Community Arts Leaders Launch Effort to Expand City Support for Arts

Art by capes1. Photo by James Lockridge.

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

[wolf_button url="" color="yellow" type="flat" size="small"]Sign the Arts Fairness Petition[/wolf_button]

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

For more information contact James Lockridge,, (802) 373-2890.