Revitalizing Waterbury news: Artsfest poster art, community grants, Main Street honors
An illustration of the Waterbury Reservoir by Todd Cummings of Forest City Designs in Huntington is the winning entry that will be featured on a commemorative poster for Waterbury Arts Fest 2023. This is the first time Revitalizing Waterbury will have a poster for the event and copies will be sold as a fundraiser.
The organization solicited submissions from Vermont artists to design the poster and it received 18 entries, according to Karen Nevin, RW executive director. “Todd’s beautiful rendering of the Waterbury Reservoir, an iconic and beloved place in the Town of Waterbury, was a clear favorite,” she said.
As part of the poster-design contest, Cummings also will have a booth at Waterbury Arts Fest and will sign posters for sale.
Cummings is an artist, photographer, graphic designer, and native Vermonter who loves the outdoors which inspires his work. “My process begins with a specific destination or memory of an outdoor place that I love and know others have a fondness for as well,” Cummings said.
He explained his creative process saying that he composes each piece with authentic detail, photographing multiple views until he is satisfied with the composition. He then simplifies his renderings, reducing landscape details in favor of graphically bold fields of color and strong silhouettes. The reservoir image is an example of this technique.
“I am thrilled to have won this competition and to have my image of the Waterbury Reservoir featured on the Arts Fest Commemorative Poster,” he said.
Posters will be sold for $20 (unsigned) or $25 (signed) during the Waterbury Arts Fest and at the RW offices. All funds raised will support the work of Revitalizing Waterbury.
Waterbury Art Fest will be held Friday-Saturday, July 14-15, with the Friday Night Block Party featuring live music and food vendors and the all-day Saturday Arts Market with live entertainment, food vendors and more than 100 art exhibitors. The event is RW’s largest annual fundraiser.
The Revitalizing Waterbury Board of Directors has chosen five community organizations to receive sponsorship grants for events or projects. The grant program supports community organizations with plans to conduct events and carry out projects that align with RW’s mission.
“Our hope is that these organizations and their projects will connect people with each other in meaningful ways and promote Waterbury as a destination for visitors,” Nevin said. “We received many outstanding applications for funding and we are excited about all the fabulous projects and events happening in our town.”
The five grants combined total $1,500 and are awarded to:
MOXIE Productions for its Wednesdays@7 program that will offer dynamic, entertaining and thoughtful evenings of dramatic writing.
Four Winds nature education program at Brookside Primary School to help purchase supplies for activities in the fall.
TURNMusic to support the popular summer Music In the Alley concerts.
Ballet Vermont’s Gentle Ballet classes designed for participants ages 60 and older to make tuition affordable for all.
The Children’s Room’s plans for a lantern-making workshop for Waterbury’s youngest residents to create lanterns for his year’s River of Light Lantern Parade in December
RW commended the recipients and applicants for their creativity and initiative. “It is because of their hard work, we have a dynamic and vital community with exciting activities and projects happening year-round,” the organization said in announcing the awards.
RW receives Main Street USA accreditation
Revitalizing Waterbury recently received word that it has been designated as an Accredited Main Street America program after meeting specific qualifying criteria.
Each year, the national organization Main Street America and its partners announce a list of accredited programs that it recognizes for commitment to preservation-based economic development and community revitalization.
This year, 862 programs across the country were recognized for their “steadfast dedication to nurture economically and culturally vibrant downtown districts,” according to Hannah White, the organization’s interim president and chief executive officer. “The increase in the size and impact of our network speaks volumes to the power of the Main Street movement to respond to the needs of local communities and drive innovative solutions,” White said in the announcement.
The organization compiles statistics from its members to illustrate their collective economic impact. In announcing the 2023 organizations getting accreditation, it noted that in 2022, Main Street America programs:
Generated $6.2 billion in local reinvestment
Helped open 7,657 net new businesses
Facilitated the creation of 29,174 net new jobs
Participated in the rehabilitation of 10,688 historic buildings
Leveraged 1,528,535 volunteer hours.
Main Street America figures that on average, every dollar one of its programs spends on operations generates $24 of new investment back into their respective downtown communities where a collective estimated 2 million people live or work.
Waterbury is one of three districts announced this year for Vermont along with Montpelier and Brattleboro, the first for the state. Nevin said it is an honor to be among the first organizations in Vermont to receive the accreditation.
“This recognition reinforces the valuable work we do, such as publishing the Discover Waterbury Guide and decorating the downtown with beautiful lit garlands for the holidays. I’m particularly pleased about the work we are doing with other community organizations to reclaim the Stowe Street Alley, making it a welcoming place for everybody,” she noted.
Revitalizing Waterbury’s performance is annually evaluated by the Vermont Designated Downtown Program, which works in partnership with Main Street America to identify the local programs that meet the national performance standards it uses for accreditation. To qualify, community organizations are evaluated for their commitment to building grassroots revitalization programs, fostering strong public-private partnerships, nurturing economic opportunity for small businesses and entrepreneurs, and actively preserving historic places, spaces, and cultural assets.
Through its small paid staff, volunteers and board of directors, RW mobilizes knowledge and expertise in the community to champion the business sector, promote tourism, and support a variety of organizations. Recent efforts have included supporting local businesses and residents during the reconstruction of Main Street and navigating the COVID-19 pandemic.
The nonprofit community development organization Revitalizing Waterbury works to preserve, promote and enhance the economic, social and historic vitality of Waterbury. More online at revitalizingwaterbury.org.