The Arts and Cultural Alliance of Freeport has received a $100,000 Maine Economic Recovery Grant from the state of Maine. This grant was provided to offset the loss of income experienced by the alliance as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. At the time that the pandemic began, the alliance was in the midst of a campaign to raise funds for the renovation and opening of Meetinghouse Arts, a new public performance and artistic venue in Freeport. As a result of the economic slowdown and job losses associated with the pandemic, the alliance was not able to raise the funds necessary to complete renovations to that venue or to generate revenue from it.

Funds provided by this grant may be used to purchase equipment for Meetinghouse Arts and support the operating expenses of Meetinghouse Arts and the alliance. In addition to ongoing fundraising, this grant will help to support the renovation process and will expedite the opening of Meetinghouse Arts once the state’s guidelines for safe opening permit it, according to the alliance.

“This grant is a godsend that allows us to make a major dent in renovation and operating expenses,” says Nancy Salmon, the alliance’s board president. “Now we can confidently expect to open Meetinghouse Arts in early January or as soon after as safety guidelines provided by the Maine CDC permit. We are so very grateful to the state for recognizing the value of the arts as tools for improving our quality of life and promoting the economic development of the greater Freeport community.”

Meetinghouse Arts will be home to a 200-seat performance and presentation space that will provide a venue for theatrical productions, concerts and other artistic and cultural presentations, and will include a gallery for the visual arts and other exhibits. According to the alliance, Meetinghouse Arts will be used by both local organizations and touring shows and will provide a new creative focal point for the greater Freeport area and strengthen its creative economy.

The opening of Meetinghouse Arts will achieve one of the important goals identified in the alliance’s cultural plan for the greater Freeport area. Plans for the renovations have been developed to provide a venue that is flexible enough in its design to accommodate a variety of creative needs. At the same time, Meetinghouse Arts will continue to be used by the church for Sunday services and other programs.

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