cultural nonprofits be listed on CreativeGround?

AD: I’m new to using CreativeGround, but it seems like it has great potential for connecting artists and creative businesses, especially in a place like this one where we tend to be far-flung. I’ll definitely be using it to find new artists to show in our gallery spaces in the future.

Thank you, Alice, for taking the time to share your knowledge of your locale! We're excited to see you at the Creative Communities Exchange and ArtsFest. #CCX2019

Want more dirt on the New England creative economy insiders?  Dig into CreativeGround. Catch up on our previous Montpelier On the Creative Ground with posts with Community Engagement Lab, Lost Nation Theater, and CCX local host, Montpelier Alive. See you at CCX!