Authors: Judy Paxman with Intro from Faith DuBois

Judy Paxman, Executive Director of the Swanton Arts Council (SAC) in Swanton, Vermont, is known for her creativity and vision in examining situations and topics through her own unique lens. It’s no wonder, then, that she was able to come up with a very successful method of combining art and movement through a mini grant from RiseVT FGI this past summer. Paxman and other members of the SAC manned a booth at the wildly successful Swanton Arts Spectacular, held on the Village Green on August 25th. There they educated attendees about the nearby Town of Swanton Fit and Healthy Recreation Path while handing out glow lights to bikers. The marriage of sparkle, shine, movement and bike safety was well received. Paxman shares her experience below:

“I’m so excited about the way that the RiseVT mini grant worked out. We had initially hoped to have a nighttime ride on the Swanton Recreation Path but safety concerns cancelled our plans. We were very sad until we were given permission by Rise VT to use the funding to pass out bike lights at the Swanton Arts Spectacular. What resulted was even better than any ride we could have envisioned….

We used our RiseVT Mini Grant funds to share information about the Swanton Recreation Path and to pass out free lights to bikers. Our booth was colorful and had buckets filled with a variety of bike lights. There was information on the Swanton Recreation Path and a list of questions.

The day of the Spectacular was beautiful and as the hundreds of attendees walked by we asked people if they were bike riders – and if they were, would they like some FREE bike swag? They just had to answer a question. The questions were simple and designed to be informative and fun. We had lots of laughs and everyone was so excited to get the free lights.  People were coached to get the answers right and everyone was a winner. We had lovely conversations about bike riding, the recreation path, and bike safety. Everyone was told that the giveaway was made possible by Rise Vermont.

The majority of lights purchased were sets of flashing lights that go in the air valve of bike tires to make the tires glow when the bike is in motion.  These were incredibly popular to young riders. (Lights were purchased from FlashingBlinkyLights.com). Extra lights that were donated from last year’s Glow Ride were also distributed. In total we had over 225 lights/ light sets that we passed out – and many more bikers were positively impacted than would have been at a Glow Ride.

There were a few remaining lights left and they were later given to people who have been identified as bike owners who were not at the event.  We also gave out bike lights to several people who had motorized carts that didn’t have lights on them. Some of the lights were able to be used as either clip-on or as bike-mounted; those were handed out to walkers and runners if they expressed a need.”