Two Maine Communities Receive $50,000 Creative Community Development Grants
- January 30, 2013
Augusta, ME – The Maine Arts Commission announced today that community representatives from the High Peaks Region of Western Maine and Presque Isle will receive grants of $50,000 in order to effect community revitalization in their region.
The grants, designed to support dialogue and partnership between municipalities, business and the cultural sector regarding economic development, have been awarded through the Maine Arts Commission’s Creative Communities = Economic Development Grant (CCED).
A panel of experts, consisting of representatives from various grant foundations and economic development agencies, met to consider applications from communities all across Maine. After long and careful deliberations they chose to award the grants to the High Peak Region and Presque Isle. The panel noted a considerable amount of strengths in the applications from these two successful regions.
The High Peaks application demonstrated a high level of regional collaboration that is aligned with educational and natural resources initiatives. The panel felt that this application demonstrated a dispersed model that could be a guide for other rural regions, both in Maine and nationally. Panel members also felt that the High Peaks Region was clearly at a point in their cultural revitalization planning where this funding would be transformational.
The region proposed a cohesive plan that included the creation of a cultural council to oversee the rebranding of the region as a mountain arts destination. This rebranding effort is comprehensive and includes key steps, such as the hiring of a part-time coordinator, the creation of a regional website, the development of a marketing plan, and the production of a cultural asset map.
Senator Tom Saviello demonstrated his enthusiasm for the region’s success by stating, “I am so proud of the group that put this application together. Thanks to the ‘team’ effort this awarded grant will allow the talent and towns found in the High Peaks Region of Western Maine to showcase their work, and the history of their towns.”
An equal amount of enthusiasm was shown by members of the Presque Isle community. The application, which evidenced a clear understanding of arts and culture as economic development tool, proposed an exciting, visible project with a good mix of focused activities.
Wintergreen Arts Center and the University of Maine at Presque Isle proposed to use the funds to develop the second and third floors of 149 State Street into a downtown gallery, bringing together the two institutions and the entire building to create a Cultural Campus. The Cultural Campus will create a location of excellence that attracts leaders to the Presque Isle community, integrating the university into the downtown district and becoming an avenue for student engagement and community development.
Martin Puckett, Deputy City Manager, City of Presque Isle, typified the regional support by stating, “The City of Presque Isle is very excited about this project! Not only will it increase the vitality and liveliness of the downtown and riverfront of Presque Isle, it aligns our common goal of establishing Presque Isle as the cultural center for the area. While the City has taken many steps to revitalize the downtown area (including offering financial incentives, promoting pedestrian traffic, addressing truck congestion, and protecting the historical character with progressive zoning), this grant will fit as a major keystone towards a vivacious community. This project builds upon the many recent successes in our creative community and, as proven in many other examples of establishing a cultural art center in the downtown, not only will this increase the artistic experiences in the area, it will also serve as an economic stimulus.”
Two CCED Grants are delivered annually to two or more nonprofit cultural organizations within a geographic community or region. Applications are sought from communities/regions with a strong commitment to cross-sector collaboration that seeks to strengthen the cultural assets of their community.
The Maine Arts Commission is currently seeking letters of interest for this year’s CCED Grant application process. The deadline is February 22. Full details of this and other grant programs and services that serve Maine’s communities can be found on the web pages of MaineArts.com.
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