'Virtual kiosk' is priority for fledgling Freeport arts alliance

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FREEPORT — The Freeport Arts and Cultural Alliance is seeking proposals from Web developers to build its website with a calendar of town arts events.

FACA, created earlier this year, is an organization working to get more people involved in Freeport’s art scene. The organization has created a website, freeportartsandculturalalliance.org, but the site isn’t completely designed and doesn’t have a calendar of events.

The organization, which is still awaiting approval of its nonprofit status from the IRS, has put out a request for proposals to design its “virtual kiosk.” The RFP can be found on the organization’s website; proposals are due by Dec. 30 at 5 p.m.

Elizabeth Guffey, the managing/artistic director of Freeport Players, said the website will be done in phases, and the organization is looking to spend around $2,000 on the first phase. FACA’s steering committee, which consists of Freeport Economic Development Corp. Executive Director Keith McBride, local artists, and members of Freeport Players, has already raised most of the money. 

Guffey said the first phase will focus on creating an online calendar listing all the arts and cultural events happening in town. She said artists and organizations will be able to add to the calendar on their own with no intervention from FACA. 

“We want it to be really simple for presenters to put things up,” she said.

Guffey said artists can also post information about their events on FACA’s Facebook page, or they can email her at info@fcponline.org.

Guffey said another part of phase one will be creating an online directory of artists and resources. She said FACA’s steering committee wants phase one to be completed by next March so people can utilize the site at “the height of the season.”

Guffey said details still need to be worked out for the second phase of the project, and she’s not sure how much money will be needed to complete it.

Another aspect of FACA, which was discussed at a community meeting in April, is the idea of creating a physical space to house the organization. Guffey said that plan is still being developed.

“We’re in the early stages of assessing what the needs of the community are,” she said.

McBride said it would be years before a physical space could be built, and a lot of work needs to be done before that can happen. He said it’s difficult because FACA isn’t a town-run organization and has little funding. He said someone would be needed to maintain the building and oversee operations.

McBride said FACA would have to find the right building or the right piece of land if the board wants to move forward with the idea. He said the organization is still trying to establish itself and let people know about the various arts and cultural events in town.

“I think we’re trying to gain the momentum we need,” he said.

McBride and Guffey both said the organization is hoping artists and other members of the public will come to the monthly steering committee meetings. They said the date and location of the meetings changes each month, but the information is posted on the Facebook page ahead of time.

“We welcome anyone and everyone who wants to be part of the organization and to make sure all areas are covered,” McBride said. “We’re an inclusive organization and we’re always trying to find people who want to be involved.”

Although FACA can’t host its own events right now, McBride said it might be interested in sponsoring local events. Ultimately, however, he said FACA wants its own space where exhibits, lectures and classes can be hosted.

“It’s something that’s in the long-term plan,” he said. “It’s the ultimate goal.”

Kate Gardner can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or kgardner@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter: @katevgardner.

I'm a reporter for The Forecaster covering Freeport, Yarmouth, Chebeague Island, and Cape Elizabeth. I'm from a small town in NH no one's ever heard of. When not reporting, I can be found eating pasta and reading books, often at the same time.