Statewide, ME

Contact Name
Christine Macchi
Project Dates
Event, Technology, Design, Marketing, Networking
For over thirteen years, Maine Fiberarts has been advancing fiber arts—spinning, knitting, weaving, sculpture, mixed media, felting, quilting, embroidery and so much more—through numerous successful, impacting projects. These include: our Midcoast gallery and headquarters, Maine Fiber Arts Festival (1999-citywide shows and conference), The State of Fiber (2004-115 exhibits and events at museums and galleries held yearlong), Maine Fiberarts Tour Map & Tour Weekends (2006-2012-60,000 printed maps plus online versions directing visitors statewide), Maine Fiber Resource Guide (2013-online listings with visuals), image libraries, exhibitions, art representation and web presence. Resulting sales, connections, teaching opportunities, networking and growth are building Maine's creative economy.
Project Goals
What were the project goals?
To increase awareness for the fiber arts, to promote networking amongst colleagues, to stimulate sales and teaching opportunities, to advance new work, to foster learning and to have Maine become known for its excellence in fiber.
Have they changed over time?
Goals have expanded as our work has become better known. Also, our approach to promoting this field as we learn more about art representation, become better skilled at photography, refine our web and graphic skills, etc.
Who are the project partners and stakeholders?
Beyond the fiber community, stakeholders include: our members, directors, volunteers, local businesses, artists and farms. Funders have included National Endowment for the Arts, USDA, Maine Arts Commission, private foundations and philanthropists.
Project Specifics
How was the project implemented? What were the steps taken?
Executive Director Christine Macchi oversaw all aspects of these projects along with assistance from part-time staff, interested board members, and volunteers. Steps are too numerous to describe in this slot, but cover: planning, field research, graphic design, production, continual promotion, marketing, and evaluation. Everything started with the development of a database listing community stakeholders.
Have they been refined over time?
What were your major obstacles?
Small amount of funding available for the arts, recognition of the importance of the arts as an economic driver, continual grant raising, recalcitrance on the part of artists and craftspeople who are all working other jobs and have limited time and resources.
Who or what was instrumental in overcoming these obstacles?
Inspiring mentors
What top three suggestions would you give to others attempting a similar project?
1. interview those who have come before you in doing similar work
2. engage the community early on and bring people together to celebrate
3. find aspects of the project that stimulate your own creative growth at the same time
Project Impact
How has this project contributed to creative community building?
I didn't realize when beginning this application that you preferred one project, so included all, but I think it's vastly more interesting to look at all this work as a whole. Yes, representing fiber work has stimulated sales, connections, visibility, community, and presence. Our work has involved State agencies for agriculture, tourism, arts, and economic development.
Why do you consider the project successful, as related to your project goals above?
Original goals have been exceeded in every way.
Were there unexpected impacts?
Unexpected impacts include the challenge of creating a "thriving community," whereby we learn that by nurturing the good of the whole, we are, in turn, nurturing themselves. This is a difficult concept to live by.