The Maine Arts Commission is hosting community conversations to learn about key aspects of arts and culture in communities across the state.

This initiative is part of their five-year action plan to understand resources the communities need to culturally thrive and what value culture and heritage hold for residents in communities across the state.

David Greenham, the executive director of the Maine Arts Commission, said they are hosting these conversations to learn about the communities and understand their needs.

“We are there to listen first and then gather information,” said Greenham. “This process will hopefully steer us in a direction that helps provide communities — their artists and cultural organizations — the needs and resources to thrive.”

They are conducting a series of conversations in 20 communities from rural to urban Maine, including island villages, mountain towns, communities with limited resources and diverse ethnicities that they believe represent the state’s rich tapestry culturally, economically, geographically, and demographically.

They aim to have a rich representation of Maine.


“The community conversations are a part of a bigger picture in developing our five-year cultural plan,” said Greenham. “We will be working hard in the incoming year to complete the plan that effectively communicates the needs and desires of our communities through these conversations.”

While the community conversations are underway, Greenham said it is too early to know the outcome of these conversations.

He added that their effort is to learn about the key aspects of community culture that make people feel their community is culturally thriving or could be thriving and to see where they can find commonalities.

Greenham said the characteristics that might make one community thrive culturally, like Brunswick, are likely to be different than the aspects that make Bath or Wiscasset thrive culturally. However, he added that they don’t determine if a community is thriving culturally, and that is the community’s determination.

“We will use these initial discussions to keep the conversation going and establish a strong connection with their constituents,” said Greenham. “Our previous cultural plan came to an end in 2020. The community conversations are launching off point, and they will certainly help in the shaping of our new plan.”

The Maine Arts Commission is a state-run agency that encourages and stimulates public interest and participation in cultural heritage and programs of the state. The agency also provides funding to support artistic endeavors.


Executive Director of Arts and Cultural Alliance of Freeport Dana Legawiec, a Bowdoinham resident, is providing inputs to the commission on how arts and culture play an important role in the town.

“There is a lot of support in our community school for all of the arts,” said Legawiec. “The arts are a shared value through many people in the town, so we want to support it and get folks the resources that they need, not to be artists necessarily, but to appreciate and engage with all the arts and creative expression.”

Legawiec added, “Bowdoinham is a small town, but it has two thriving arts organizations.”

She said this effort by the state agency to go out and hear what people have to share about their communities’ arts and culture is important and valuable.

Comments are no longer available on this story