MONTPELIER – The Capital City has been selected to host a major New England regional arts conference next summer.  Montpelier Alive announced Wednesday that the New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA) would hold its biannual Creative Communities Exchange (CCX) June 6 and 7, 2019. Montpelier was selected in a competitive application process to host the event that will bring nearly 300 leaders to the city to discuss the interplay between the creative economy, community and economic development.   “We are thrilled to be selected to host the CCX in 2019 in Montpelier,” said Dan Groberg, executive director of Montpelier Alive. “Montpelier is truly emerging as the creative capital. Hosting CCX is a reflection of the tremendous creative energy in our city that lends innovation and vitality to Montpelier.”   Groberg said the successful pitch to host the conference was a collaborative effort by numerous arts and education institutions, including the Center for Arts Learning, T.W. Wood Gallery, Local 64, the Vermont Historical Society, Lost Nation Theater, the Art Resource Association, Vermont College of Fine Arts and Goddard College. The Vermont Arts Council was also involved in an advisory capacity only because it's a statewide organization and cannot advocate for one community over another, Groberg said.  "But now that Montpelier has been chosen, I expect they will be involved," Groberg said.  Karen Mittelman, executive director of the Vermont Arts Council, said she was excited to hear Montpelier had been selected for the conference.  "We are absolutely thrilled that they chose Montpelier for the CCX in 2019 and it's a great opportunity to shine a light on the vitality and creative economy across Vermont, not just here in Montpelier," Mittelman said. "We know that Vermont has something exceptional going on when it comes to the power of the creative economy. CCX is going to give us an opportunity to share that story with 300 creative thinkers from across New England, so it's a terrific opportunity." Montpelier Mayor Anne Watson also welcomed the news of Montpelier's selection for the conference.  “The creative economy plays an important role in Montpelier and we are very excited for the opportunity to showcase our city,” Watson said.    The conference event will bring a variety of stakeholders together to work on arts-based community development, networking, peer learning and building creative economies around the arts.  Every two years, NEFA holds a CXX conference in a different New England community. Montpelier will be the sixth conference held in the region. Previous events have been held in Providence, Rhode Island, the Berkshires in Massachusetts, Portland, Maine, Keene, New Hampshire, and New London, Connecticut.  “We are very excited to bring the CCX to Montpelier, a unique community where government is accessible, advocacy is immediate and creativity is being integrated into policy and daily life,” said Dee Schneidman, program director of research and creative economy for NEFA. “This capital city will inspire CCX participants to engage in spirited civic dialogue about the past, present and future of the creative sector and its inclusion in community development and identity.”  NEFA serves as a regional partner for the National Endowment for the Arts, New England’s state arts agencies and private foundations. Learn more at www.nefa.org.  stephen.mills@timesargus.com 

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