Can poetry stitch a neighborhood back together? Come explore Libbytown with a Portland Trails walk along the Fore River, Inside Amtrak tour, Skateboard Jam, Bicycle ride and lots of Here’s Libbytown Poetry Banners. Start the day with a Meeting Place Molasses Donut and cup of Libbytown stories.
Come explore the neighborhood through ‘West End Snapshots’ photographs by West Enders, ‘West End Sings’ a concert of neighborhood choirs and choruses and Mike’s Walking Tour. Have a slice of Bonobo’s Meeting Place WENA pizza. In partnership with the West End Neighborhood Association.
Come explore the real Bayside, stories, secret spots, history, and play a new game - “Creative Placemaking in Action: Imagining a new public space,” invented by the Bayside Neighborhood Association. Enjoy 50 Art Cards, Bayside images carved by Daniel Minter and stories from Whole Foods, Pearl Place, Dyer’s Variety, City Hall, Planet Dog, Bayside Bowl, Flea For All, Portland High, Miss Portland Diner and YMCA. It’s all happening at the new “Phoenix Square,” Kennebec St. between Preble and Elm St.
Come explore exciting East Bayside. Kickoff at Peppermint Park. Good Fences for Good Neighbors murals, McKenzie Family Story Hour, Drumming, GreenDrinks Brewery Tour, Mayo St. Arts, Kennedy Park Community Soccer, Maine Jewish Museum, Sahara Club, Dominoes, Somali Poetry at the Maine Muslim Community Center, and a Meeting Place BBQ at Fox Field. In partnership with the East Bayside Neighborhood Organization.
Background: Vibrant neighborhood organizations are one of the most significant untapped assets available to cities as they struggle to face increasing challenges amidst diminishing resources. Unfortunately, Portland’s current neighborhood associations are small, consisting of fewer than 10 active members; contain very few or no people of color; and are incident based, organized more often to react to difficult issues than to proactively plan for the future of their communities.
Purpose: Meeting Place, is a multidisciplinary arts project designed to help five of Portland’s neighborhoods increase their capacity to meet these challenges by developing relationships, skills, knowledge and goals through tapping into the transformative power of the arts with a year long partnership with 10 professional artists and over 50 artists that live in the participating neighborhoods.
While promoting the arts as an integral tool in fostering community, Meeting Place will: strengthen neighborhoods and associations (N.A.s) as partners with government; expand the memberships of N.A.s to reflect the socioeconomic and cultural diversity of the communities they represent; identify and empower new community leaders; increase civic participation; improve the neighborhoods’ quality of place; and fortify the cultural and economic viability of these neighborhoods.
Strategy: Meeting Place will directly involve residents and businesses in their neighborhood associations in art workshops that focus on neighborhood histories, assets and challenges, capacity building and leadership development. These monthly workshops will encourage civic dialogue and restore a sense of neighborhood pride and unity.
Workshop topics include “Stories and Places of Meaning” with photographer Tonee Harbert; “Neighborhood History from Dinosaurs to Now” with the Maine Historical Society and former Maine Poet Laureate Betsy Sholl; “Mapping Relationships, Assets & Challenges” with USM Muskie School staff and visual artist Daniel Minter; and "Neighborhood Economic Development" with the city's Greg Mitchell and chorale director Elise Witt.
As part of building neighborhood capacity and organizational muscle, professional fundraisers will lead workshops to assist each neighborhood to raise $5000 towards the cost of its own public arts project. The year-long project culminates in the creation of five temporary public art works and a citywide celebration organized by project partner, the Portland Arts & Cultural Alliance and hosted by all of the participating neighborhoods and businesses.
Three Cheers and lasting thanks to Elmina B. Sewall Foundation for their continued support of Portland Works, Art At Works city and community arts project.
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