Maine Arts Iditarod - Town Hall Notes

  • March 12, 2019

What is working for you? What are you doing that you are most excited about?


River Arts

Baby boomers moving to Maine offer support for the arts in arts participation, organization participation, audience attendance, and funders of the arts


MALI program (Maine Arts Leadership Initiative) offers conferences the are very useful to arts educators


Downtown revitalization through money being spent by communities in the downtowns and interest of communities to join in Maine Main Street programs


Veterans artists being included in artist calls and exhibit opportunities


Networking of the sector through MAC fieldwork and connection with others through other development opportunities


Rural arts centers are seeing more interest by their communities and are becoming more valuable resources for Maine populations


Environmental interests intersecting with the arts seems to give benefit to both sectors


Grant programs that support artists and organizations are creating quality projects throughout the state


MICA conferences use of performing artists is good for awareness of Maine performers


Community interest and support for the arts seems to be on the rise


The ‘Maine Made movement’ and Maine Made group is becoming more effective at building awareness of local products, including arts, craft, and culture products


Art in community spaces and non-traditional venues is increasing, bringing the arts to more people


More businesses understanding arts value and supporting the arts as part of developing costumer base and community


Collaborations between arts organizations is encouraging, as well as collaborations between the arts and other sectors (business, municipal, etc.)


Increase in public art through small community initiatives and formal organizations (like Tempo Arts in Portland and Kindling Fund)




Portland Dance month is in October, networking of the dance programs


Growing awareness of the arts through regular media channels and social media


Non profit affected by… The Philbrooks started a non-profit, parents and families able to invest in their career in the arts in Maine. How can Maine support parent artists?


Maine College of Art using their capacity to encourage community involvement through the arts.


Increase in arts meeting places, the Monday drop-ins at Creative Portland, and other opportunities for artist meet/network/cluster.


Art in non-traditional spaces is growing and bringing the arts to more people


Intersections with art and the community organizations are happening more in the Portland area


Willingness of artists to collaborate across mediums in placemaking projects. EG, Fort Gorges becoming a destination site partially through arts programming


Support for audiences to attend free concerts and events is making arts more accessible and visible. This has ben done through grants support


Art Day Camp are creating renewed connections and expanding opportunities for young artists. In addition, residencies programs and more community engagements is developing the sector for all creatives.


Statewide initiatives like the Space Gallery, mobile print shop (on the road this summer to go to all 16 counties) is giving voice to a greater majority of Maine citizens


Professional associations (like Maine Film Association) have grown in membership and are creating strong directories of Maine professionals.


Art and health connections keep getting stronger like making art in Alzheimer’s units.


More youth are getting involved in the arts and youth presence is expanding.


Bangor Arts Exchange is kicking butt. No longer hanging by our toenails.


Bangor/ BAE

Grassroots organizations are helping to mobilize community support.


Bangor Arts Society created an endowment for scholarships to local students and opportunities for artists to showcase and make money for their work with open juried shows. Established year round programming for independent community organizations to create arts and commerce connection.


Live theater is making a come back. New audience levels on the rise. Education outreach and recruitment in the schools creating year round programming for students in a live theatre setting creating good results. Arts organizations countywide are working closer with the schools and curriculum directors. This is also true for life long learning and creating more programming for senior citizens.


Vacant spaces turning in Bangor Mall are now turning into non-traditional performing arts spaces.


Literary arts festival in Blue Hill is collaborating with authors as well as partnerships with other organizations. Creating development workshops along with event entertainment helps draw audience.


Bangor Arts Exchange becoming a cultural hub within the city and cross sectors industries. Looking to increase visibility with Maine Science festival and bicentennial celebrations. Saying ‘yes’ and taking risks in strategic plan with collaborations cross sector and with different organizations in Bangor. The region has clicked into saying yes more frequently. Helps to break down barriers to enjoy traditional art forms for others. Collaborations can be awarding particularly if it’s outlined in the strategic plan.


Arts programming helps develop a community’s shoulder season.


Different organizations are all working together to highlight arts and performing arts, creating new event and new venues. Contextualize their brands. Showcasing certain themes to give purpose context.


Cross community intersections. Having high school productions on main stage from neighboring towns connect organizations to local stories by local people (formulated by the Moth story session).


Bangor Arts Exchange is a right-sized venue for Bangor, which has a lot of arts organizations for a city of 35,000 people. Audiences are getting a diverse splash of programming because of the flexibility of the BAE.



What are you most worried about? If you are most worried about money/funding – specifically, for what?


River Arts

Meeting accessibility challenges (physical) with aging audience population


Native artist inclusion


Artist development opportunities


Curator development opportunities


Maine 200 events, projects, and offerings not being realized due to a lack of funding support.


Housing for seasonal staff is difficult and getting more difficult due to costs


Youth engagement as both artists and audience could be better developed


Portland/ SPACE

Philanthropy is underdeveloped in Maine. Exploring ways to shift the cultural perception of being more generous in giving to the arts and arts education. Cultural philanthropy.   Creating membership programs, monthly membership fees, etc.


Philanthropy should be more culturally acceptable in New England.


Art money dies in the winter. Need ways to support arts all year round.


Need for better resources to get a new arts organization off the ground. Breaking into the existing Maine networks is difficult.


Affordable space for working and living as artists is difficult in Portland. More need of accessible urban spaces. Getting arts and culture in the conversation about real estate should be more of a priority.


Taking initiative to recruit board members who are native to the area should be done more to keep organizations vital and engaged and working towards the future.


The people with the greatest means are moving out of the state due to state tax structure.


Worries about arts as a vital part of the school curriculum. Needs to be stronger.


Keeping Arts spaces open and inclusive to and accessible is getting more difficult due to financial limitations.


Need more times and places for networking and meetings.


Bangor/ BAE

Engaging new and younger audiences. A lot of the programming tends to pander to older generations. Need to put attention on youth audience building.


Board members and event organizers are stagnating. Need to raise the visibility of the organization as an opportunity to be involved.


The barrier in participatory in Contra dance community include safety laws and insurance costs that make it hard for events. Need more rational laws so we can honor the intentions of the law; make them work for volunteer organizations.


Increased funding for travel for artists. Rural communities need ways for artists to come and go (tour), and audiences too. Encourage people make the trip. Also, professional development support for all communities.


Non-profits are struggling with providing health insurance to employees. State statues need to be re-worked to offer collaborative cost sharing health insurance. Navigating the legalities and social welfare for arts organizations would be very helpful.


Need greater coordination of schedules and aligning programming so organizations are not stealing audiences.   Competition for the existing audience is problematic.


What opportunities do you see coming up in the next five years?


River Arts

Maine 200, the Maine bicentennial celebration happening in 2019 and 2020.


Artist residencies in Maine becoming more valuable because of Maine environmental intersections.


Maine experiences of simple living, environmental value and rural communities are gaining value.


Rural arts development on the rise (nationally), and there is plenty to develop in Maine.


Engaging young artists and audiences in arts activities seems to have a lot of potential as an antipode to internet entertainment.


Engaging the service of 30 to 40 year olds in arts organizations could bring good ideas and energy.


Creative/ artistic outlets for self-care and health care could have a lot of potential.



Portland/ SPACE

Increasing work with local schools and STEAM opportunities.


Larger developments exploring what opportunities there are for creating space. A lot of new construction and redevelopment of spaces for artists in southern Maine in the next five years.


The momentum in the dance community in Maine. Artists seem to be moving to the state of Maine. Revitalization of dance sector from these young professionals.


Partnerships, investments, and developments for arts education and community initiatives.


A new governor who is more open to the range of benefits that the arts offer.


USM’s new performing arts space. Three separate building projects still determining what will happen. Center for the Arts will have 1,000 seats built.


Lots of Arts Festivals and anniversaries coinciding with bicentennial. Looking to leverage more cultural tourism. Audiences are keeping stable, and starting to branch out beyond Greater Portland into rest of Maine.


Bangor/ BAE

The revival of arts festivals in the community.


Leaders of organizations forming stronger networks. If you want the community to support your organization, the organizations have to support each other.


Having a new governor creates new opportunities.


Opportunities to talk about equity, inclusion.


Increased discussions about urban versus rural, developing opportunities.


Environment/ green initiatives.




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Ryan Leighton

193 State Street
SHS 25
Augusta  ME  04333