The Creative Communities Exchange conference, held in Portland, ME on June 6-7 2013, introduced me to a great variety of inspirational, creative things. I heard talks on:
- B.E.A.N., a microgrant program by the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center, funded through community dinners where the diner-donors voted on projects.
- CreativeNEXT Listening Tour, a survey of 580 Massachusetts creative businesses that investigated their current status and future needs, an initiative of the Massachusetts economic development office.
- Haley House Bakery Cafe, a nonprofit bakery, itself an offshoot of a soup kitchen and affordable housing organization. It has evolved into a vibrant, active community center involving local artists in many disciplines, as well as providing training and employment for ex-felons.
- Discover Roxbury, which produces a great variety of events featuring local art and culture. It gets the word out via the classy Art Rox! Season Guide.
- Sharon Arts Center, which recently merged with local college New Hampshire Institute of Art (I didn’t find the saga of their merger on their web site)
- Cambridge Center for Adult Ed and its Community Supported Art program, modeled on community-supported agriculture. It gives patrons a chance to sample art collecting on a small scale, and gives artists training in marketing and the chance to experiment with small-scale affordable pieces. http://www.ccae.org/csart/
- A visionary plan to convert the historic Silvermine Tavern in Norwalk, CT into an artist colony. I didn’t find a web page devoted the project. They are trying to develop a donor base to get the plans off the ground.
For every presentation I heard, there were three more going on at the same time, a wealth of community initiatives. There’s more on the NEFA web site.