Dinah Minot, executive director of Creative Portland, unveiled an ambitious agenda for 2018 at last night’s board meeting at its headquarters at 84 Free Street, on the outskirts of the Old Port, of Portland.
However, it was decided that the board would not vote to adopt the “work plan” just yet because in the words of board president David Brennerman, “…there is still work to be done on the agenda.” Brennerman is a recent past member of the city council.
At the top of her report to the Board, Minot, asked for assistance from board members in fundraising as well as in pursuing grants. “At some point, I’d like this to be a regranting organization,” said Minot. Presumably offering grants to artists in the area looking for funding to get started in this highly competitive field. Minot said she is committed to raising $25,000. to keep the on-going programs fully funded in 2018. Some of those programs include 2 Degrees, Arts in the Chamber, and First Friday Art Walk, and serving as hub for artists within the city of Portland, although this is not a complete list.
Several board members did volunteer to take over Minot’s responsibilities organizing the First Friday Art Walk and Arts in the Chamber to free her up for other responsibilities. Communicating with the board of directors is another time consuming responsibility of Minot’s.
Other board members expressed concern about the lack of visibility that surrounds Creative Portland and what it does for the community of artists. An article in Maine Biz, dated 12/27/17, Creative Portland Sees Opportunity for the Arts in New Year, written by Renee Cordes, was cited as an excellent example of the publicity that the non-profit needs to raise awareness of its existence. mission and to attract funding. In the article Dinah Minot said part of its goal is to “nurture local artists.” She also said that she would like to turn Portland into an “arts destination” as well which it currently is not. A number of art galleries have folded in recent years in the arts district in downtown Portland. Years ago, the now defunct and free “Portland Daily Sun” a daily newspaper covered Creative Portland board meetings and their activities extensively. That coverage gave the city funded board much needed visibility that has not existed since it ceased publishing in 2014.
“The needs of individual artists and musical groups are quite different,” said board member Emily Isaacson, a conductor and representative of several classical music non-profits. She said that those she represents need resources on how to organize as non-profits and other information vital to their success. “This information is not available in one location,” she said. Carol Aten, vice president of the board and chair of the newly formed governance committee said this matter is something to be taken up at the committee level. Board president David Brennerman said: “We can’t do everything for everyone.”
“There is lots of fresh energy and enthusiasm here on this board,” said Greg Mitchell, Director of the city’s Economic Development Office and a long-time Creative Portland board member. “I’m pleased to see that. It’s all good!”