On April 28, 2015, a citizens group led by Freeport Players and assisted by Freeport Economic Development Corporation (FEDC) hosted a public meeting to bring the broader community into a discussion of the needs and interests of Freeport’s arts and cultural sector.
The group had been meeting informally since early 2014 to explore the possibility of creating an arts & cultural center in Freeport. Members had interviewed individuals and organizations engaged in arts and cultural activities to find out what kind of spaces they needed and would support. The group looked at arts centers that have been created in Maine and around New England to learn what they could about the keys to success and the challenges that would need to be faced in creating such a center. [See Report Of Arts Committee June 4, 2015.] By the April meeting they were ready to broaden the discussion.
At the public meeting the group learned a few things:
- There is interest in an arts & culture center, but there is work to be done to figure out what it will contain, how it will be paid for, and how it will be managed.
- There is immediate, strong interest in developing ways to help arts/culture groups promote what they do.
- The group needed a more formal organization to continue the work.
Since the public meeting, the fledgling group has made steady progress:
- The non-profit Arts & Cultural Alliance of Freeport (ACAF, formerly Freeport Arts & Cultural Alliance) was incorporated in June 2015. The founding board and steering committee included representatives from arts groups and the business community, individual artists in various disciplines, and interested members of the community at large.
- This website was launched in 2016 along with ACAF’s Facebook page and emailed newsletters to form the Virtual Kiosk — a portal to arts and cultural activity community-wide.
- In May 2018, ACAF released the Freeport Cultural Plan. ACAF and the Town of Freeport worked with Reinholt Consulting in a systematic process of research and assessment that led to the creation of the plan that will guide ACAF’s work going forward and assist others interested in supporting and growing the presence of arts and culture in our community.
- In August 2018, ACAF hired Hannah Gathman to be our community’s first Arts & Culture Coordinator. Hannah will work with ACAF and the community to support efforts to implement the Freeport Cultural Plan. At the same time, we have expanded our Board of Directors to include community members who are strong advocates for the diverse stakeholders in our arts and cultural sector, including our visual and performing artists, cultural organizations, local businesses, our public and private schools, and more.
We welcome your participation, support and feedback. Your involvement is especially important as we move into a new phase of the organization.