New Year brings a statewide Arts Iditarod

Tour hits Belfast Jan. 26
Jan 09, 2017

Augusta — On Tuesday, Jan. 17, the Maine Arts Commission will launch its 2017 Arts Iditarod, a long and undoubtedly snowy information and listening tour from York to Belfast to Presque Isle, with other stops in between. It actually will encompass more than the 1,160 miles of Alaska’s Iditarod National Historic Trail.

The Portland Public Library event is the first of seven such regional meetings, free and open to the public, that the commission will host through Feb. 21. Each gathering will include five different sessions designed to engage artists, arts organizations, educators, policy makers and community developers in advancing the arts in Maine and Maine communities through the arts. Refreshments will be served.

The tour launch coincides with the Jan. 17 opening of the commission’s fiscal year 2018 grant applications and guidelines in its online Grants Management System.

“An important part of the commission’s mission is to provide professional development and information to the field,” said Julie Richard, executive director. “The Arts Iditarod gives us the opportunity to connect with our constituents in person: to hear what’s important to them and to engage them in discussions that are critical to the arts statewide and beyond.”

Session topics include:

  • Creativity Connects: a dialogue around the ways artistic creativity benefits other fields such as business, STEM education and research, the environment, and tourism; as well as one which investigates important models of artists’ practice, locating opportunities for impact and understanding how the current ecosystem of support needs to change to reflect changing practices. Creativity Connects, launched by the National Endowment for the Arts in 2015, is a multipronged effort to show how arts-based creativity intersects with and enriches other facets of life in the U.S. Additional resources can be found at and
  • Cultural Equity for Maine: How do we ensure full participation in the arts for all Mainers? How can we employ the arts to promote full participation as citizens in Maine’s cultural and civic communities? What do we need to do to ensure a place at the table for all in terms of sharing funding streams and framing the future of the arts?
  • Follow the Money: Best practices, tips and tricks for accessing the Maine Arts Commission’s current grants programs.
  • Arts Education Census: The Commission’s 2016 Arts Education Census achieved 95-percent participation from the state’s public schools; learn about the results and possible actions arising from the data.
  • Data: the Other Half of Your Story: Data collection made fun and interesting! Learn how to capture and incorporate data in your storytelling to strengthen your arts marketing and advocacy.

Arts Iditarod schedule

Jan. 17, 1 to 4 p.m., Portland Public Library.

Jan. 19, 9 a.m. to noon, Holocaust & Human Rights Center, University of Maine, Augusta.

Jan. 23, 2 to 5 p.m., Schoodic Arts for All, Winter Harbor.

Jan. 26, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Waterfall Arts, Belfast.

Jan. 31, 9 a.m. to noon, Bangor Public Library.

Feb. 8, 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.; Old York Museum, York.

Feb. 21, 2 to 5 p.m., Wintergreen Arts Center, Presque Isle.

These events are free and open to the public. Registration via Eventbrite is suggested in case weather necessitates schedule changes.

The commission’s five-year cultural strategic plan, adopted in 2015, and information regarding programs and Iditarod location and agenda details are available at You can also register at the website to review the New Year’s grant program guidelines and open applications; to receive the commission’s monthly e-newsletters, containing information about grant and other opportunities and awards; and to follow the commission on social media @MaineArts #MaineArts.



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