Two Maine Communities Receive $50,000 Creative Community Development Grants

Two Maine Communities Receive $50,000 Creative Community Development Grants
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
For additional information contact Darrell Bulmer at: 207/287-6746 or e-mail:

 Augusta, ME – The Maine Arts Commission announced today that community representatives from the High Peaks Region of Western Maine and Presque Isle will receive grants of $50,000 in order to effect community revitalization in their region.

The grants, designed to support dialogue and partnership between municipalities, business and the cultural sector regarding economic development, have been awarded through the Maine Arts Commission’s Creative Communities = Economic Development Grant (CCED).

A panel of experts, consisting of representatives from various grant foundations and economic development agencies, met to consider applications from communities all across Maine. After long and careful deliberations they chose to award the grants to the High Peak Region and Presque Isle. The panel noted a considerable amount of strengths in the applications from these two successful regions.

The High Peaks application demonstrated a high level of regional collaboration that is aligned with educational and natural resources initiatives. The panel felt that this application demonstrated a dispersed model that could be a guide for other rural regions, both in Maine and nationally. Panel members also felt that the High Peaks Region was clearly at a point in their cultural revitalization planning where this funding would be transformational.

The region proposed a cohesive plan that included the creation of a cultural council to oversee the rebranding of the region as a mountain arts destination. This rebranding effort is comprehensive and includes key steps, such as the hiring of a part-time coordinator, the creation of a regional website, the development of a marketing plan, and the production of a cultural asset map.

Senator Tom Saviello demonstrated his enthusiasm for the region’s success by stating, “I am so proud of the group that put this application together. Thanks to the ‘team’ effort this awarded grant will allow the talent and towns found in the High Peaks Region of Western Maine to showcase their work, and the history of their towns.”

An equal amount of enthusiasm was shown by members of the Presque Isle community. The application, which evidenced a clear understanding of arts and culture as economic development tool, proposed an exciting, visible project with a good mix of focused activities.

Wintergreen Arts Center and the University of Maine at Presque Isle proposed to use the funds to develop the second and third floors of 149 State Street into a downtown gallery, bringing together the two institutions and the entire building to create a Cultural Campus. The Cultural Campus will create a location of excellence that attracts leaders to the Presque Isle community, integrating the university into the downtown district and becoming an avenue for student engagement and community development.

Martin Puckett, Deputy City Manager, City of Presque Isle, typified the regional support by stating, “The City of Presque Isle is very excited about this project!  Not only will it increase the vitality and liveliness of the downtown and riverfront of Presque Isle, it aligns our common goal of establishing Presque Isle as the cultural center for the area. While the City has taken many steps to revitalize the downtown area (including offering financial incentives, promoting pedestrian traffic, addressing truck congestion, and protecting the historical character with progressive zoning), this grant will fit as a major keystone towards a vivacious community. This project builds upon the many recent successes in our creative community and, as proven in many other examples of establishing a cultural art center in the downtown, not only will this increase the artistic experiences in the area, it will also serve as an economic stimulus.”

Two CCED Grants are delivered annually to two or more nonprofit cultural organizations within a geographic community or region. Applications are sought from communities/regions with a strong commitment to cross-sector collaboration that seeks to strengthen the cultural assets of their community.

The Maine Arts Commission is currently seeking letters of interest for this year’s CCED Grant application process. The deadline is February 22. Full details of this and other grant programs and services that serve Maine’s communities can be found on the web pages of


Contact: Darrell Bulmer

Phone: 207/287-6746


Arootsakoostik Music Festival

We sure do love music here at Arts Aroostook!  Arootsakoostik is a Music Festival we have been looking forward to all year.  Check out the day’s schedule and plan accordingly!  Afterwords, check back in with us and let us know who you loved!  Share pics and video- we’ll post them here.

Most of all, get on out and enjoy one of the premiere events of the County!

Wintergreen Arts Center and UMPI announce “10×10” art auction

Wintergreen Arts Center and UMPI announce “10×10” art auction

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Event to raise funds for Cultural Center in Downtown Presque Isle

Officials with the Wintergreen Arts Center and the University of Maine at Presque Isle are collaborating to host their first ever 10×10 Art Auction, which will help them to establish a Cultural Center in the downtown area. The auction will be held Friday, May 4, from 6-9 p.m. at the Wintergreen Arts Center during the May 2012 First Friday Art Walk.

As part of the 10×10 event, organizers are providing participating artists with blank 10-inch by 10-inch canvases to fill in any way they choose – “Any media goes.” Artists have between now and the end of April to complete their works, which will be put on display in the Barresi Financial Gallery at WGAC starting May 4. A silent auction and reception will be held that evening from 6-9 p.m. Each canvas will hold a reserve bid of $50. Bidding will end promptly at 8:30 p.m. and winning bids will be announced at 8:45 p.m.

Co-organizers Wendy Gilman-Zubrick, WGAC Executive Director, and Heather Sincavage, UMPI Assistant Professor of Fine Art, said they are excited to see the work artists produce based on these simple parameters.

“We are tickled by the quality of artists we have on board for this event – both local artists and artists from Southern Maine, New England and across the United States,” Gilman-Zubrick said. “The sheer enthusiasm with which the artists are approaching our cause – and their canvases – is incredibly energizing!”

Organizers also are excited about how funds raised during this event will allow WGAC to expand on its successful programming, and support Wintergreen and UMPI’s efforts to make 149 State Street a Cultural Center with established museum-quality, downtown gallery space on the floor above WGAC.

Funds raised from the auction will help Wintergreen to sustain the momentum that has been built through programs such as “Saturday Open Studio,” “Toddle-In Time,” and “Girls’ Night Out!,” and will allow for other family programming and visual arts initiatives, as well as programs in the performing arts, to be explored and expanded upon.

“The funding is especially needed to help sustain our afterschool art enrichment programming as our Department of Education Arts and Parks grant comes to an end in November,” Gilman-Zubrick said. “Wintergreen programming is on an upward arc and the funds we raise as part of this auction are going to help us to continue moving in that direction.”

For UMPI, the auction event and the larger project it will support are the beginnings of an exciting new venture that officials believe will benefit students, the arts community, the downtown area, and the community at large.

“We’re very excited about having gallery space like this set up in a building that is so closely associated with art and its connections to community,” Sincavage said. “Not only will this be an opportunity to feature more of our regional talent in a centralized location but also we are excited to have a facility that will offer national and international exhibitions to our local community.”

While the second floor gallery will include room for climate controlled storage of the University Collections, the goal is to have a more expansive gallery space that will allow for larger art work to be displayed and larger group exhibitions to be held, and will serve as a real-world learning space for students. The downtown gallery will allow students to gain experience in the professional practices they’ll experience within the art field.

There’s a lot of work and fundraising to do before the Downtown Cultural Center becomes a reality, but officials are confident that with exciting events like the 10×10 Art Auction and with community support like they have seen in the past, it will happen soon enough.

“This collaborative effort capitalizes on the momentum created by our respective organizations and is enhanced by our joint vision,” Sincavage said. “Not only does it allow for unique engagement for our students, but it also creates vibrancy in the downtown that makes Presque Isle a better place to live and a desired place to visit.”

For more information about the 10×10 Art Auction, contact Gilman-Zubrick at or 762-3576, or contact Sincavage at or 768-9442.

UMPI to celebrate Zuras’ debut novel with reading, book signing

UMPI to celebrate Zuras’ debut novel with reading, book signing

Thursday, 22 March 2012

A University of Maine at Presque Isle English Professor has had his debut novel published and the University will celebrate with a reading and book signing event with the author on Monday, April 9 at 7 p.m. in the Campus Center. The public is invited to attend this special event, which will include a reception featuring light refreshments, and wine available through a cash bar.

Richard Lee Zuras, UMPI Professor of English and Creative Writing, explores Zain’s final year of childhood, his father’s dismissal from the CIA, and his family’s near disintegration in this coming-of-age work The Bastard Year, published by the independent press, Brandylane Publishers.

“When Zain’s father is fired from the CIA in March of 1980, it creates a tremor that threatens to upend the family’s precarious balance,” the back cover reads. “Zain’s awakening to a world riddled with cracks and his adolescent attempts to mend them are the stuff from which young men, and great stories, are made.”

Zuras was able to bring verisimilitude to his novel due to his upbringing – he was born and raised in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., where his father worked as a CIA analyst. Zuras already has received praise from his peers for the novel.

According to James Robison, author of The Illustrator, “In this spare and unsparing novel, Richard Lee Zuras breaks down the critical Iran Hostage days of 1980, the gas shortage year, the year the country pivoted from Carter’s idealism to Reagan’s patriotic pragmatism. This narrator is gallant in his restraint, jarred by the violence—both psychic and physical—of the private lives of adults, but he tells all without protest or deflecting guile, without delusions, without the gnawing irony that chews away at so many lesser works of and about those times. This novel of commencement and initiation is set at a determining intersection of histories, East and West, a moment in the life of this country mirrored in the fate of the narrator. A profoundly affecting work.”

And Cathie Pelletier, the author of Running the Bulls had this to say of the novel: “The most riveting characters in literary fiction are those young protagonists who must survive not just impending maturity (which often comes too soon) but the complicated world of dysfunctional adults who make the laws and set the rules. Zain, in The Bastard Year, is one such character. His coming of age story is told by the author with so quiet a reserve that it echoes loudly in your memory long after you’ve read.”

Zuras earned his MFA as the McNeese Fellow at McNeese State University under the auspices of Pulitzer Prize-winner Robert Olen Butler. He also did graduate work at the University of Colorado, George Mason University, and the University of North Dakota, where he worked under James Robison. At UMPI, Zuras serves as the advisor to the Film Studies program and he has written box-office reviews for the online site

Zuras has been published in more than 20 journals, including Passages North, South Dakota Review, Story Quarterly, and The Laurel Review. He has also garnered several prizes, including the Yemassee Fiction Award and the Bernard O’Keefe Fiction Scholarship at Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and was named a Wesleyan Writers’ Conference Scholar.

All are encouraged to attend this special evening with Richard Lee Zuras. The April 9 event will include a reading and Q&A by the author, followed by a book signing. There will also be a reception featuring light refreshments, and wine available through a cash bar. Copies of the book will be on display and for sale.

The Bastard Year is currently available for sale online at and, and at the UMPI Bookstore for $10 per copy. For more information about this event or the novel, please contact the University’s Community and Media Relations Office at 768-9452 or

Christmas Shopping: Holiday Craft Shows and Bizarres

What to give a unique gift this season that no one else will have?  Want to support your local community?  Here’s a list of all the weekend holiday craft shows this season- check them out!

Island Falls 31st Annual Craft Fair, Sat. Nov 5, 9am-3pm, Island Falls Municipal Building

Blaine Craft Fair, Sat. Nov. 5, Recreation Center (old ACI school building), ACI St. Mars Hill,  9am

Houlton Harvest Bazaar, Sat. Nov. 5, 10am-2pm, Church of the Good Shepherd, 116 Main St.

Mars Hill Methodist Church Fall Bazaar, Sat. Nov 5, 9am

Sherman Christmas Craft Fair, Sat. Nov. 5 10am-4pm, Sherman Recreation

Stockholm Arts & Craft Fair, Sat. Nov 5 & Sun. Nov. 6, 9am-4 pm, American Legion, Main Street

Benedicta St. Benedict’s Annual Bazaar, Sat. Nov 5 & Sun. Nov. 6, 4:30pm-6:30pm, St. Benedict’s Parish Hall, Benedicta

Houlton Harvest Breakfast & Holiday Craft & Food Fair, Sat. Nov. 12, 8am-noon, First Baptist Church, 46 Court St.

New Sweden Covenant Church Christmas Fair, Sat. Nov.19, 11am-2pm, New Sweden School, Westmanland Road

Houlton Annual Winter Craft & Gift Fair, Fri. Nov. 25 & Sat. Nov. 26, 11am-5pm, Houlton Rec Center, 128 Main St.

Fort Kent Annual Arts & Craft Show, Sat. Nov. 26 & Sun. Nov. 27, 10am-4pm, UMFK Gym, Pleasant Street

Presque Isle Christmas Bazaar, Sat. Dec. 3, 9am-2pm, Grant Memorial United Methodist Church, Fleetwood St.

Houlton St. Mary’s Church Christmas Craft Fair, Sat. Dec. 3, 9am-2pm, St. Mary’s Church, 110 Military St.

Reducing their Carbon Footprint: UMPI’s Pullen Hall ReDedication

This past Thursday, October 27th University of Maine at Presque Isle unveiled the newly renovated Pullen Hall.  In effort to set an example within the community and reduce the carbon footprint of the entire university, Pullen Hall boasts a roof lined with solar panels, a new bio-mass boiler supplied with pellets by a local Ashland company, the removal of asbestos floor and ceiling times, and the additional of energy efficient siding and windows.

You may ask, what does this have to do with the arts?  Well, UMPI’s very own Art Department is housed in the picturesque top floor of the building and hosted the ceremony in the Pullen Gallery filled with work of current students taking classes in the program.  Their work was admired by local business people, state dignitaries, campus alumni and members.

UMPI invites you to stop by and admire the changes to the new building and perhaps you may get a peek into the Art Studio where students are benefiting from the fruits of the campus, state, and community efforts!

PLAN YOUR WEEKEND NOW: Weekend Roll Out- October 27, 2011

  Weekend Roll Out: October 27, 2011 

Pullen Hall Rededication, Thurs. Oct 27 noon, UMPI, Presque Isle

Book signing by Jacque Poitras, Thurs. Oct 27 7:30pm (Canadian time), Connell House, 128 Connell Street, Woodstock, New Brunswick

Pianist Adam Gyorgy, Thurs. Oct. 27 7 pm, Caribou Performing Arts Center

Kindred Harps, Fri. Oct. 28 4-6 pm, Blue Moon Gallery, 66 Main St., Houlton

Meagan Toussaint, musician, Fri. Oct. 28 6-8pm, Coppers Lounge, Main St., Presque Isle

“Will the Circle Be Unbroken?” dinner theater, Fri. Oct. 28 & Sat. Oct 29, 6pm, Crow’s Nest, Presque Isle

Ghostly Guided Lantern Tour of Historic Downtown, Fri. Oct 28 & Sat. Oct. 29 8pm-9pm, Historic Fire Station, Church St., Presque Isle

Book Sale, Fri. Oct. 28 10am-6pm & Sat. Oct. 29, 10am-2pm, Caribou Public Library, High St., Caribou

Our Lady of the Valley 7th Annual Craft & Treasure Fair, Sat. Oct. 29 10am-6pm & Sun.  Oct. 30 10am-4pm, in the basement of the Catholic church at 379 Main St., St. Agatha

Booth Brothers Southern Gospel Concert, Sat. Oct 20, 3pm & 7pm, Houlton Community Arts Center at Houlton High School

Halloween Spooktacular, Sat. Oct. 29 at 10am & 1 pm, Wintergreen Art Center, 149 State Street, Presque Isle

Paul Lapointe & Sherri Calhoun, musicians, Sat. Oct 29, 6:30-closing, Courtyard Café, Houlton

Travis Cyr, musician, Sat. Oct. 29 7:30pm, Irish Setter Pub, Main St., Presque Isle

Kounty Kids Got Talent Show, Sun. 2 pm, Caribou Performing Arts Center, 308 Sweden St., Caribou

Hello World!

Welcome to Arts Aroostook!  We are excited to present to you, Arts Lover, coverage on amazing events going on in Aroostook County; in depth profiles on artists & community leaders; and interesting facts about local venue offerings you may not have known about.

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