GRANTS AWARDED FOR DEVELOPMENT OF REGIONAL CULTURAL PLAN

Grants totaling $30,000 have been awarded to the Regional Creative Council (RCC) for the development of a Cultural Plan for the tri-county region including Southern Aroostook, Northern Penobscot and Northern Washington Counties.  The funders include the Maine Arts Commission, Maine Community Foundation and the Betterment Fund.

The RCC was formed about a year ago through a collaboration between the Houlton Community Arts Center Council, Southern Aroostook Cultural Arts Project, Town of Houlton Community Development Department, Cary Library and the Houlton Higher Education Center.  The group began developing an inventory of creative and cultural assets and preparing for the grant applications with the ultimate goal being to promote the area as cultural destination.  The RCC is engaging artisans, government representatives, business leaders and community advocates in this process and will be inviting the general public from throughout the region to participate, as well.

The centerpiece of the grant awards is a $10,000 grant from the Maine Arts Commission under Phase I of the Creative Communities = Economic Development (CCED) Program.  Phase I of the CCED Program is for development of a Cultural Plan.  After the plan is completed, an application can be submitted for a Phase II grant that would assist with implementation.  The RCC plans to continue the effort forward to submit an application for Phase II in fall of 2017.  The Maine Arts Commission (MAC) is an independent state agency supported by the National Endowment for the Arts.  The MAC supports Maine arts and culture through their grants and services.  Further information about the MAC is available on their web site at mainearts.com

The Maine Community Foundation (MCF) awarded funds to the RCC Cultural Plan Project through their Kay E. Dopp Fund in the amount of $10,000.  With offices in Ellsworth and Portland, the Maine Community Foundation works with donors and other partners to improve the quality of life for all Maine people.  To learn more about the foundation, people can visit www.mainecf.org.

The grant funds received from the Maine Arts Commission, Maine Community Foundation and The Betterment Fund will primarily be used to hire consultant Saskia Reinholt of Reinholt Consulting of Phillips, Maine.  Reinholt Consulting specializes in strengthening cultural organizations by serving as a guide through a comprehensive cultural planning process that leads to the discovery of a community’s priorities and relevant action plans.  Reinholt has conducted projects for the High Peaks Region in North Franklin County Maine, the City of Lebanon, NH, the twin cities of Lewiston & Auburn through L/A Arts and for Waterville working with Waterville Creates! and Waterville Main Street.  Reinholt Consulting will be in the area the last week of September for the official launch of the program which will be held Tuesday, September 27th at the Houlton Higher Education Center.  Three Community Conversations will be held over the next 2 days.  These will take place in various locations throughout the region to encourage participation and to gather input from all segments of the area.  All of these events are open to the public.  Further information can be found on the Houlton Community Arts Center web site at houltonarts.com and on their Facebook page.

The Regional Creative Council is reaching out to the municipalities in the region as wells as individuals and organizations.  Anyone in the area interested in this effort is encouraged to attend the launch on Tuesday, September 27th beginning at 5:30pm.

An E-mail list has been developed to get the word out about meetings and updates on the project.  Those who would like to be on the distribution list can send their E-mail address to Houlton Community Development Director, Nancy Ketch at comm.development@houlton-maine.com.

Further information on the Regional Creative Council and their efforts is available by contacting Ketch at the E-mail above or by phone at 521-5938, Linda Faucher at Cary Library at 532-1302 or faucherl@cary.lib.me.us or Tracy Rockwell at the Houlton Higher Education Center at 521-3100 or tracy.rockwell@maine.edu.