Vermont’s ‘Art of Action’ Is Set To Come Alive In The Nation’s Capital

(MONDAY, April 5) – About 50 artworks crafted for an exhibit titled “Art of Action: Shaping Vermont’s Future Through Art,” will travel to Washington, D.C., next week where they will be on display from April 12 to 16, just steps away from the U.S. Capitol.  Several of the artists will be on hand Tuesday, April 13, to meet with Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), who is hosting the display in the Russell Senate Office Building.

The Vermont Arts Council, in collaboration with Lyman Orton and Janice Izzi, commissioned the Art of Action project after the Council on the Future of Vermont worked with thousands of Vermonters to identify issues that will help shape Vermont’s future.  More than 300 applicants from 26 states and 3 foreign countries applied, and ultimately ten artists were awarded commissions in February 2009, and the artwork began a tour around Vermont last August.  The artwork is intended to help inspire Vermonters to pursue their vision for the state's future social, cultural and political landscape.

Leahy said, “The Art of Action project reminds us that artists are catalysts in our communities.  Vermonters have long understood and appreciated artists’ roles in churning vitality and vision into their work and into our lives.  They help weave the fabric of our communities and they help us envision our future.”

Leahy has long been a strong supporter of the arts and humanities, and he proudly points out that the Vermont Arts Council is housed in his childhood home in Montpelier.  As a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, Leahy continues to champion budget support for the National Endowment for the Arts, and he has authored legislation that would allow artists to claim a fair-market-value tax deduction when donating their work for the public to enjoy.  As chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Leahy also leads on copyright and intellectual property issues important to artists. 

According to research compiled by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in a report, Artists In The Workforce, Vermont ranks first in the nation as home to the highest proportion of authors and writers, and second in the country in the state’s proportion of fine artists, art directors and animators.  These artists and arts organizations have integrated strong arts education programs into Vermont’s schools, worked closely with communities to update historic facilities in the state’s unique downtowns, and continue to contribute to Vermont’s economic and social landscape.  Leahy noted that the NEA and the organizations it supports, like the Vermont Arts Council, play vital roles in ensuring continued access to the arts for all citizens, and particularly for those living in rural states like Vermont. 

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