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Cultural Alliance of Maine

June 30, 2021

Born during the pandemic

I’ve been reflecting on the many silver linings of the pandemic lately – not to look back and feel sad but to look forward and encouraged. Collectively there are so many and ones that we can learn from to help form our future work and play.

The Cultural Alliance of Maine (CAM) pilot project was established during the pandemic which starkly illuminated that Maine lacks structures to enable the cultural sector to learn, organize, and act as a unified statewide community .

Leaders from across the state, representing diverse nonprofit cultural organizations, came together to establish this alliance to:

  • explore models to address infrastructure gaps long-term
  • advocate for solutions to the unique challenges facing the sector now, and 
  • create pathways for ongoing peer-to-peer learning and information exchange. 

With generous support from The Onion Foundation, Morton-Kelly Charitable Trust, Virginia  Hodgkins Somers Foundation, and Libra Foundation, CAM hired Carla Pugliese as the Pilot Project Director to lead the work of convening stakeholders, assessing needs, researching comparable sector-wide alliances, building bridges with state government and other sectors, and determining next steps following the pilot project period.

CAM represents their members’ interests. Carla said: “We are collectivizing the cultural voice so there is more power at the State House, at the federal level and at the local level for the cultural sector. The pandemic shed light on the need for this type of organization but Carla also said: “the Cultural Alliance of Maine “is not a pandemic response. It is about building something that is useful and valuable and rich for many, many years going forward.”

Arts organizations are represented in CAM but also included are historical societies, libraries, and both for-profit and nonprofit entities such as galleries, theaters and museums, as well as individual artists and makers. “The attempt to bring together such an encompassing umbrella organization is a first”, Carla said.

To learn more CLICK HERE and read Carla’s letter to the cultural sector which provides the plan for the pilot.

To sign up for the monthly newsletter to hear ongoing news CLICK HERE.

Carla Pugliese, Cultural Alliance of Maine Director

Steering Committee

  • Mark Bessire, Portland Museum of Art
  • Steve Bromage, Maine Historical Society
  • Shoni Currier, Bates Dance Festival
  • Ben Fowlie, Points North Institute & Camden International Film Festival
  • Hugh French, Tides Institute
  • David Greenham, Maine Arts Commission
  • Sarah Hansen, Greater Portland Landmarks
  • Stuart Kestenbaum, Maine State Poet Laureate & Monson Arts
  • Monica Kelly,  Bay Chamber Concerts
  • Nat May, Onion Foundation
  • Daniel Minter, Indigo Arts Alliance
  • Linda Nelson, Portland Ovations
  • Chris Newell, Abbe Museum
  • Bari Newport, Penobscot Theatre Company
  • James Ritter, Maine State Library
  • Abbe Levin, Maine Office of Tourism – Contractor
  • Molly O’Connell, Maine Association of Nonprofits – Liaison

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