The City of Portland's Nonprofit Arts Agency
Creative Portland's mission is to support the creative economy through the arts by providing essential resources, by fostering partnerships, and by promoting Portland's artistic talents and cultural assets. As the official nonprofit arts agency, we support economic development efforts by strengthening and stimulating our workforce, creative industries, and enterprises.
Our signature programs include First Friday Art Walk, Arts in the Chamber, an annual Arts & Culture Summit, and other programs that provide direct services to the arts community including fiscal sponsorships, professional development workshops, and showcases to promote local talent like Hear Here. We continue to provide services specifically designed for artists, artisans, and creative entrepreneurs, addressing such topics as grant-writing, money matters, pricing art work, and starting a creative business. We convene groups from diverse artistic genres and welcome the creative community at a monthly "Monday Morning Drop By."
Portland is a destination for young people fresh out of college, highly skilled professionals, retirees, entrepreneurs—anyone who wants to become part of Portland’s distinctive zeitgeist. We welcome visitors, but what we really want are new residents who share our sensibilities and values.
Ten years ago, our founding president Andy Graham set out to attract 10,000 creative-minded people in 10 years. Not 10,000 artists, but 10,000 people who value arts and culture. We believe the momentum is building in celebration of the arts and cultural life of Portland, and our goal is to sustain and nurture the exceptional local talent including visual artists, performing artists, writers, and creatives.
If you like what we do, please let us know and share with others.
What We Do
Creative Portland strives to attract people who value our creative community and support the artists and creative entrepreneurs who already live here. Here are some of our key projects:
Creative Portland promotes Portland as an ideal place to live and work. While Maine is universally recognized as tourist destination, we want people to consider Portland a great place to start a business, pursue a career, retire, or raise a family. So we are connecting members of Portland’s broad creative community to one another and to like-minded people in other cities who may consider moving here.
“In Portland, it’s two degrees of separation, not six.” 2 Degrees Portland is a networking service for creative types (engineers, artists, entrepreneurs, designers, “big thinkers”) who want to find out what it’s like to live and work in Portland. When someone contacts 2 Degrees, our coordinator puts them in touch with someone with similar interests who can answer their questions about who to know, which neighborhoods to live in, where to walk the dog, where to buy local produce, or the best place to launch their kayak. We also host 2 Degrees mixers so that our volunteers can get to know one another and new arrivals have a place to meet new friends.
First Friday Art Walk, which began in 2000, has blossomed into a monthly arts and cultural event that takes place on the first Friday of every month (regardless of weather) throughout the city, centered primarily in the Arts District. Over 3,000 people come downtown each month to visit galleries and museums, see live performances, buy work from street artists, and greet friends as they stroll along city streets.
Arts in the Chamber is a brief performance, presentation, or demonstration at the beginning of City of Portland, Maine City Council meetings. Initiated by Mayor Ethan Strimling, it is designed to showcase the broad range and depth of Portland's creative talent.
Portland's Arts & Culture Summit is an annual covening to address internal strategic planning and cultural plan implementation. It addresses private investment opportunities for arts impact and cultural tourism opportunities for maximum outreach. Panelists include cultural stakeholders, creative leaders, and city staff.
For more information about these and other projects, please contact us. The City of Portland website has more information about the Creative Portland Corporation.