Maine International Conference on the Arts, USM, Portland September 2018

  • September 10, 2018

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Maine International Conference on the Arts, USM, Portland September 2018

Inspiration, Networking, Learning & Arts Experiences Sept 27-28 at USM Portland

AUGUSTA, MAINE—The Maine Arts Commission proudly presents its third biennial Maine International Conference on the Arts (MICA) September 27-28 at the University of Southern Maine in Portland’s Abromson Community Education Center. In partnership with ArtsEngageME, the Commission’s support organization, this dynamic, activity-filled conference will focus on inspiring professional development for Maine artists, arts organizations, arts educators, community developers, and policymakers.

“We are excited to bring Maine’s vibrant arts sector together to share ideas and make connections,” said Julie Richard, Executive Director of the Maine Arts Commission. “The value of the Maine International Conference on the Arts is that it creates an opportunity for artists and administrators throughout the state to learn from experts and each other as they share stories and strategies.”

Kicking off the conference Thursday evening, September 27, will be keynote speaker Maryo Gard Ewell. As the Director of Community Impact for the Community Foundation of Gunnison Valley, CO, Maryo’s speech will explore “Rural Community Development In & Through the Arts.” Maryo’s specialty is community development and the arts - the linking of the arts to the expansion of civic enhancement. She designed the Neighborhood Cultures of Denver and the Arts Education Equity Network, teaming arts education advocates with community development advocates; and a regionalized folk arts program.

Additionally, Matt Lehrman, (of the acclaimed workshop, "Opportunity Everywhere,") will bring his new nationally renowned 2-part sessions to MICA to spark thinking on artistically ambitious strategies for arts organizations, audience engagement and achieving financially successful goals.

The MICA conference includes two concurrent pre-conferences, an Idea Labfeaturing five Maine artists, a dozen pop-upperformances by a full range of Maine performers, 20 breakout sessions, the inaugural Maine Arts Awards celebration, and a gathering of Maine Craft Apprenticeships, all make for a thrilling, action-packed, art-filled 30 hours in Maine’s largest urban area.

Breakout sessions will be offered in five tracks that support the Art Commission’s priorities as outlined in its Cultural Plan, “Fortifying Maine’s Creativity and Culture.” Each of the five tracks--Leveraging Investment, Increasing Visibility, Fostering Arts Education/Lifelong Learning, Encouraging Cultural Tourism, and Building Capacity--will include hands on, nuts and bolts professional development sessions such as: Developing Maine's Cultural Brand, Data + Stories, Activating Your Site for the New Cultural Tourist, Using Technology To Document & Promote Your Work, Maker Spaces: New Business Models, as well as networking opportunities and more.

The two pre-conference sessions on September 27 will feature discussions on Rural Arts Development and a special session for Arts Educators, headlined by the 2018 Maine State Teacher of the Year, Kaitlin Young.

Young willprovide an engaging keynote and guide participants in creating action steps for educators and their work in schools and/or communities. The Arts Education pre-conference will start and conclude with creative art and music making. The Rural Arts Development pre-conference will provide hands-on advice and a space to have conversations that are unique to artists and arts organizations functioning in our rural environment here in Maine. The cost of each pre-conference is $50 dollars, which includes the Thursday night reception and keynote speech.

Pop-up performances will highlight Maine’s diverse talent, including Midcoast Maine Music Academy; Burundi Drummers, Kafari + Jake Hoffman; Celebration Barn; Golden Oak; dancer Sara Juli; Portland Piano Trio; and Oratorio Chorale.

Bios of Speakers & Presenters

Maryo Ewell provides a wide array of services to the non-profit world - and especially to the community arts world. She is Director of Community Impact for the Community Foundation of the Gunnison Valley; prior to that, she was the founder and manager of Colorado Creative Industries’ Creative Districts program. She was Associate Director at the Colorado Council on the Arts from 1982-2003, and her areas of emphasis included community arts development, folk arts program development/supervising the state’s five folklorists, designing/managing a technical assistance program, arts education, and oversight of all programs in Western Colorado. She has managed projects for such clients as the Arts Extension Service, conducted research for the Wisconsin Arts Board, evaluated programs for the Idaho Commission on the Arts and the Missouri Alliance for Arts Education, and more. Maryo’s specialty is community development and the arts - the linking of the arts to the furthering of broader community ends. For the CCA, for instance, she designed the Neighborhood Cultures of Denver, in which artists were paired with community organizations in low-income areas of Denver; the Arts Education Equity Network, teaming arts education advocates with community development advocates; and a regionalized folk arts program. Maryo currently teachescommunity arts development in the MA program in Arts Administration at Goucher College; grantwriting for Western State Colorado University, and the online grantwriting class for the Arts Extension Service/University of Massachusetts.

Other guest speakers and presenters include:

Diane Mataraza will be leading the workshop ”Why Strategic Planning is More Important Today Than Ever.” Diane will help artists and arts & cultural organizations navigate change crucial to their relevance, value, and success in their communities. Drawing on her experience as a music educator, arts council director, statewide arts service organization director, arts lobbyist, program director at the NEA, and Grammy Foundation director, Mataraza Consulting helps artists and organizations thrive. Diane has worked for nearly 2 decades assisting more than 150 clients in communities both large and small across the country in building strong, sustainable offerings. Of great pride is assistance with both Maine’s Cultural Plan and its Arts Education Census.

Jan Newcomb, who will be discussing the “Role of the Arts in Communities in Crisis.”

Prior to becoming Director of the National Coalition of Arts’ Preparedness & Emergency Response, Jan directed eight arts organizations including Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Charleston Symphony Orchestra, four arts councils and a community arts center. Jan served as Director of Grants at the SC Arts Commission, taught dance at SUNY Buffalo and USC (Columbia) and arts policy at the College of Charleston. Jan developed an arts management program at Medaille College (Buffalo) as a designer and director. She holds a MA in Leadership in the Arts & Entertainment Industries Program at NYIT in NYC. She holds a BA in Music, Hood College; MA in Dance, GWU.

Dr. Zannie Voss, who will be leading the workshop “Five Steps to Healthier Working Capital,” is Director of the National Center for Arts Research and Professor of Arts Management in SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts and Cox School of Business.  Prior to SMU, she was a Professor at Duke University and Producing Director of Theater Previews at Duke, a professional theater company dedicated to the co-production of new works. Zannie has consulted on projects for the Irvine Foundation, the League of American Orchestras, Theatre Development Fund and Theatre Communications Group, co-authoring TCG’s Theatre Facts since 1998. She has published over a dozen articles in top academic and practitioner journals.

Joanna Reiner Wilkinsonwill be leading a discussion on Data + Stories. Wilkinson is theDataArts, Senior Financial & Education Associate. With the Education team, she leads workshops and creates educational materials, specializing in illuminating the mysteries that surround nonprofit financial concepts and statements.  Previously, Joanna worked for a Philadelphia-area nonprofit accounting firm, leading research and training efforts, and participating in consulting projects such as the creation of the Cultural Data Project in 2001.  An educator by avocation, Joanna is a nationally recognized English country dance instructor, and a staunch advocate for participatory arts.  She holds a BA in the Growth and Structure of Cities from Bryn Mawr College.

To see full presenter, workshop, and schedule details, and registration and pricing info for the MICA 2018 please go to This conference is sponsored in part by Boston Brands of Maine, Maine Community Foundation, Eaton-Peabody, and the University of Southern Maine. To learn more about the Maine Arts Commission’s current and future programs please go to You can also join us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @MaineArts.

Video highlights of the 2016 MICA Conference


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Ryan Leighton

193 State Street
SHS 25
Augusta  ME  04333