The Maine Arts Commission and its new nonprofit support and advocacy group, ArtsEngageME, will host a luncheon with speakers Tuesday, Feb. 27, from noon to 2 p.m. in the Summit Room at Point Lookout, Route 1. The event is limited to 100; tickets, $30, can be purchased through Eventbrite.

The Arts & Prosperity in Maine event will feature guest speakers Randy Cohen, vice president for research and policy at Americans for the Arts; and Dee Schneidman from the New England Foundation for the Arts. The luncheon celebrates the release of the first statewide economic impact data for Maine’s arts and cultural sectors and will provide participants with extraordinary models for how to leverage this data in advocating for the creative sector and arts projects as individuals, organizations, communities and regions.

“Few people weave together story and data better than Randy Cohen," said Julie Richard, MAC executive director. “His luncheon keynote will entertain us, as well as provide a model for how we can most effectively use data to tell our important arts stories here in Maine.”

Cohen and Schneidman will present data from two recent studies: the national Arts and Economic Prosperity 5 (AEP5) study by Americans for the Arts, for which the Maine Arts Commission oversaw Maine’s first statewide participation; and NEFA’s The Jobs in New England’s Creative Economy and Why They Matter. Both were released in June 2017.

Cohen recently published Americans Speak Out About the Arts, one of the largest national public opinion studies about the arts ever conducted, and publishes the two premier economic studies of the arts industries: Arts & Economic Prosperity, the national impact study of nonprofit arts organizations and their audiences; and Creative Industries, a mapping study of the nation’s 703,000 arts establishments and their employees.

Cohen developed the National Arts Policy Roundtable, an annual convening of leaders who focus on the advancement of American culture, in partnership with Robert Redford and the Sundance Institute. His “10 Reasons to Support the Arts” blog recently received the Gold Award from the Association of Media & Publishing, its top honor for best blog post of the year. Cohen has given speeches in 49 states and regularly appears in the news media including the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and on C-SPAN, CNN, CNBC and NPR.

Schneidman oversees data collection, documentation and creative economy activities at NEFA. These include the New England Creative Economy Reports on the creative sector and its nonprofit subset; CreativeGround, New England’s online directory of creative enterprises and artists; regional events such as the Creative Communities Exchange; knowledge-sharing projects; and NEFA program evaluation.

ArtsEngageME is a new nonprofit legislated and incorporated in 2016 to support the work of the Maine Arts Commission through the development of an advocacy network and a statewide endowment for the arts. Those who wish to participate in the advocacy network, low cost memberships for individuals and organizations will be available as soon as the organization’s 501(c)3 status is confirmed this spring. For more information, contact Richard at

The Maine Arts Commission is legislated to collect and disseminate data on the impact of the arts sector from and to the field. In addition to participating in these studies, the agency regularly collects financial impact data through its grant programs and in particular through a partnership with DataArts, formerly the Cultural Data Project, which helps organizations to analyze their own economic impact within a national context. Organizations or communities that wish to calculate their own economic impact may use the Arts & Prosperity 5 Calculator at the Americans for the Arts website. Those interested in collecting and analyzing organizational data through DataArts are encouraged to visit; or contact Linda Nelson, MAC’s assistant director, at or 287-7050.

The Maine Arts Commission supports artists, art organizations, educators, policy makers and community developers in advancing the arts in Maine. For more than 50 years, MAC has encouraged and stimulated public interest and participation in the cultural heritage and cultural programs of our state; has worked to expand the state's cultural resources; and encouraged and assisted freedom of artistic expression for the well being of the arts, to meet the needs and aspirations of persons in all parts of the state. Additional information is available at

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115; or