The Arts And Cultural Alliance of Freeport (ACAF), with support from the Town Of Freeport, worked with Reinholt Consulting on to develop a Freeport Cultural Plan.
The Freeport Cultural Plan:
- Identifies community priorities with respect to arts and cultural activity;
- Provides strategies to enhance and develop arts and cultural opportunities for all residents; and
- Recommends policies to expand the creative economy of Greater Freeport.
Cultural plans, much like land use plans, provide a framework to guide municipalities in future development. Freeport Economic Development Corporation (FEDC), in its Vision 2025 Action Plan, recognized development of Freeport’s creative economy is essential to the Town, and the Freeport Cultural Plan provides guidance, inspiration, and support to our growing, vibrant arts and cultural community. A broad cross-section of the community contributed to the plan via round-table discussions, community meetings, and public surveys.
Get the Details
Reinholt Consulting has set up a page with links to interactive survey data and documents related to the plan. >> Visit the Freeport Cultural Plan page.
How We Got Here
Input from engaged citizens throughout this process has been critical to the success of the effort. From the very beginning we reached out in a variety of ways. Here are highlights of the process:
- March 2016 – ACAF, FEDC and the Town Of Freeport submit an application for the Maine Arts Commissions CCED Phase 1 grant to fund the development of a cultural plan. Many local arts and cultural groups sign on as Community Partners and write letters of support for the application, including Greater Freeport Community Chorus, Freeport Players, Greater Freeport Chamber of Commerce, MASISTA, Visit Freeport (formerly Freeport USA), the Open Stage Coffee House, RSU5 drama teachers, and Freeport Community Programs. The Town of Freeport pledges matching funds from the Arts District TIF. The grant application is unsuccessful, but with the groundswell of support for a plan, ACAF raises funds privately and with the Town matching funds is able to hire Reinholt Consulting and proceed with plan development.
- November 2016 – a series of Community Conversations are held with focus groups of businesspeople, artists, teachers and nonprofit cultural organizations.
- November 18, 2016 – Public Meeting to Kickoff Planning Process is held at Freeport Community Center. Representatives from a cross-section of the community — artists and non-artists alike — gather to learn more about what a cultural plan is, what it can do for Freeport, and what the next steps are in the process.
- December 9, 2016 – Community Conversation is held at Freeport Library. Public is once again invited to join the conversation and share ideas about priorities to address in the plan.
- January 2017 – Focus groups are convened to hear from groups such as businesses and youth, who were under-represented at previous meetings.
- March-May 2017 – Public Survey conducted. Surveys tailored to the general public, cultural organizations & businesses, and artists are distributed online and at locations around town. Target for a community of our size is to get 150 responses…we receive over 300 responses!
- Summer 2017 – Reinholt Consulting analyze the survey data, information gathered at public meetings and focus groups, and regional data to develop recommendations for goals, objectives, and strategies.
- September 25, 2017 – Public Meeting on Plan Goals and Objectives is held at Freeport Middle School. Using survey results as a basis for discussion, Reinholt Consulting gets input from local citizens, businesses and organizations to clarify the goals and objectives of the plan so they accurately reflect the values and priorities of the Freeport community. These goals and objectives are the critical underpinnings for the Freeport Cultural Plan.
- October 19, 2017 – Public Meeting on Strategies is held at Freeport Community Library. Participants discuss strategies to achieve the goals and objectives affirmed at the September 25 meeting.
- March, 2018 – Freeport Cultural Plan is delivered!
Now the real work begins! The whole community — town government, organizations, and individuals — are invited to tackle the action items in the Freeport Cultural Plan that fit with their interests and missions. Many of the action items will require town-wide support and collaboration, but many can be achieved by small groups with a passion for making arts and culture a significant part of Freeport’s identity.
ACAF has already identified a few items that it will work on in the coming year, including supporting efforts to create a community event signboard, building an inventory of Freeport’s existing arts and cultural assets, and convening periodic meetings to build connections among those engaged in arts and cultural activity.