(Woodstock, VT)— The Two Rivers-Ottauquechee Regional Commission (TRORC) applied for and received a $276,000 award recently from the U.S. Economic Development Administration to establish a Creative Sector program to assist in the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.  TRORC will do that by providing opportunities for marketing creativity, investing in creative enterprises, and leveraging cross sector partnerships to amplify economic development within the East Central Vermont Economic Development District.  The Creative Sector includes jobs within visual arts and crafts, culture and heritage, literary arts and publishing, performing arts, specialty foods and culinary arts, and film and media.

“Congress has provided crucial funding to help Vermonters meet their immediate needs, as well as long-term funding that can be used to help local communities bounce back from the devastating economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Vermont has always been a leader in the arts and culture sectors, and I am delighted to hear about the project the Two Rivers-Ottauquechee Regional Commission will be working on to help their arts community while also amplifying local economic development.  I look forward to seeing the impact of this critical EDA funding award on the vibrant community of Woodstock and the broader Upper Valley,” said Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt., Chairman, Senate Appropriations Committee).

During this two-year project, TRORC will work to directly market the creative economy of the region through comprehensive branding package with tools available to local creatives. TRORC will also respond to the economic injury to the Creative Sector resulting from the pandemic by fostering economic resilience through the creation and offering of virtual development trainings. Finally, TRORC will cultivate partnerships between the creative sector and other sectors by collaborating on meetings and other events. 

TRORC has been actively working to boost the region’s creative sector since 2016 when it pioneered an economic impact study on the creative economy of region. In addition, TRORC has acted as the Zone Agent for the Cornerstone Creative Community (3CVT) Zone of the Vermont Creative Network, an initiative of the Vermont Arts Council, since 2017. This zone has the highest proportion of creative related jobs in the State of Vermont, accounting for 10.8% of all jobs, according to a recent study by Mt. Auburn Associates, Inc. Between 2010 and 2018, jobs in the creative economy in the zone grew by about 14%. Again, this rate of growth was the highest of any of the creative zones throughout the State. 

TRORC provides professional planning, mapping, facilitation, grant writing, and project management services for its thirty member towns in east-central Vermont.

For more information about this program or any other effort being conducted by TRORC, contact Kimberly Gilbert at 457-3188 or via email at [email protected].