Uncovering the county’s cultural treasures

Nov 08, 2018
Dancer and choreographer Shana Bloomstein is one of the creative locals participating in the Waldo County Cultural Plan.

Belfast — The Waldo County Cultural Plan is an ongoing treasure hunt to discover every hidden cultural gem in Waldo County. The next open meeting will be held Monday, Nov. 19, from 4:30 to 7 p.m. at the University of Maine's Hutchinson Center, 80 Belmont Ave./Route 3.

“There are so many resources at stake, but we can’t access all that money and important resources until we have an accounting of our assets,” said project manager Larraine Brown.

Brown encourages everyone with a stake in the creative economy — including artists, craftsmen, performers, promoters, creative farmers and makers, educators, leaders, organizations and even those just dreaming of starting their own creative business — to attend.

Belfast Creative Coalition, which Brown directs, is initiating an effort to develop an arts and cultural plan for Waldo County, with seed money from the Maine Arts Commission and some local sources, that aims to engage multiple sectors of the community, including individuals, businesses, local government and nonprofit organizations.

“Few people realize that our creative economy brings more than $7,800,00 in revenues to Waldo County and is responsible for a variety of jobs,” Brown said.

The Waldo County Cultural Plan will lay the groundwork to continue growing the economy and in supporting new ventures, ideas and the area’s “creatives,” makers and art-related businesses “and if that’s you, this is the time to give your input while we have this opportunity,” Brown said.

Community input is a top priority as the group investigates cultural resources in Waldo County and designs a plan that will guide arts and cultural development over the next five to 10 years. The planning process will identify Waldo County cultural assets such as arts facilities, historic venues, arts and cultural organizations, artists, crafters, performers and recreational and agricultural resources. The process will identify community priorities centered on how to bolster these assets and how to enhance regional economic development.

The group has hired Saskia Reinholt of Reinholt Consulting to lead the planning process. Reinholt specializes in cultural planning and strategic planning. She has worked on projects including a Cultural Blueprint for Waterville Creates! and the Somerset County Cultural Plan for Main Street Skowhegan and Wesserunsett Arts Council.

“Cultural planning is an essential part of regeneration strategies for communities,” Reinholt said. “Many communities suffer from economic decline and shrinking populations. Incorporating cultural planning into a community’s toolkit helps revitalize downtowns and regions.”

Beverages, snacks and inspired art will be provided at the meeting. For more information on the Waldo County Cultural Plan project, contact Brown at 323-2747 or 218-1144.

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

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