Photos by Joey Lord.
A group of artists and community arts leaders have organized to improve how the City of Burlington supports the arts. They’re asking that Burlington’s public arts funding be used to create resources that are useful to artists of all kinds, from visual artists to dance, theater, music, writers, and art forms that might not be so easily definable.
A central theme to their concern is that Burlington has matured as a city to the point where it has many community members who are deeply experienced in arts and arts organization and who would like to play a role in governing how arts resources are managed in the city. By playing a role in budgeting, mission and policy development, and city planning that includes the arts, they’ll be ensuring that arts are represented fairly and thoroughly. This would address a shortcoming in local arts governance, bringing the community together to better itself and make ready for an inclusive future.
An online petition to create a city arts commission of citizens who would play a meaningful role in guiding how arts funding is spent, reporting to the city council like the commissions of other city departments do, gathered more than 250 signatures within three days this week. See http://www.change.org/p/mayor-miro-weinberger-make-city-arts-supports-in-burlington-fair-and-inclusive
James Lockridge, Executive Director of Big Heavy World, says “Burlington is fortunate to have so many people willing to recognize how they can contribute to making our city better, and being willing to make the effort to do so. Changing city government to accomplish a positive, permanent improvement that embodies community values and engages our brilliant arts community in public services demonstrates the joy and purpose of all arts. We’re a can-do community that recognizes our own potential and aspires to achieve it.” Big Heavy World is a Burlington-based volunteer-run nonprofit organization with a mission of preserving and promoting Vermont-made music.
Members of this expanding group of arts advocates met with Mayor Weinberger in March and spoke during public forum at the city council’s Parks, Arts & Culture Committee on October 15. The draft version of those meeting minutes is available at http://www.burlingtonvt.gov/sites/default/files/Agendas/SupportingDocuments/20141015%20PACC%20Minutes%20DRAFT.pdf.
For more information contact James Lockridge, email@example.com, (802) 373-2890.
“Whatsup everybody, my name is Wes Silver. I’m a New England native who’s been living in Burlington, Vermont for the past few years now. Currently I’m finishing up my business degree at Champlain College, but more interestingly I recently joined the crew at Big Heavy World! Here, I’ll be putting my skills to use, and mainly helping out with the organizational development of the company. Music has always been a huge influence in my life, and so I wanted to help push the scene further by taking advantage of such an awesome opportunity. That being said, I’m stoked to be part of such an inclusive group of like-minded people, and our purposeful efforts are bound to show the world what the Vermont music scene is all about.”
Two organizations have partnered to expand cultural programming in Burlington with support from the Vermont Community Foundation (VCF). Big Heavy World, an educational nonprofit dedicated to preserving and promoting Vermont-made music, and 242 Main, an all-ages music venue operated by the City of Burlington Parks, Recreation, & Waterfront Department, received a VCF Small and Inspiring grant program award of $2,000.00.
The organizations are collaborating to produce live musical events that provide an opportunity for teens to learn about concert production and marketing, radio broadcasts journalism, and live concert photography. Big Heavy World has engaged young adults in music programs for 18 years. 242 Main has been presenting live music for all-age audiences for thirty years. The public/private partnership has comprehensive experience with engaging youth with their community via arts programming.
Through this partnership teens will be preserving their cultural history; exposing bands in a way that helps them be successful as Vermont artists; they’ll be gaining skills that boost their confidence and give them better futures; and the VCF-funded program will represent the power of collaboration to benefit young participants and older community members. The journalism that’s produced – audio, video, writing, photography – will become a historic record that is important to future generations of Vermonters.
James Lockridge, Executive Director of Big Heavy World, says, “It’s rare for teens to have cultural resources that are authentic to their interests. This partnership opens up a world of fun, learning, and empowerment via music – an especially compelling outlet for young people.”
Jen Cotton, Site Coordinator, Burlington Parks, Recreation & Waterfront Department, says, “Through this partnership, we are able to offer two special shows, at 242 Main, for the Greater Burlington community. It’s an exciting opportunity that we are very grateful for. We (242 Main) look forward to continued partnerships with diverse, mission driven organizations in our region, to help support the arts and education.”
For more information, contact:
James Lockridge, Big Heavy World, firstname.lastname@example.org, (802) 865-1140
Jen Cotton, Burlington Parks, Recreation & Waterfront Dept., email@example.com, (802) 864-0123
About Big Heavy World: Big Heavy World engages young adults with their communities through activities that support and preserve Vermont’s original music. Founded in 1996, it is a community supported and volunteer-run nonprofit organization. Big Heavy World was established to preserve the historical record of music originating in Vermont; to create economic opportunity for Vermont’s musicians and the industries vital to them; to develop community among Vermont musicians and their patrons; and to accomplish this mission in a substance-free environment that empowers and educates youth. Seewww.bigheavyworld.com
About 242 Main: 242 Main, a program of Burlington’s Parks, Recreation & Waterfront Department, provides a safe space for all ages, where people can come together with others that may share an interest in music, community service, activism and the arts. It provides positive social and cultural experiences, including all-ages live music events and educational programs. In 2014, 242 Main is celebrating its 30th anniversary. Seewww.enjoyburlington.com
About the Vermont Community Foundation: The VCF is a family of hundreds of funds and foundations established by Vermonters to serve their charitable goals. It provides the advice, investment vehicles, and back-office experience to make giving easy and effective. The Foundation also provides leadership in giving by responding to community needs, mobilizing and connecting philanthropists to multiply their impact, and by keeping Vermont’s nonprofit sector vital with grants and other investments in the community. Visitwww.vermontcf.org or call (802) 388-3355 for more information.
“Yo what’s up?! I’m Joey Lord and I’m from New Hampshire but lately I’ve been living in Burlington and studying photography at Burlington College. My studies have lead me to The Bahamas, China, Cuba, and Tibet in search of new cultures and wonderful memories. I’m not sure what I’m doing with my life when I graduate in December but hopefully it involves going to New Orleans for a small period of time. Being part of Big Heavy has been an amazing time, it’s refreshing seeing how passionate people are about the arts in our area.”
“Hi, I’m Bob. I’ve been working on the web site since showing up at a Code for BTV event in the spring. I like helping Big Heavy promote all kinds of music made by all sorts of people right here in Vermont, plus we always have fun on crew nights. When I’m not pounding on the keyboard I might be out taking pictures, riding my bike, cross country skiing or just trying to keep up with my kids and the dog. (PS. why am I always wearing the same shirt when Jim starts taking pictures?)”
Erik Hoppy AKA Korbin Music joined Bolton on Rocket Shop tonight.
“Hello! My name is Willy and I am the new Assistant Music Director for Big Heavy World. I like to listen to music of all genres and spend most of my time watching anime and playing videogames. I also enjoy watching educational videos on YouTube, which I would highly recommend to anyone who doesn’t like to learn, because you have just been doing it wrong! I became the assistant music director here because I have always been into music and want to help support the local music scene, as well as help organize the radio station.”
Big Heavy World’s local music radio hour, ‘Rocket Shop,’ seeks a new host. Bolton has been filling in since Jackson moved on but a permanent host is needed asap because the commute from Bristol is a killer. Anyone with supporting local music in their heart, a genuine interest in unique, creative people, and a journalist’s spirit, please get in touch. Rocket Shop is Wednesday nights, 8-9pm, and typically has two musicians or bands scheduled during each show.