Since the 2010 launch of the Maine-New Brunswick Cultural Initiative, the Maine Arts Commission has worked to foster its goals of increasing cross-border business, cultural tourism and cultural exchange. Notably, in the support of the initiative’s Cultural Exchange Task Force, which consists of arts professionals from both sides of the U.S.-Canada border. The task force group has undertaken artist residences, exhibitions, performance tours and convenings. This group is at the heart of keeping the initiative strong and growing. Taskforce highlights can be accessed here, as well as other New Brunswick partnerships which can be learned about here.
International discussion often focuses on issues such as transportation, infrastructure, energy, and the like. However, at a meeting in July 2010, Governor John Baldacci of Maine and Premier Shawn Graham of New Brunswick turned the conversation to arts and culture. They produced a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to explore the mutual benefits of Maine/New Brunswick cultural relations. A copy of the signed MOU can be read here.
A cross-border taskforce was assigned to study the condition of cultural exchange between Maine and New Brunswick and to find ways to encourage improvements. The taskforce focuses on five key areas for the two regions:
- Encouraging cultural business and tourism opportunities
- Enhancing cultural information exchange
- Streamlining the border-crossing process
- Collaborating in cross-border cultural projects
- Examining ways to capitalize on the lessons learned through previous cultural collaborations
A preliminary report, delivered on December 1, 2010, identified cultural collaborations that were already taking place. It also sighted many economic and social benefits that could be gained from enhanced cultural relations. This report was followed by another in 2012, another in 2014 and a 2016 report. These reports and studies can be found on this site's Publications Page.
Resources are co-developed with the New Brunswick Office of Tourism, Heritage and Culture which can found at: http://www2.gnb.ca/content/gnb/en/departments/thc/Culture/content/Maine-MOU.html