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Arts organizations rally against economy

News

Arts organizations rally against economy

Coalition plans to market region as a destination
BRUNSWICK — Seven local arts organizations have joined with the Five Rivers Arts Alliance to begin promoting the Mid-Coast region as a destination for the arts and culture.
The collaborative effort was initiated by the Bowdoin International Music Festival, The Theater Project, Maine Maritime Museum, Maine State Music Theatre, The Chocolate Church, Maine Fiberarts and Bowdoin College.
The organizations have banded together to weather tough economic times that many fear will worsen with the 2011 closure of Brunswick Naval Air Station.
The coalition is billing the effort as a way to promote the region's arts and to entice visitors to local restaurants, shops and hotels.
So far the group has raised more than $20,000, including a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.
"Our goal is to spread the word to tourists, to Mainers from other parts of the state, and to business leaders that our region offers an abundance of quality cultural attractions," said Peter Simmons, executive director of the Bowdoin International Music Festival, "so much so that one could spend a vacation – or a lifetime – here and not run out of fun and interesting cultural activities to enjoy."
The coalition plans to market the area's cultural attractions, including historical destinations like the Maine Maritime Museum, as well as local historical societies. In addition, the group says it will market acclaimed performing art series at places like the Maine State Music Theatre, the Chocolate Church and the Bowdoin International Music Festival.
All of those efforts will dovetail with a promotion of the region's visual and craft artists.
"The greater Bath-Brunswick region receives national recognition as a great place to 'live and launch' a new business, to retire and to visit," said Harriet Mosher, executive director of the Five Rivers Arts Alliance, in a press release.
"Our region's cultural leaders want to remind visitors and the public that this is a great place to visit, to work and to live," Mosher added.
The group plans to promote the region through planning brochures, post cards and a new online cultural calendar. In addition, a fresh advertising campaign is being planned that the group says will highlight the region's vitality and cultural offerings.
"This is just the beginning," said Cathy Crouch, manager of marketing and communications at the Maine Maritime Museum. "We hope that as things take off and words spreads about this initiative, we will be able to secure more funding and spread the word even further across New England that (the region) is the place to be if you want a concentration of great art, great people and good times."

Steve Mistler can be reached at 373-9060 ext. 123 or smistler@theforecaster.net.