What were the specific goals of this creative economy project? Describe the community development challenge or opportunity that your project was designed to address:
The mission of the Montpelier Public Art Program is to invest in public art to strategically drive community vibrancy and social cohesion. The vision is to enrich the lives of all citizens through honoring the City's history, celebrating its culture, and creating rich experiences for residents and visitors through art in public spaces. We look to facilitate a future of public art that is meaningful, locally-based, and will resonate with residents and visitors alike.
Montpelier's 2010 Master Plan identified the communities primary cultural goal: "Montpelier is considered a destination for arts and culture, with a number of arts and cultural activities , such as festivals, exhibits and performance taking place" and that the natural beauty, art and talent in Montpelier will delight and inspire people and that everyone has the opportunity to participate in creative endeavors.
To this end the department of planning and community development has sought to engage with arts organizations to fulfill that goal.
If the goals change over time, please describe how:
Who was involved in this project and what did they do? (be sure to include the partners from outside of the creative sector and how local voices were included):
The project leadership team included Montpelier Alive, the city’s office of Planning and Community Development, and the Community Engagement Lab. The Community Engagement Lab (CEL) had a lead role in planning the project, helping to organize stakeholders, designing the project scope, and presenting the project vision to the City Council for funding approval. CEL worked closely with the project consultant and leadership team as follows: 1) identified and managed the teaching artists for the visioning workshops; 2) lead the design of the visioning workshops, in close partnership with the teaching artists, project consultant and leadership team; 2) managed the communications plan with stakeholders and the community-at-large; 3) lead the design and implementation of the fundraising campaign.
How does this project relate to a larger community development strategy?
This project came at an exciting time for Montpelier. The City was developing a new transit hub in the heart of downtown with $8.8 million in local, state and federal funds, which was Montpelier’s largest private-to-public development in the past 30 years. The site will include green space, the long-planned continuation of the Montpelier bike path—connecting it into the heart of downtown—the removal of two buildings to make way for the bike path and new green space, and a new pedestrian/bike bridge over the Winooski River to connect the transit hub site and bike path to downtown.
One Taylor Street, which is being called the new gateway to Montpelier, has been catalytic for other design and community development projects. The City of Montpelier recently participated in the EPA’s Greening of America’s Capitals project. Downtown merchants approved a Downtown Improvement District tax to fund downtown cultural activities and streetscape improvements. And a Downtown Design Summit was organized—and attended by a standing-room-only crowd—to better engage the community in these developing projects.
Although these design and cultural initiatives are generating excitement and new energy, there is not any public art master planning that connects horizontally through all projects. The Montpelier ArtSynergy Project seeks to create a Public Art Master Plan that will bring the community together to understand how to connect-the-dots between these and future design and cultural initiatives for greater community and economic development.