What were the specific goals of this creative economy project? Describe the community development challenge or opportunity that your project was designed to address:
Initially funded through the Maine Arts Commission's Creative Communities=Economic Development, the project articulated three goals: to implement strategic marketing of arts and cultural assets, to pilot a cooperative arts venue, and to develop incentives and strategies to recruit artists and creative businesses. It is important to note that during this time, The Waterville Opera House, The Maine Film Center, The Waterville Public Library, and The Colby College Museum of Art all underwent multimillion dollar renovation projects in order to build capacity for larger audiences, new technology, and more significant programming.
If the goals change over time, please describe how:
Leadership changes occurred throughout the community, with new investors seeking deeper partnerships with this work and thoughtful and intentional outreach beyond mere financial sponsorship. This gave us the chance to look inward organizationally, look at our partnerships to deepen them, and then to consider our current audiences and those potential and unlikely audiences throughout the community. For example, the Maine Film Center, rather than offering a free movie ticket to teens, now offers a digital media class, where student work is then shown at the cinema, and partnerships formed with the local high school technical center for ongoing support of student work.
Who was involved in this project and what did they do? (be sure to include the partners from outside of the creative sector and how local voices were included):
Original arts project partners The Maine Film Center, Waterville Opera House, Waterville Public Library, Waterville Main Street, and Colby College Museum of Art expanded to include Colby College Center for the Arts and Humanities, Thomas College, Inland Hospital, Maine General Hospital, The City of Waterville and The Unity Foundation.
How does this project relate to a larger community development strategy?
Waterville seeks to leverage its arts assets as it brands itself as a regional arts destination, a hub for innovation and entrepreneurship, an educational resource for workforce development and social equity, and community design that is beautiful and functional for all its citizens.