WATERVILLE — The Harold Alfond Foundation is awarding a $2.1 million grant to Waterville Creates!, a nonprofit organization that supports and promotes arts and culture in the greater Waterville area.

Waterville Creates! is scheduled to receive the money over a 2-year period to advance the organization’s mission and help fund its partner institutions, including the Maine Film Center and Waterville Opera House, according to a news release Monday from the group.

“We are energized and proud that the Harold Alfond Foundation has committed their continued support of the important work that we are doing,” Larry Sterrs, chairman of the board of directors for Waterville Creates!, said in the release. “We see this funding as a vote of confidence in our staff, our board, and our wonderful community partners, all of whom are working together to ensure a vibrant future for Waterville and the region.”

The Alfond grant will allow Waterville Creates! to focus on a number of key priorities in 2017 and 2018, according to officials. That includes increasing programs and operational collaboration between local arts organizations; expanding marketing of Waterville’s arts and cultural assets to place more emphasis on Waterville as an arts and cultural destination; and helping to make improvements in the quality, visibility, and accessibility of programs at Common Street Arts, an arts exhibition and education space located in The Center at 93 Main St. downtown.

“In addition to facilitating more collaborative programming in the new year, we plan to work with our partners to explore shared service and staffing models and other potential efficiencies that can be achieved through increased collaboration,” said Shannon Haines, president and chief executive officer of Waterville Creates!, in the release. “By funding staffing and operational expenses as well as specific initiatives designed to enhance collaboration amongst Waterville’s arts and cultural institutions and other community partners, this grant will allow us to build a more sustainable organization as we continue to strengthen Waterville’s creative economy.”

Waterville Creates! now offers contracted marketing services for both the Maine Film Center and Waterville Opera House and is investigating a shared box office system, bookkeeping services and other financial services.


The Alfond grant also includes continued funding for the Waterville Creates! Partner Incentive Grant program, established in 2014 as a way to promote increased collaboration and enhanced arts and culture programs among arts and cultural organizations and other community partners.

Past Incentive Grant funding recipients include the Waterville Opera House for the Waterville Rocks! summer concert series; Waterville Main Street for Harvest on the Square; and the Maine Film Center for VJ Suave, which performed at the 2016 MIFF.

“The Harold Alfond Foundation has been impressed with the thoughtful collaboration that Waterville Creates! has fostered among the city’s arts organizations and all that has been achieved to more widely promote Waterville as a vibrant hub of arts and cultural activities,” Greg Powell, chairman of the Alfond Foundation board of directors, said in the release. “We are confident that this grant will enable the organization and its partners to take their efforts to the next level.”

Grant funds also will be used to buy digital projection equipment for the Waterville Opera House to help improve the quality of live broadcast programs, such as the National Theater Live, The Bolshoi Ballet in Cinemas, and the Met Live in HD, and to facilitate MIFF and other Maine Film Center programs throughout the year.

The Alfond Foundation furthers the legacy of the late Waterville philanthropist Harold Alfond by investing in education, healthcare, youth development and other philanthropic charitable causes that hold the promise of making enduring transformative contributions to the community and State of Maine.

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