Entries Filed in 'Creative Economy'

Hope is on the horizon for Maine’s small businesses and healthcare

July 25th, 2014 · No Comments · Business & Innovation, Creative Economy, Editorials, Issue 41

Front Street Shipyard has enhanced Belfast's creative economy. Photo by Ramona du Houx

Front Street Shipyard has enhanced Belfast’s creative economy. Photo by Ramona du Houx


EDITORIAL

Artists, artisans, farmers, engineers, designers, IT computer professionals, inventors, microbrewers, and unique retailers can be found in every corner of our state. More café’s and restaurants are opening daily. Maine’s creative economy, embracing technology, talent and tolerance, is in full swing. These, more than 143,000 small businesses, entrepreneurs are our mainstay.

Two out of every three jobs are created by a small business—and more than 280,000 Mainers are employed by a small business.

They are forging ahead, despite a bad business climate created by Gov. LePage’s administration. But small businesses hurt when their taxes go up because the state has cut back funds to municipalities forcing towns to increase property taxes. They hurt when there is a new law that doesn’t allow a business, where you live and work, to deduct part of their property expenses on the Maine tax return. They hurt when people’s incomes stagnate.

Under Governor LePage’s watch, Maine ranks forty-sixth in the nation for jobs recovered since the recession. While the rest of the country has recovered 101 percent of lost jobs, Maine has only recovered 48 percent, and most of them are in the Portland area.

According to CNBC, Maine is ranked 45th on its list of America’s Top States for Business– including specific rankings as 46th in infrastructure and 48th in overall economy.

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Congressman Mike Michaud: His passion to help people and his economic policies

July 25th, 2014 · No Comments · Community Maine, Creative Economy, Economy, Exclusive Interviews, Issue 41

Mike Michaud helped secure funds for UMaine's first in the Americas floating wind turbine project, VoltunUS. Photo by Ramona du Houx

Mike Michaud helped secure funds for UMaine’s first in the Americas floating wind turbine project, VoltunUS. Photo by Ramona du Houx

Back in 2005 the Federal Government’s Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Commission announced that there would be closures of military bases across the country. Maine was targeted at three major facilities: Kittery-Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Brunswick Naval Air Station (BNAS) and Defense Finance and Accounting Services Center (DFAS) in Limestone.

The State’s Congressional Delegation swung into action along with Gov. John Baldacci, and the communities effected. Press conferences and meetings were held at each threatened facility, sometimes one a day at each location, and Congressman Mike Michaud was at the majority of them, from promoting the attributes of workers in Limestone to rallying shipyard employees in Portsmouth. He fought for the workers and their communities in Portsmouth and BNAS in Maine and D.C., even though those bases were not in his congressional district.

After ten years of reporting on the Congressman’s activities, I’ve learned that there is nothing more important to him that making sure the people of Maine are treated fairly and have good paying jobs with healthcare benefits.

Congressman Mike Michaud gives a shipyard union leader a congratulatory hug for helping to Save the Shipyard from BRAC closure in 2003. Photo by Ramona du Houx

Congressman Mike Michaud gives a shipyard union leader a congratulatory hug for helping to Save the Shipyard from BRAC closure in 2003. Photo by Ramona du Houx

Recently we talked about his economic development plans for Maine.

Q: What is your highest priority?

A:

My biggest priority is building a Maine economy that works for everyone, not just the wealthiest among us. That starts with job creation, but it also means an intense focus on education, starting with early childhood, and continuing through college; it means a higher minimum wage and expanded access to health care for nearly 70,000 Mainers, and 3,000 veterans; and it means empowering business to grow and expand.

Under Gov. LePage and his failed policies, Maine has lagged behind the rest of New England in private-sector job growth. His “open for business” policy is nothing but rhetoric. He’s actually driven hundreds of millions of dollars of private-sector investment out of the state.

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Nouveau Cirque Theater/New circus comes to Maine setting the stage for a transformation in New England shows

July 25th, 2014 · No Comments · Arts & Entertainment, Creative Economy, Issue 41

A narrative dance theatre performance in Harrison Bergeron Escapes from the Zoo performed at Bowdoin College. Photo by Ramona du Houx

A narrative dance theatre performance in Harrison Bergeron Escapes from the Zoo performed at Bowdoin College. Photo by Ramona du Houx

In May, at Bowdoin College, audiences were in awe watching aerial dancers twirl high overhead on “silks” that wrapped round their arms as they completed dare devil acts. It was hard to imagine these performers were not professionals—but they were students in Kathryn Mederos Syssoyeva’s course, Interdisciplinary Devising. And it wasn’t just a circus act; they were part of a narrative dance theatre performance in Harrison Bergeron Escapes from the Zoo the second Circus-Theatre-Cabarets ever performed in Maine.

Amazingly no student had ever performed aerial stunts— many had majors in areas unrelated to theater. The staging – on four levels (floor, two balconies, a catwalk, and aerial silk) was remarkably complex, yet the constant dance-like motion of the performers made everything flow.

“Harrison Bergeron was a wonderful opportunity to stage an amalgam of dance, drama, circus and live music – with a strong social narrative. The Bowdoin production was an experiment in trans-disciplinary theatre,” said Syssoyeva, who was a visiting Assistant Professor of Theater and Dance. “And it was an exploration of the power of live performance – of what makes theatre fundamentally different from film: intense, physical immediacy. With the rise of collectively devised performance, theatre is becoming ever more multi-disciplinary. Despite eternal funding difficulties, despite ever more sophisticated technologies of mediated performance, live theatre is experiencing a revival – especially physical theatre. At the same time, the New Circus movement (nouveau cirque) is surging in North America and Europe. Our production of Harrison Bergeron is a cross over from devised physical theatre into New Circus.”

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Waterville’s potential as Maine’s art hub grows with Common Street Arts

July 25th, 2014 · No Comments · Arts & Entertainment, Community Maine, Creative Economy, Issue 41

Rachel McDonald,  Common Street Arts program manager, explains CSA workshops. Photo by Ramona du Houx

Rachel McDonald, Common Street Arts program manager, explains CSA workshops. Photo by Ramona du Houx

In the heart of downtown Waterville, 16 Common Street, there is a relatively new non-profit arts organization that is helping to build the city’s creative economy with exhibits and arts education. This summer the line up of workshops offered by Common Street Arts (CSA) is truly impressive, and so are it’s shows.

“At the core we are a cooperative arts and education venue that is divided into two spaces. The gallery presents excellent art of all sorts from a wide range of emerging artists to more established artists and people in between. The studio side provides educational programs,” said Rachel McDonald, who has been Common Street Arts program manager since August after leaving a position at the Portland Museum of Art.

“I jumped at this opportunity— to build up the organization. That’s what I’m passionate about,” said McDonald.

Art on exhibit at CSA, Waterville. Photo by Ramona du Houx

Art on exhibit at CSA, Waterville. Photo by Ramona du Houx

The Maine non-profit 501-c-4 gallery has around eight juried and curated exhibitions per year and the community responds. The openings, with local foods and wine, always have tremendous turnouts.

“Creating a space for people to view art is essential for any downtown to help grow it’s creative economy,” said McDonald. “The Waterville community has been great coming out for our openings. We sometimes have a film events where we collaborate with Colby cinema studies. Other times we’ve had musicians play and artists talk about their work and give lectures.”

CSA has become a community center for arts in Waterville.

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Neil Rolde’s new book: Real Political Tales- Short Stories by a Veteran Politician

July 25th, 2014 · No Comments · Books, Community Maine, Creative Economy, Issue 41, Neil Rolde

Author/politician, Neil Rolde talks about his new book. photo by Ramona du Houx

Author/politician, Neil Rolde talks about his new book. photo by Ramona du Houx

Author/Statesman Neil Rolde has written a work of fiction focused on his experiences called Real Political Tales: Short Stories by a Veteran Politician.

“If you’ve ever served in a state legislature, lobbied one, or just read about their activities in the newspaper and wondered what goes on behind the scenes, you’ll love this book! From page one I couldn’t put it down and I loved every word of Neil’s stories crafted from ‘behind the scenes’ in the Maine legislature,” wrote Congresswoman Chellie Pingree in the book. “The characters may be fictional, but thanks to Neil’s insights and knowledge, coupled with his wonderful writing style, they all came to life.”

Real Political Tales: Short Stories by a Veteran Politician is published by Maine’s Polar Bear & Company.

“The personal element is stronger in the affairs of legislative bodies than of any other branch of government, but it is a hard thing to convey in straight reporting. The public understanding of the legislative process is poorer as a result. As an experienced and influential legislator, with a great gift for storytelling, Neil Rolde is the ideal person to remedy this defect, and this volume of Political Tales delivers on that promise,” wrote U.S. House of Representative Barney Frank in the book. “The stories are educational and entertaining in equal measure, and people who read them will be better prepared to understand what goes on when legislators meet and transact important public business.”

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A summer of art focus on contemporary art at Portland’s museum and art college

June 18th, 2014 · No Comments · Arts & Entertainment, Community Maine, Creative Economy

The Portland Museum of Art (PMA) and Maine College of Art (MECA) will feature art talks on the Third Thursday of each month that explore tends in contemporary art locally and nationally.

The programming is part of a new Third Thursdays initiative in which both institutions will stay open until 9 p.m. to create another evening for the visual arts in downtown Portland, Maine.

The major topic of conversation will revolve around contemporary art in Maine and its influence on our cultural identity.

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Neil Rolde to talk about his books and John Willey will recite his poems in Portland

June 18th, 2014 · No Comments · Arts & Entertainment, Creative Economy

A literary night of readings on Friday, June 20th from 6pm to 8pm, surrounded by art, will take place at The Constellation Gallery, 511 Congress Street. Award winning author/statesman Neil Rolde will tell stories about his books and life. Each vignette will be inspired from a poem written and read by John Willey from his book Observed From a Skin Boat.

Having a story evolve from a poem is a new concept to engage people in the art of the written word.

“I’m looking forward to the evening,” said Rolde, a Maine renowned historian, former politician and, philanthropist. “I’ve never done anything like this before. It should be fun and it’s a unique way for people to understand the relevance of poetry and research.”

Most of Mr. Rolde’s books are extensively researched and involve the history of Maine and its people. The plight of Native Americans has been a reoccurring theme in Rolde’s life since his childhood and he helped Maine’s tribes while he worked in the Curtis administration. These experiences led him to write one of Maine’s definitive historic books: Unsettled Past, Unsettled Future: The Story of Maine Indians.

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Portland’s non-profit art collective, the Constellation Gallery, needs a new home

June 17th, 2014 · No Comments · Arts & Entertainment, Creative Economy, Issue 41

Congress Street in Portland closed partly to cars drew in more visitors to galleries                                                                                     and restaurants during the Friday Night art walk of the Old Port festival,                                                      including the Constellation Gallery.photo by Ramona du Houx

Congress Street in Portland closed partly to cars drew in more visitors to galleries and restaurants during the Friday Night art walk of the Old Port festival, including the Constellation Gallery.photo by Ramona du Houx

The Constellation Gallery offers people a chance to experience art from a variety of disciplines and styles. The diversity on display in the exhibits and studios are exactly what the collaborative of artists likes to offer.

The recent exhibit, Dreams, had 14 different artists, displaying 27 artistic expressions of dreams that stirred one’s imagination. There was something for everyone, which made the exhibition stand out. Many galleries often have solo shows that require the viewer to devote themselves to one artist’s vision. Here there were14 different flavors to choose from. This collaborative approach is key to the mission to Portland’s only non-profit art gallery collective.

“We’re a collective helping to build the creative economy of Portland by engaging the community with what we do at the gallery and through our art, our programs and community partnerships,” said Jos Ruks, President of the Maine Artist Collective. “We’re a group of around thirty individual stars that together form this constellation; I like to call it the Star Gallery. We have members from around the world, now living in Maine, which makes a richer art experience with cultural insights coming through the work.”

The collective is structured democratically, so members can choose the leadership of the organization and participate with the running of the gallery and it’s educational programs.

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Portland, Maine will host 74 cruise ships with more than 82,000 passengers in 2014

June 14th, 2014 · No Comments · Business & Innovation, Creative Economy

Portland city hall.  photo by Ramona du Houx

Portland city hall. photo by Ramona du Houx

The 2014 cruise season is currently underway in Portland. The City’s port will host 74 cruise ship visits with more than 82,000 passengers between June and November. This season the city will also see five maiden voyages, an unprecedented number. Maiden voyages include the Pearl Mist on July 9, the Ruby Princess on September 25, the Legend of the Seas on September 26, Oceania’s Insignia on October 14, and the Crystal Serenity on October 20.

American Cruise Lines conducts a total of 28 homeport operations in Portland this season. They homeport the Independence (102 passengers) 18 times and the Glory (49 passengers) seven times for their popular Maine Coast & Harbors cruise. The Glory also visits Portland five times as she sails from Providence, RI on her Grand New England cruise series.

Pearl Sea’s launches its new cruise line and sails the Pearl Mist to Portland on June 30 with her maiden voyage on July 9. She then homeports in Portland three times during the season.

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Maine’s Old Port Festival, now a three day celebration, has become a huge success

June 11th, 2014 · No Comments · Arts & Entertainment, Business & Innovation, Community Maine, Creative Economy, Issue 41

Portland, Maine's old Port Festival. All photos by Ramona du Houx

Portland, Maine’s old Port Festival. All photos by Ramona du Houx

With glorious summertime weather and an expanded three-day schedule of events to energize and engage any festival-goer the Old Port Festival was a huge success this year.

Families enjoyed science presentations at the park on Exchange Street designed for kids as well as a rock- climbing wall near the City Hall and the traditional parade on Sunday featuring the Shoestring Puppet Theater with their fantastic papier-mâché puppets that are two stories high.

“I loved the big sun, and the pirate gave me a high-five,” said John Connors, 8.

The Circus Conservatory perform at the Old Port Festival. photo by Ramona du Houx

The Circus Conservatory perform at the Old Port Festival. photo by Ramona du Houx

The mythological puppets energized crowds as they rambled amiably down Exchange Street. This year there was something for everyone at the Old Port Festival.

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