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Community: Swanton on the Move

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2016-05-20

From the May 2016 newsletter of the Vermont Arts Council

The arts are alive and growing in this small Franklin County town.

In the first two months of 2015, the Vermont Council on Rural Development (VCRD) had the privilege of working with the Swanton community through the Community Visit Program. In an initial public forum, facilitated by Alex Aldrich of the Vermont Arts Council, it became clear that there was a strong desire to grow an arts presence in the town. The conversation led to the idea of creating an arts council. The founding members of the Swanton Arts Council took it from there.

Already having grown from a four-member founding board to 130 current members, the Swanton Arts Council is well positioned to achieve their mission, to "establish an artistic presence and develop the artistic community in Swanton." Since early 2015, the Council has created three public art walls that have become a point of public pride, held community events (including a youth art show), developed a large Facebook following and web presence, and has grown its recognition among local artists and businesses.

Where once there were no art events, meetings, or gatherings in Swanton, we now have multiple opportunities for arts every week," says Swanton Arts Council co-chair Judy Paxman. "Now, our biggest challenge is keeping up with all the interest in art - a great challenge to have!