Two Maine Communities Receive $50,000 Creative Community Development Grants | Business

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Two Maine Communities Receive $50,000 Creative Community Development Grants
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The Maine Arts Commission announced today that two communities in Maine 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, are the first to be awarded through the Maine Arts Commission’s new Creative Communities = Economic Development Grant (CCED). The grants have been delivered to consortiums of arts organizations in Biddeford and Eastport.
The City Theater, Engine, Heart of Biddeford, and University of New England will use the CCED funding for the promotion of economic development centered on the arts in downtown Biddeford. Specific goals include property development for artist live/work areas, establishment of an arts district, promotion of artists as creative economy workers, historic preservation with the projected outcomes of arts related programming and web presence, an increase in overall livability, growth in arts and tourism, an increased tax base, local economic development and a significant amount of collaboration with city government.
“This grant is further validation that Biddeford—with its incredible geographic location, architecturally stunning Main Street, and millions of square feet of pristine mill space—is fertile ground to continue growing its creative community,” said Joshua Bodwell, co-founder of Engine. “That the Maine Arts Commission chose to look favorably upon our application is not only humbling, but a mandate to effect change. We will move forward guided by our belief that commerce follows culture.”
Funding delivered to Eastport’s Tides Institute and Museum of Art was accepted by Senate President Kevin Raye. He praised the support as wonderful news for his region while sharing his belief that this grant funding will have a positive impact on the community, one which will contribute to the economy in a meaningful way.
The collaborating parties charged with implementing economic revitalization in this region include Tides Institute and Museum of Art, the City of Eastport, Eastport Historic Review Board, Eastport Downtown Committee, Sunrise County Economic Council, Shead High School, Peavey Library, Waponahki Museum committee, Eastport Arts Center, Border Historical Society, and Eastport Area Chamber of Commerce.
As these municipal and cultural partners strengthen their inter-connectedness they will use the grant funding to focus on many issues that include cross border work with Canada, the establishment of a cultural council, the creation of a brand for Eastport, the expansion of public art in the town, and the promotion of an art boat and creative workspaces.
“This award brings a tremendous opportunity to work together to advance the interconnectedness between the cultural and economic creative sectors of Eastport, strengthening collaborations, programs, and resources within the cultural, business and municipal/government sectors of our community,” said Jude Valentine, program director at Tides Institute. “Our numerous public, private, and cultural partners will add to the synergistic tipping point that this program provides and help establish Eastport as a city on the 'Creative Edge'."
The CCED grant was designed to meaningfully support dialogue and partnership between municipalities and the cultural sector. The grant provides the cultural sector with significant funds to contribute to mutually agreed upon plans and initiatives that stimulate the local economy, provide jobs, strengthen the role of arts and culture, and enhance a community’s quality of place.
Two grants are awarded annually and delivered 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. 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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