Thank you to everyone who attended the Belfast Creative Coalition Annual Meeting!
Over forty cultural leaders, government leaders, creatives, and community members attended Belfast Creative Coalition’s (BCC) 2016 Annual Meeting. Kimberly Callas, BCC Executive Director, gave a welcome, started off the meeting with the National Endowment for the Arts video that features Belfast, Waterfall Arts and BCC members, introduced board members, and shared BCC’s 2015 accomplishments and 2016 goals.
“It’s so great to see leaders and representatives from the creative sector, individual creatives, cultural organizations and leaders from city government,” Callas told attendees. “Some of you are here to hear to learn more about the creative economy, some to hear about plans to create a cultural plan for our area and others are here to touch base with the creative sector. We are often so busy running our events, studios and organizations that this becomes a rare opportunity to say hello. So, Welcome.
Before I share some of the Belfast Creative Coalition’s accomplishments and goals, I’d like to introduce our board and staff that contribute so much to our programming.
Martha Piscuskas, Co-Director, Waterfall Arts
Thomas Kittredge, City of Belfast Economic Development Director
Betty Johnson, Waldo County Commissioner
Elaine Bielenberg, Community Leader, Arts Advocate
Susan Hill, Collaborative Arts, Educator
Stacey White, Educator, Set Decorator, Writer
and Robin Jones, Director, Actor.
BCC has four committees: the Organizational Committee, Marketing Committee, the Belfast Art Walk, and the Cultivate Committee – these committees are made up of additional ‘creatives’ and organizations, including: Our Town Belfast, local gallery owners, Maine Farmland Trust, and individual artists.
Julia Clapp is our administrative assistant and membership coordinator.
I’d also like to thank our leading volunteers from this past year, Susan Guthrie, Mary Mosier, Allison Harrell, and again Elaine Bielenberg. These people are so generous with their time it makes my job such a pleasure. Thank you.”
Callas then went on to list BCC’s accomplishments in 2015 and goals for 2016.
“It’s been a busy year! I thought we would get a break once winter hit – you know, winters in Maine, but the creative output just doesn’t seem to want to stop.
- 25,000 Unique Visitors to the BCC online arts and culture promotional platform www.BelfastArtsandCulture.org. (BCC has received many testimonials from people that have moved to the area that said they ‘lived’ on the BCC site before moving to Belfast.)
- 211 Arts and Cultural Organizations, Groups and Individuals are included in our online directory.
- In 2015, over 1500 Arts and Cultural Events listed to our website home page and calendar.
- BCC’s Cultivate Fall Tour attracted hundreds of visitors, filled local hotels, was covered by Channel 2 and 5 news channels and travel writers.
- Last June, Grow Smart Maine, held it’s Economic Growth through the Arts panel in Belfast because of our creative economy reputation in the state.
- 2015 BCC coordinated over $65,000 in local volunteer hours.
BCC 2016 goals include:
- BCC has been leading efforts to grow the Belfast Art Walk committee. The Belfast Art Walk executive committee now has representatives from Maine Farmland Trust Gallery, Waterfall Arts, Our Town Belfast and area artists. You will notice the difference this year, the 2016 art walks will have additional arts and craft tents coordinated by OTB, ‘farm to gallery’ food at galleries coordinated by MFT, and a ring-leader giving live art walk tours led by BCC’s new board member Robin Jones.
- 2016, pending funding, we are putting together a professional development series for creatives in all fields
- This May, All Roads Music Festival returns to Belfast. BCC is proud partner with Launchpad, the non-profit that organizes the festival. All Roads was a huge success last year, so save the date Saturday, May 21st.
- In 2016, BCC is conducting a Creative Economy Study of the Greater Belfast Area. This study will give solid data on the amount that arts and culture contribute to our local economy. From this study, BCC will then lead the effort to create a cultural plan for our area. Study results are expected in spring of 2017.
You will see us around this year collecting these surveys at all kinds of arts events. Please fill them out when you see them. You fill out one at each event.
Membership and and your Business Sponsorships are a very important part of keeping this the online promotional directory and events calendar going. Please support us as we support the creative sector with your membership.”
Then, the New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA) gave a talk on the creative economy: how the direct cultural spending and employment of a community, indirect and related spending, and related cultural spending combine to impact the community’s economy. From NEFA’s presentation: “The creative economy is a powerful engine of growth and community vitality. Together, artists, cultural nonprofits, and creative businesses produce and distribute cultural goods and services that generate jobs, revenue, and quality of life. A thriving cultural sector works hand-in-hand with thriving communities.”
After NEFA’s presentation, Julie Richard, Executive Director of the Maine Arts Commission, gave a talk on how to create a cultural plan. Cultural planning, as defined by the Maine Arts Commission, is a process through which cultural priorities are identified to enhance a community or region’s cultural development.
Following this, Martha Piscuscas, co-director of Waterfall Arts and BCC board member, facilitated a community input session on what the community would like to see in a cultural plan for our area.
You can participate in the community input session now by getting in touch with BCC! Email firstname.lastname@example.org to answer these questions.
What priorities should be included in the cultural planning process?
Who should be involved?
Do you want to be involved?