Report outlines cross-border opportunities

Gov. John Baldacci has received the initial report outlining future opportunities for expanding cross-border cultural and business opportunities with New Brunswick, Canada.

In July, the governor signed a Memorandum of Understanding with then-Premier Shawn Graham of New Brunswick. The Maine Arts Commission was tasked to work with its counterpart in New Brunswick to develop this first report, which identifies key areas for the state and province to focus on in the future.

According to the report, more than 32,240 Maine jobs are supported through trade between the U.S. and Canada. Canadians make more than 885,400 visits to Maine annually, spending an estimated $266 million. Recent reports show that three of the top five vacation activities of 2011 are projected to be cultural; these include attending festivals, visiting art museums and touring historic sites.

The report also focused on five key areas for the two regions to work on: encouraging cultural business and tourism opportunities; enhancing cultural information exchange; streamlining the border-crossing process; collaborating in cross-border cultural projects; and examining ways to capitalize on the lessons learned through previous cultural collaborations.

In the coming months, the task force will prioritize potential initiatives into steps to be implemented in the lead-up to the Acadian World Congress in 2014. Organizers expect this event – taking place in northern Maine, northwest New Brunswick and Temisoucata County in Quebec – to bring up to $50 million into these regions.


Acorn Productions wins grant, plans shows

Acorn Productions has received a $3,000 grant from the Rines/Thompson Fund administered by the Maine Community Foundation to underwrite the company’s new series of plays in the Acorn Studio Theater in Westbrook.

The funds will be used to purchase 50 new padded stacking chairs similar to those found in the city’s other intimate theater spaces, as well as expanding the artistic personnel for the upcoming productions in the 40-seat black-box venue.

Acorn is currently performing “The World of Sholom Aleichem” in the Acorn Studio Theater with shows through Dec. 19. The rest of the season includes two productions of plays by local playwrights: “Crying at Movies” by John Manderino, and Best of Fest: Volume II, a compilation of short plays from the first 10 years of the Maine Playwrights Festival.

Additionally, Acorn’s Fairy Tale Players, a company of young actors from the Acorn Acting Academy, will present two more “fractured” fairy tales: “JoJo Dubois Meets His Match” and “Rapunzel.”

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Maine poets invited to apply for scholarships

Maine poets who want to develop their writing skills are encouraged to apply for a Martin Dibner Fellowship through the Maine Community Foundation. One or two grants in the $500 to $1,000 range will be awarded.

Applications are due no later than Jan. 15. For guidelines, visit or call (877) 700-6800.

The Dibner Fund supports enrollment in workshops and helps cover living expenses for writers while they are finishing a writing project. The fellowship alternates year to year between fiction and poetry.

Previous winners in poetry include Annaliese Jakimides, Tanya Whiton, Sarah Boucher, Glenn Morazzini and Douglas Woodsum.


Grants help local group launch a Children’s Puppet Workshop

Mayo Street Arts has received a $1,000 grant from the Community Arts and Humanities fund of the Maine Arts Commission, a $1,000 grant from the Rines/Thompson Fund of the Maine Community Foundation and a $1,500 advised grant through a component fund of the Maine Community Foundation to launch the Children’s Puppet Workshop, a world arts program for East Bayside youths.

The Children’s Puppet Workshop will be free for attending youths. The children will learn to make and operate a variety of puppets, including shadow puppets and marionettes. The 10-week workshop begins in January and will culminate in a community performance and art exhibit.

Additional funding for the program comes from the Portland Police Department. A coalition of community partners will refer youths to the workshop.

Visit for more information.