AUGUSTA — The Maine Arts Commission has approved a new program for Maine artists. Artists in Communities is a one-year pilot program designed to assist Maine communities in strengthening their cultural resources through arts-related programming that relies on community collaborations and utilizes the talents of Maine artists.
This program combines the goals of the Maine Arts Commission’s Contemporary Artist Development and Community Arts programs by emphasizing working partnerships between artists and communities for the benefit of the public. It also recognizes that Maine’s communities depend on their arts and cultural institutions to ensure a rewarding quality of life for residents.
“The Artists in Communities program is important because it focuses community resources on specifically arts-related programs, fostering creative collaborations that will help organizations and artists to evolve into new and even better forms for the new century,” says Chuck Kruger, chairman of the commission’s Contemporary Artists Development Committee.
“This program helps artists and communities by encouraging new kinds of participation at the local level.”
The program resulted from more than a year of work by the Maine Arts Commission’s Contemporary Artists Development Committee and is based upon the results of a survey of Maine artists made by the commission in early 1999.
“One of the points continually raised in the survey was the need for a program that would help artists become more visible in their communities,” says Kathy Ann Jones, the commission’s associate for contemporary arts.
“This program answers that need by enabling qualified community groups to hire artists to perform, provide readings, exhibit their works, conduct lectures or demonstrations or present other programs.”
The program is one component of the New Century Community Program, which was developed by the Maine Cultural Affairs Council and passed by the Maine State Legislature in 1999.
“The New Century legislation is already sparking some very exciting things in various parts of the state, and this program meets the goal of directing funding to communities to help strengthen their cultural institutions,” Kruger says.
“The key words in this program are collaboration and community,” says Alden C. Wilson, director of the Maine Arts Commission. “The grant-review committee will be looking for proposals that have input from local residents, including artists and key members of local organizations; that relate to a community’s social and economic needs; that have the potential to create visibility and opportunities for Maine artists as well as increase understanding and collaboration between artists and other community members and inspire other such community collaborations.”
Artists in Communities grants of up to $25,000 per community are available, and proposals for as little as $2,000 will be considered. “We anticipate funding between five and 10 proposals,” Jones says. All grants must be matched with cash or in-kind services at a minimum ratio of one to one.
Those interested in submitting proposals must first discuss the project with Jones. She can be reached at 287-2750 or TTY 287-2360. The deadline for application is May 1. For a copy of the Artists in Communities grant guidelines, call 287-2724 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.