Vermont’s Creative Economy

first_imgVERMONT ARTS COUNCIL CELEBRATES 40 YEARS OF SUPPORTINGTHE “CREATIVE ECONOMY”Arts Council applauds today’s release of “Advancing Vermont’s CreativeEconomy”by the Vermont Council on Rural DevelopmentMontpelier, Vt. (October 4, 2004) The release today of “AdvancingVermont’s Creative Economy” by the Vermont Council on Rural Development clearly shows that there are social and economic benefits to investing in the arts and culture. According to the report, communities that have thriving cultural centers are more likely to attract business and entrepreneurs than those that do not. The Vermont Arts Council has been working under this premise 1964 and, coincidentally, will begin at year-long celebration of its 40th anniversary this month.”The release of this report couldn’t come at a better time,” said artist, teacher, and Chair of the Arts Council’s board of trustees, Irwin Gelber of Barnet. “Next week, on October 16th at Marlboro College, the Council will kick off the celebration of its 40th Anniversary. It is a great anniversary gift to have this public recognition of what we, who work in the arts, have always known: The arts are central to our quality of life. The arts play a major and often pivotal role in our economy and perhaps most importantly, the arts are a priority in our children’s education.”In addition to providing individual grants and awards to Vermont artists, the Arts Council promotes enduring ways to make the arts a part of all Vermont communities, bringing enjoyment and inspiration to citizens and visitors in all corners of the state. To accomplish this, the Arts Council partners with other public benefit organizations at the local, state and national level, as well as with the private sector in education, human services, and economic development.The Cultural Facilities Grant Program is just one example of how the Arts Council supports a “creative economy.” The Cultural Facilities Grant Program, which is funded by the Legislature and administered by the Vermont Arts Council, provides grants for the improvement of community facilities that provide cultural activities. Recipients of Cultural Facilities Grants include: the Vergennes Opera House, the renovation of which sparked a renewal of the entire downtown area; improvements to the stage lighting at Damon Hall in Hartland; and the addition of accessible restrooms to the Hardwick Town House in the Northeast Kingdom. The “Advancing Vermont’s Creative Economy” report recommends a 400% increase in funding for this grant program from its current $50,000 level to $200,000 annually.”The Cultural Facilities Grant Program is ‘the little engine that could’ of downtown redevelopment and community renaissance,” said Alex Aldrich, Executive Director of the Vermont Arts Council. “Most of the grants we award go toward the improvement of historical buildings in the heart of Vermont’s communities so that a greater variety of cultural activities can be provided to the people of those communities.”Aldrich also sees huge potential in the report’s recommendation #8 that Vermont’s state economists “Track and Report the Impact of the State’s Creative Economy.” “For years, those of us in the arts, humanities, and preservation fields, have seen the impact of our work on community development. Now we have an independent and authoritative voice advocating that this sector deserves public research and investment,” said Aldrich.The Vermont Arts Council was founded in 1964 with a mission to support artists and strengthen the role of the arts in the lives of people and communities. The Council fosters classical, traditional, and emerging forms of artistic expression by functioning as a community partner and a catalyst for artists and organizations. It offers professional development opportunities and technical advice, collects and disseminates arts information, and acts as the state’s foremost arts advocate. For more information about the Vermont Arts Council or its 40th Anniversary Celebration, please call (802) 828-5422 or visit www.vermontartscouncil.org(link is external).Executive SummaryThe creative economy is critical to the future competitiveness of Vermont in the global marketplace. Vermonts heritage, arts and culture are integral strengths. They are an economic sector in Vermont today; they also provide a foundation to the sense of place and creative workforce critical to innovation in other sectors, add value to the Vermont brand, and magnify the attractive power of Vermont as a location to do business. The creative economy is a hidden economic driver, one that deserves understanding, recognition, and investment.The Vermont Council on Culture and Innovation (VCCI) was convened in May 2003 by the Vermont Council on Rural Development. VCCIs charge was to evaluate the role of and challenges to the creative economy in the state and to build a practical and strategic plan for its advancement. This Action Plan is the product of that work. This report makes specific recommendations for how to grow the States creative economy as a vital and complementary part of the states economy as a whole. These recommendations encourage collaboration among Vermonts private sector, cultural organizations, and local, state, and federal government to use Vermonts cultural resources to spark and leverage community and economic development. It documents seventeen recommendations in the four areas listed below that the Governors adminis-tration,Legislature, and public and private partners are encouraged to undertake to expand innovation, enhance community life, attract and encourage entrepreneurs, build Vermonts market identity, and stimulate job growth. Support the Growth of Creative Enterprises by expanding markets, unifying promotion, enhancing the Vermont brand, producing celebratory events, building a Vermont artists and artisans market identity, and providing technical support and access to capital for culturally-based businesses and creative entrepreneurs. Promote and Document the Roles that Creativity, Culture, and Innovation Play in Vermonts Economic Future by tracking and reporting this economic sector, reinforcing arts and heritage education, and instituting a statewide public information campaign.Invest in Communities so They May Build on their Past while Adapting for a Vibrant Future by making culture and heritage priority community investments, supporting historic town and village centers, expanding cultural facilities funding, and encouraging creative entrepreneurial development in vacant industrial space. Develop Vermonts Creative Economy through Community-Based Planning and Improved Statewide Collaboration by facilitating locally designed creative economy projects, building a collaborative umbrella between statewide cultural organizations, and establishing a nonpartisan Governors Commission to provide leadership for the growth of Vermonts creative economy.:Evidence shows that public and private investment in creative enterprises yields favorable economic and social returns,producing jobs and supporting communities.:The development of the creative economy in Vermont is not limited by geography,topography,demographics,or population density.It can play a vital role in every corner of the state.:Just as Vermont was a leader in the manufacturing of things, it is now poised to be a leader in the production of ideas. Like any promising economic sector,the creative economy will need policies and incentives to support its growth.:Strengthening the creative sector will take a long-term and incremental effort.However,pressing needs must be addressed now in order to assure its future competitiveness.:Creative and stimulating communities attract and retain young people.This is a key concern in Vermont,where the loss of its youth to other regions is an historic challenge.:The emerging jobs market places a premium on creative problem solving,yet these skills are not taught consistently throughout Vermont s education system.www.kse50.com/vcci_report.pdf(link is external)last_img read more

DeVry bows to change and plans move to mall

first_imgDeVry sold the land in West Hills for $36 million in September to the real estate investment firm Multi-Employer Property Trust, according to MEPT’s Web site. Now DeVry leases 35,000 square feet at the mall, and has as neighbors The Cheesecake Factory, Pacific Theaters Galleria 16, and DSW. The school charges between $250 and $280 per credit and has three semesters spread throughout the calendar year. Its online classes allow students to read lectures and complete assignments at any time. Like the changing student population at DeVry, schools nationwide are enrolling more students in distance learning classes. Four years ago there were 1.5 million students on-line, according the Sloan Consortium, an organization committed to quality online education based at Babson College in Massachusetts. Now there are almost 3.5 million students online out of 17 million higher education students. WEST HILLS – Enrollment is strong at the DeVry University campus here, but many of its classrooms are only partly full. Over the past few years, the student population has shifted from on campus to online, diminishing the need for classroom space. In response, DeVry is leaving its 108,000-square-foot campus in West Hills next month for a smaller space in the Sherman Oaks Galleria mall. “The physical presence of students on site has shrunk,” said Iraj Borbor, who has been dean of the West Hills campus since it opened in 1999. “We found that we were not really utilizing our space efficiently.” In 2002, one in 12 students took classes online across the 84 DeVry campuses nationwide, according to the school. Now, four out of five do at DeVry, a public for-profit university based in Illinois. “We don’t see it plateauing any time soon,” said Elaine Allen, a statistics professor and researcher at the Consortium. “All we see is the trajectory going up in double digits.” About half of all public institutions offer some form of online education. Internet classes have helped the University of Phoenix become the largest institution of higher learning in the country with campuses far from its namesake. Some schools, like Capella University, do not offer any courses on campus. In the Valley, Pierce College, Los Angeles Mission College and California State University, Northridge all offer online classes. “We hear from our mid-career professionals that this is the way they want to learn,” said Marcella Tyler, spokeswoman at the Tseng College of Extended Learning at CSUN. As on-line schooling grows, concerns over the level of academic integrity persist. At the Web site elearners.com, a clearinghouse for information about online education, chat room posts address cheating. “Personally, I can see how someone with enough money and not enough time might be tempted to fall into such a trap and offer to pay another individual to take the classes for them,” writes a user called Steve. Another post, from a user called Trchaj, said he thought “online schools have the same issues as traditional schools.” Michael Heberling, president of the Center for Graduate Studies at Baker College in Michigan, would agree. Heberling researched the issue for his paper, “Maintaining Academic Integrity in Online Education,” which was published in the spring 2002 edition of the Online Journal of Distance Learning. “Sure it’s easier to cheat online, but it’s also much easier to detect than in a traditional class,” Heberling said. Teachers are more familiar with students’ writing style because pupils submit written questions and comments, instead of asking them aloud. This familiarity makes it easier for instructors to recognize fraudulent work, he said. Having electronic copies of papers also makes it easier for teachers to compare large sections of text to essays purchased online. Web sites like turnitin.com and plagiserve.com allow teachers to “search in reverse.” Tina Peters, who teaches an on-line class at DeVry and researches user experiences for the school, attacked another myth about distance learning. “I think the conception with taking a class online is that’s is easy,” she said. “But a lot of students are surprised by the rigor.” julia.scott@dailynews.com (818) 713-3735 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more