Kay Stephens reporting for the Pen Bay Pilot, Monday May 25, 2020
BELFAST—The town of Belfast has come together to help the very artists, chefs, and creatives that give the town its vibrancy and life.
During the COVID-19 crisis, the hardest hit economically has been small business owners, many of them self-employed Maine artists seeing a 25 percent decline in revenue.
The summer-long events are spearheaded by The Belfast Creative Coalition in solidarity with local art galleries and organizations, theatre groups, performers, visual artists, dancers, musicians, writers, poets, and chefs.
Other supporters include: Belfast Community TV, Belfast Community Radio, Waterfall Arts, Waldo County Bounty, the city of Belfast and poster artist Krista Odom
Belfast Creative Coalition is behind the latest venture to lift up these artists and restaurateurs with a new city and county-wide project called The Sky is Rising, a venture to replace the lack of crowds that typically flock to the galleries, workshops, classes, and restaurants in the summer.
“When anything needs to be designed, built, promoted, or performed, the artists are the first ones we call,” said BCC Director Larraine Brown. “They’re always beyond generous, often the first ones to donate their time and work. We put out an assessment to our arts communities. And the stories we’re getting back from artists speak of tremendous loss during this time. They work in a gig economy and also the first ones to be cut. Right now—summer— is the time when people come to Belfast to buy art, hire artists to do work, take classes to learn and that’s not happening.”