Skip to main content

Better Places Crowdfunding campaign launched for “#Getdowntown in St. J”

May 12, 2022

Media Contacts

Shannon Konvicka, Communications Director
Department of Housing and Community Development

Richard Amore, Better Places Program Manager
Department of Housing and Community Development 

Gillian Sewake, Director
Discover St. Johnsbury

Better Places Crowdfunding campaign launched for
“#Getdowntown in St. J”

The campaign seeks $4,000 to receive a 2:1 matching grant through the Better Places program

St. Johnsbury – Residents and visitors to St. Johnsbury will soon be able to enjoy free #Getdowntown in St. J performance events thanks to a recently launched crowdfunding campaign. The funds raised will support the creation of three ‘St. J Final Fridays’ events on June 24, July 29, and August 26 on Railroad Street in downtown St. Johnsbury, as well as an all new performance series with local musicians performing downtown each Saturday afternoon until Labor Day.

The campaign is sponsored by the Vermont Department of Housing and Community Development’s Better Places program and led by Discover St. Johnsbury, in partnership with Catamount Arts and the Town of St. Johnsbury.

“Community supported events like #Getdownton in St. J help revitalize public places to build new economic opportunities for residents and visitors,” said Department of Housing and Community Development Commissioner Josh Hanford “We’re proud to support community-driven placemaking efforts that add vibrancy, social life, and pride to Vermont’s communities.”

If the campaign reaches its $4,000 goal by June 12, 2022 the “#Getdowntown in St. J” will receive a matching grant of $8,000 from DHCD’s Better Places program. Click here for project details and to donate.

The three St. J Final Fridays performance events are an all-new take on the pandemic-era #getdowntown events, which were launched as a partnership of Discover St. Johnsbury, Catamount Arts, and the Town of St. Johnsbury in 2020.  Melding creative, municipal, and commercial interests into a fun family-friendly series, the events in 2022 will create a nightlife atmosphere to bring energy and excitement to the downtown. From 4pm - 7pm, Railroad Street will be closed to traffic and the street will be filled with live art demonstrations, family activities, a gallery walk, sidewalk sales, a beer garden, and more. At 7pm, the event will close out with a free Levitt AMP St. Johnsbury performance, produced by Catamount Arts and funded by the Levitt Foundation, right in the heart of St. Johnsbury’s downtown.

Additionally, #getdowntown activities will include a new series that brings live music from local musicians to the downtown each Saturday afternoon.

“Discover St. Johnsbury works to stimulate and promote the vibrancy of St. Johnsbury’s culture, commerce, and community. We LOVE events like this, which meld all three aspects of our mission together into one fun package.” says Gillian Sewake, Director of Discover St. Johnsbury.

Molly Stone, Artistic Director of Catamount Arts, states “The Levitt Foundation highlighted Catamount's partnership with the Town and Discover St. Johnsbury at the 2022 National Convening in Los Angeles this past April.  St. Johnsbury's 2020 and 2021 #getdowntown events serve as an example of what successful partnership among arts and municipal organizations look like. St. J Final Friday events are the third iteration of this partnership, which has been fueled by overwhelming community support. We are excited to see this momentum continue in 2022 with this Better Places crowdfunding campaign.”

Residents, businesses, and neighbors ready to support vibrant public places and local opportunities are encouraged to get involved and support this project. Learn more and donate here.


About Better Places

Better Places is a community matching grant program empowering Vermonters to create inclusive and vibrant public places serving Vermont’s designated downtowns, village centers, new town centers, or neighborhood development areas. The program is led by the Vermont Department of Housing and Community Development in partnership with the Vermont Department of Health, the Vermont Community Foundation, and Patronicity, our crowdfunding experts. The program supports community-led projects that create, revitalize, or activate community gathering areas that bring people together to build welcoming and thriving places across Vermont.

About Discover St. Johnsbury

Discover St. Johnsbury (also known as the St. Johnsbury Chamber of Commerce) stimulates and promotes the vitality of St. Johnsbury’s cultural, commercial, and community resources. The organization combines the economic and commercial goals of a chamber with the structure of a Designated Downtown organization. We are the community's tool for attracting visitors, supporting local businesses, helping attract new businesses, and creating an inclusive atmosphere to all those who call St. Johnsbury home.