The Portland Museum of Art is one of four Maine organizations to benefit from a round of federal grants announced Thursday and will use the $100,000 it is receiving from the National Endowment for the Humanities to support its upcoming exhibition about Haystack Mountain School of Crafts.

It’s the first time the museum has received NEH funding for an exhibition, said Graeme Kennedy, the museum’s director of communications. “We’ve received NEH money for special projects in the past, but never for an exhibition. We’re pretty excited,” he said.

An early sign for Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in Deer Isle, part of an exhibition at the Portland Museum of Art opening in May supported by a federal grant. Photo by Ross Lowell/Courtesy of Haystack Mountain School of Crafts

U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-1st District, announced the funding Thursday morning. The Maine Humanities Council will receive $98,779 to support programming for war veterans, and the Maine State Museum will receive a $95,000 matching grant to help raise additional capital for a planned education center. Saint Joseph’s College in Standish gets $34,995 to support academic programming.

“These competitive grant awards speak to the quality of these organizations and Maine’s remarkable leadership in the arts and humanities,” Pingree said in a news release.

The grants are part of the NEH’s annual funding cycle. The Trump administration has proposed eliminating money for the NEH and National Endowment for the Arts in its budget proposals, Pingree noted. The Maine grants were among 233 humanities projects that received federal funding on Thursday.

Thursday’s announcement means Maine arts groups have received more than $500,000 in federal money since February, when the National Endowment for the Arts announced $205,000 in grants to 11 Maine arts groups. The largest grant in that batch was $40,000 for the Bates Dance Festival in Lewiston.

In addition, this week in Lewiston, the newly formed LA Public Art Working Group met for the first time since receiving a $75,000 Maine Arts Commission Creative Communities = Economic Development grant for the implementation of a regional cultural plan. Community leaders hope the money will help improve the image of Lewiston and Auburn with public art projects.

The Portland Museum of Art opens its Haystack exhibition May 24. “In the Vanguard” will explore the Deer Isle school’s early years and its influence on 20th-century crafts in America. It is organized by PMA curator Diana Greenwold and Rachael Arauz, an art historian and independent curator. The exhibition will include craft objects in a variety of material as well as correspondence, articles, posters, brochures and other items from the school’s archives.

Bob Keyes can be contacted at 791-6457 or at:

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