Vermont's Franklin County has a workforce of 16,000 people, but just 138 people are employed in both the arts and information fields.
"A lot of the responses we're seeing from the community are people that feel like they're not creative people but they want to be, and most of them, with the isolation factor, they're just trying to find ways to have fun," Jennifer Kostuck, who works as an artist specializing in hyper-realism and mixed-media fantasy illustrations, tells the Barre-Montpelier Times Argus.
So Kostuck and Nichole Cunningham, who are both working mothers in St.
Albans City, are re-launching the city's community arts program, which had been dormant due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Art is the only thing that I know that speaks on that level that kind of bypasses all of the societal crap and reaches people without needing to reach people," Cunningham says.
"There just aren't a whole lot of venues available where the average person can flex their creative muscles, and most creative folk, especially younger ones, travel south regularly to visit Vermont's hotspot of artistic action in Burlington," she adds.
"Over time, it's created a cultural imbalance emboldened by market forces
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