The new executive director of a Freeport arts organization said she wants to increase its interactions and involvement in the community.

Dana Legawiec said she looks forward to helping the Arts and Cultural Alliance of Freeport collaborate with organizations in and around Freeport to elevate arts and artistic experiences for members of the community.

“My main priority is to build on existing relationships with schools, artists and community members and help ACAF to meet the needs of the community,” said Legawiec. “I want to invite more conversations about what ACAF can do, mean or facilitate for our community.”

Legawiec will assume the new leadership role July 1. “It’s exciting and thrilling,” she said. “I feel a great sense of responsibility toward the community. It makes me feel hopeful about arts and community that there is a sort of commitment being made at the moment.”

She said the arts allow us to connect with aspects of ourselves through identity, and with others through imagination, empathy and compassion.

“Art is everywhere,” said Legawiec. “Having the ability to see it and leave connections from the inner self to the outside world, across medium through space and time, will benefit everyone with a greater sense of feeling connected to one another.”

According to Legawiec, her career is shaped by decades-long collaborations with playwrights, directors and choreographers in Los Angeles’ theatre scene. As an actress, she has developed original plays with Padua Playwrights Productions, including the world premieres of Murray Mednick’s “Joe and Betty,” “Gary’s Walk” and Clown Show for Bruno.

She is a faculty member at Colby College and the University of Southern Maine theatre departments and founded the theatre program at Bowdoinham Community School. She is also an independent teaching artist for many schools and organizations in New England.

As a community-based teaching artist, Legawiec uses theatre to empower and elevate the voices of the very young in rural Maine. She draws upon three decades’ experience working in ensemble theater to develop programs for children that celebrate individuality within collaboration while fostering deep connections to place.

Legawiec is committed to the construction of inclusive creative communities. She aims to use theater tools and specific strategies to work with teachers in the community and increase student engagement around literature.

“We hope to develop teaching artists to go and work in the schools across all the art platforms,” she added.

In addition to that, she is keen to invite the community groups to expand the idea of what is art, who gets to be an artist, who gets to engage in the art and how does art show up in our lives.

ACAF is a nonprofit formed in 2015 by the Freeport residents, businesses and arts groups.

“Historically, ACAF has done many programs and I am looking for opportunities to do a lot more. I look forward to inputs from the community members to find out what do they want, what are they curious about and what would enrich their lives.”

Speaking about ACAF’s new gallery and exhibit space that is opening in Freeport with a fine arts show titled “A Community of Artists” beginning on June 25,  Legawiec said, “It’s very exciting to have an actual physical space to elevate the arts and bring the community together. We also have concerts planned throughout the summer.”

The show features original fine art including painting, photography, glass work, sculpture and fiber arts. The gallery also includes a gift area featuring cards made from images of original paintings as well as small work.


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