Arts Commission Promotes Changes to Improve Effectiveness

  • March 30, 2017

Arts Commission Promotes Changes to Improve Effectiveness

AUGUSTA, ME, March 29, 2017—The Maine Arts Commission, continuing to pursue the goals of its five-year Cultural Plan, Fortifying Maine’s Creativity and Culture 2015-2020, has proposed another statute change for this legislative session.

The bill, L.D. 996, “An Act To Maintain the Current Number of Appointees to the Maine Arts Commission,” seeks to bring the structure of the Commission into line with state arts commissions nationally; as well as to increase the agency’s ability to conduct its business, including grant-making and other program decisions essential to artists, arts educators, and communities. This bill reduces the number of members of the Maine Arts Commission from a maximum of 21 to a maximum of 15.

“One of the five primary goals of our cultural plan is to improve and sustain the agency’s capacity to work on behalf of the arts in Maine,” said Julie Richard, Executive Director at the Maine Arts Commission. “According to the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, the average size of state arts commissions and/or boards is 15. We want our Arts Commission to be rated amongst the most effective nationally.”

The political process of vetting and approving potential members of the state’s many Commissions is handled by the Governor’s Office Department of Boards and Commissions. According to its website, “The governor appoints over two thousand Maine citizens to serve on over three hundred boards and commissions.” The process can often take months before it is complete and the final decisions and appointments are made by the governor. For more information on this process, please go to

During the previous legislative session, the Commission proposed and received approval for a statute change allowing it to hold an endowment outside of the state treasury. This change, paving the way for the creation of the agency’s new 501(C)3 support organization, ArtsEngageME, also improved the agency’s capacity to match planned growth and brought the Commission into line with its peers nationwide.

The Commission’s five-year cultural plan, adopted in 2015, and information regarding funding programs and services are available at You can register at the website to add artist and community organization directory listings and events; to review grant program guidelines and open applications; to receive the Commission’s monthly e-newsletters, containing information about grant and other opportunities and awards; and to follow the Commission on social media @MaineArts #MaineArts.



The Maine Arts Commission supports artists, art organizations, educators, policy makers, and community developers in advancing the arts in Maine. For more than 50 years the Commission has encouraged and stimulated public interest and participation in the cultural heritage and cultural programs of our state; has worked to expand the state's cultural resources; and encouraged and assisted freedom of artistic expression for the well-being of the arts, to meet the needs and aspirations of persons in all parts of the state. Additional information is available at




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Linda Nelson

193 State St.
25 State House Station
Augusta  ME  04333