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.
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. We are so excited to have the opportunity to develop an innovative marketing tool that will allow 24/7 access to the arts in Portland. A branding workgroup, made up of community stakeholders, is working with us to give feedback on the development of a cultural app. Creative Portland has hired local Yarn Corporation to implement our vision to provide a user friendly self-guided tour of Portland, complete with ticket links and augmented reality features.
Our goal is to sustain and nurture exceptional local talent including visual artists, performing artists, writers, and creatives. "The Living Action Plan of 2018" helps to guide our efforts toward sustainability with the implementation of programs to attract patrons to Portland as a world-class art destination.
If you like what we do, please let us know and share with others.
What We Do (when we are not in the middle of a pandemic):
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.
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.
In addition to Creative Portland’s signature programs, like First Friday Art Walk and Creative Portland Art Gallery, FY2021 notable accomplishments included:
The Portland Artist Relief Fund established in March 2020, raised over 95K total and disbursed awards to over 100 artists.
Creative Portland Website overhaul and Creative Portland Cultural App in development for Spring 2022 launch.
Arts Banners for Public Health Campaign - Interdepartmental City collaboration to install vibrant and impactful arts messaging throughout the City and on flagpoles, supported by a “Keep Maine Healthy” State grant.
The Portland Arts & Culture Summit September 2021 was postponed until 2022.
Creative Bus Shelter Initiative: Installed the 4th shelter in May 2021 at the Portland Transportation Center. Received a second NEA Our Town Grant for the Creative Bus Shelter Initiative Round 2, with four additional public art installations projected in the summer of 2022.
Fiscal Sponsorship program - including Black-Owned Maine, Gulf of Maine Eco Arts, Arts at Greenwood Garden, Flukes and Speedwell Projects
For more information about these and other projects, please contact us. The City of Portland website has more information about the Creative Portland Corporation.