Vermont Humanities

Our Advocacy Work

Rep. John Lewis and Andrew Aydin with students in front of a schoolbus


Vermont Humanities works in partnership with the Vermont Arts Council to promote the importance of the cultural sector in building a strong and vibrant community. The arts and humanities are a vital part of Vermont’s downtowns, villages, and urban centers, providing diverse opportunities to draw in Vermonters and visitors, support local businesses, and encourage thoughtful and engaged citizenship.

As a member of the steering committee for the Vermont Creative Network, Vermont Humanities works with cultural leaders from around the state to support museums, libraries, art galleries, performance spaces, historical societies, and other cultural institutions.  We regularly organize community meetings with Vermont’s congressional delegation and other community leaders to help build a strong understanding of the importance of cultural institutions in Vermont cities, towns, and villages.

Covid-19 Relief

Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, Vermont Humanities has played a key role in helping our state’s cultural institutions adapt to Covid-19 and survive its devastating economic effects. Cultural organizations were among the first institutions to close at the start of the pandemic, and also among the last to re-open.

We have partnered with the Vermont Arts Council to award nearly $2 million in Covid-19 relief and recovery funding. We have also helped host weekly discussions on Zoom for cultural organizations about responding to the pandemic, hosted several statewide webinars to explain federal and state relief programs, and worked with the Arts Council to educate policy makers at the local and state level on the needs of the cultural sector.

With the Arts Council we distributed more than $780,000 to 123 cultural organizations in 2020, and also secured the largest cultural funding allocation in the history of Vermont: $5 million set aside for arts and cultural nonprofits in emergency economic relief, followed by an allocation of $1.15 million in state funds to specifically address the digital capacity needs of cultural non-profit organizations.

To offset the continued economic fallout from the pandemic in 2021, together with the Vermont Arts Council we awarded $1.2 million in recovery funding to 146 Vermont arts and humanities organizations through a collaborative grant program made possible by American Rescue Plan Act funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Vermont Creative Futures Act

During the current Vermont state legislative session, Vermont Humanities is working with the Vermont Arts Council, and the Vermont Creative Network to advocate for increased investment in economic recovery for cultural organizations and creative businesses still facing an uncertain future through the Vermont Creative Futures Act (S.202; H.624).

This recovery package invests $17.5 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds to help our state’s vital creative sector recover from the impact of the pandemic and emerge stronger. Funding would support:

  • $10 million in Creative Economy Grants for organizations and businesses that sustained substantial losses due to Covid or who continue to operate at limited capacity
  • $4 million to help nonprofit cultural organizations with facility adaptions, for example, to purchase air-purification systems and hand-sanitizer dispensers; assess and upgrade HVAC systems; or to expand outdoor seating
  • $2 million for transitional costs required to implement safe public programming, such as touchless ticketing, online sales platforms, and Covid-related health and safety protocols
  • $750,000 for Creative Spaces Grants to revitalize vacant retail or office spaces through art and culture — for example, events, workshops, studios or exhibitions. Grants would provide rental income to landlords while enabling artists or creative businesses to thrive and sparking energy in towns and villages.
  • $500,000 to support statewide and regional marketing of arts and cultural events, venues, and creative sector businesses
  • $250,000 to sustain and build the Vermont Creative Network in order to implement the CreateVT Action Plan

Bill Sponsors

We extend our sincere thanks to all the co-sponsors of the Vermont Creative Futures Act for their support of Vermont’s vital creative and cultural sector.

Senate bill: S.202
Sen. Alison Clarkson
Additional sponsors:
Sen. Joseph Benning
Sen. Ann Cummings
Sen. Kesha Ram Hinsdale

House bill: H.624
Rep. Stephanie Jerome
Additional sponsors:
Rep. Sarah “Sarita” Austin
Rep. Jessica Brumsted
Rep. Mollie Burke
Rep. R. Scott Campbell
Rep. Brian Cina
Rep. Sara Coffey
Rep. Lawrence Cupoli
Rep. Katherine “Kari” Dolan
Rep. David Durfee
Rep. Lisa Hango
Rep. John Killacky
Rep. Warren Kitzmiller
Rep. Emma Mulvaney-Stanak
Rep. Logan Nicoll
Rep. Daniel Noyes
Rep. Woodman Page
Rep. Kelly Pajala
Rep. Barbara Rachelson
Rep. Heidi Scheuermann
Rep. Katherine Sims
Rep. Gabrielle Stebbins
Rep. Kirk White
Rep. Theresa Wood
Rep. Michael Yantachka

Bill Resources

Covid-19 Advocacy and Relief

A young Black man and an older European woman playing a board game together

2021 Cultural Recovery Grant Recipients

A list of organizations that have received awards in the two rounds of the Vermont Covid-19 Cultural Recovery Grant Program in 2021. Includes a link to the Pandemic Recovery in Vermont’s Cultural Sector brochure.

Group of women in masks and sashes on stage

2020 Emergency Relief Grant Recipients

Organizations that received Emergency Relief Grants from the Vermont Covid-19 Cultural Relief Grant Program in 2020. Includes a link to the CARES Act Report brochure.

Vermont Humanities*** December 9, 2021