What were the project goals?
Our goals revolved around two main components:
1. create cohesion, coordination, and promotion of the area’s high level of cultural activity
2. strengthen the creative economy sector
COHESION and COORDINATION
- Belfast Creative Coalition becoming a centralized contact and leader for the art and cultural sector.
One that establish mechanisms for community networking and coordination of long term scheduling including: regular face-to-face planning and information sharing meetings, website and calendar, social media tools, online membership forums, links.
-BCC to become a clearinghouse for cultural activity in the area via a website announcing all events, businesses, studios, galleries, performances, etc. in the area. The web site will be a resource for the Coalition membership as well as the general public; creatives can share information with each other, links to their sites, and learn of development opportunities.
-BCC become the direct liaison with the City, which will look to us as the leading voice of the cultural sector. We will work with city officials to facilitate, streamline, and leverage public funds for arts and cultural activities in the City
as a broker between the creative sector and other entities, the Coalition will promote and field interest from outside the community regarding potential events, meetings, conferences, and festivals
- Belfast Creative Coalition will continually identify sector needs and issues by conducting meetings and surveys to assess and follow up on past reports, work to connect with creative sub-sectors, such as young people, traditional crafters, people with disabilities and clarify common as well as unique issues, incorporate these identified needs in our work plan, and share them with public and private partners as we work to develop collaborative projects
- Belfast Creative Coalition, as a catalyst for creative community collaboration, will:
collectively and innovatively tackle some of the harder issues, such as addressing the longstanding community need for a high-quality performance venue.
BCC will reach out to potential public and private partners, and ensure that the creative sector has a seat the table for large community initiatives, e.g. working with the City and potential funders to plan public art spaces along the Harbor Walk
STRENGTHENING the CREATIVE SECTOR
- Belfast Creative Coalition will foster and promote the Belfast as an arts destination and boost the sector by taking advantage of all state and local marketing campaigns that particularly extend to regional and national markets
- Belfast Creative Coalition will be a resource for professional development for the creative economic sector. We will:
through our community needs assessments, clarify skill-building needs of the sector and develop or facilitate access to training: small business development, entrepreneurial training, professional skill-builders such as marketing, sector trends, accessing investment capital
partner with existing delivery systems such as UMaine, Cooperative Extension, Maine Centers for Women Work and Community, Fractured Atlas, and the Small Business Administration
assist with other needs by exploring options in areas such as health and liability insurance, technology, and equipment that can be collectively pursued and leveraged
- Belfast Creative Coalition will be an ambassador and enabler of creativity in the region for all ages - identify and work to develop more public venues for art displays, such as a revolving youth art display at City Hall, work to increase arts visibility and link artists with under-represented venues such as heath care facilities, and connect with schools and other youth-serving agencies to explore partnerships, exhibitions, and residencies
- With the strength of the membership behind it, Belfast Creative Coalition will be a passionate advocate for the creative economic sector. We will:
seek opportunities for codification of public support for the arts, e.g. a countywide percent for art program
collaborate with other regions and other creative sector intermediaries in the state to address statewide issues such as policy, funding, and economic development.
Have they changed over time?
For the first year, these goals have been honed and prioritized into four main areas of focus:
-Unifying the efforts of a well-recognized and highly-respected cluster of arts and cultural endeavors, building collaborative partnerships with multiple sectors, while establishing a cohesive identity as an open resource.WHAT IS OPEN RESOURCE?
-Coordinating arts and cultural events through the Belfast Creative Coalition website, calendar syncing, networking, strategic planning, and streamlining promotions.
-Marketing Waldo County arts and culture locally and regionally, coordinating group ads, creating marketing products from the arts and culture sector that market Belfast’s three gems of art, local food and beautiful land.
-Facilitating “the business of art and culture” by fostering an entrepreneurial spirit amongst creatives, hosting artist networking nights and disseminating opportunities in education, technology, innovation and funding that prepare and sustain our creative workforce.
While the City looks to BCC as a leader of the creative sector, CIty officials realized they were not ready for BCC to be involved in reviewing funding requests to the City, as a streamlining effort.
Who are the project partners and stakeholders?
The City of Belfast, the seat of Waldo County, is a small city of approximately 6,700 people, with an annual budget of approximately $5,000,000. Despite its small population and limited financial resources, Belfast is committed to a diversified and robust economy that will create quality, good-paying employment opportunities. It has recently stepped up its economic development efforts by hiring a full-time economic development director, financially supporting the Belfast Region Chamber of Commerce and Our Town Belfast, developing amenities that bring more visitors to the area, such as the Belfast Harbor Walk, and developing business-friendly infrastructure such as the Belfast Municipal Airport and the Belfast Airport Business Park.
Our Town Belfast’s mission is to promote intown businesses and encourage historic preservation of the downtown. In March of 2010, OTB morphed from the independent Belfast Downtown Business Group into a Maine Downtown Network Community, and 15 months later became a Main Street community. OTB is a vibrant and inclusive social, arts and cultural effort that initiates and supports community and creative sustainability in downtown Belfast. The Main Street Program is a national movement that has spanned three decades and taken root in more than 2,000 communities - a movement that has spurred $49 billion in reinvestment in traditional commercial districts, galvanized thousands of volunteers, and changed the way governments, planners, and developers view preservation. OTB’s Board of Directors is comprised of fifteen local citizen volunteers representing business owners, property owners, employees, and community members.
Waterfall Arts(WFA) is a non-profit 501 (c)(3) contemporary arts center in Belfast and Montville whose mission is to create community in harmony with nature through the transformative power of the arts. Founded in 2000 at the original rustic campus of Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in Montville, summer residencies and classes took inspiration from the site’s waterfalls and merging streams. With the support of the City of Belfast, WFA purchased the former Governor Anderson School in Belfast and began offering year-round programming in 2006. Now thousands of people enjoy this hub of creative activity through WFA’s exhibitions, art classes and workshops, artist residencies, studio rentals, and events of all kinds. WFA collaborates with many organizations to improve access to arts and culture. One example: the Belfast Farmer’s Market now resides in WFA’s backyard for it’s six months of operation, thanks to a recent grant from Bangor Savings Bank to upgrade WFA’s backyard surface.
University of Maine Fredrick E. Hutchinson Center is an outreach campus for the University of Maine. Located in Belfast Maine, The Hutchinson Center serves as an educational and cultural hub for the mid-coast community. Offering Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree, non-credit courses, leadership training, and a conference in our state-of-the-art facilities, the Hutchinson Center is wealth of invaluable resources for the region.
Penobscot Marine Museum
The Penobscot Marine Museum in Searsport, Maine, is Maine’s oldest maritime museum and is designed to preserve and educate people regarding Maine’s and Searsport’s rich and unique maritime and shipbuilding history. Designed as a unique 19th century seafaring village, the museum encompasses thirteen historic and modern buildings, houses a modern exhibit gallery features annual shows and is home to a regionally important library and archives focused on maritime history and regional genealogy.