Portland, Maine, has a lot going for it. It’s been ranked among the top US cities for safety, jobs, family life, hipster appeal, greenness, “foodie-ness,” and overall livability. (Among its quirkier designations are #1 Fourth of July, #1 Best Driving Ability, and #2 Most Eligible Women.)
This progressive coastal city also has a thriving arts community. From a numbers perspective, Portland’s arts and culture sector supports 200% more jobs than the average for similar regions. Portlanders also spend 15% more on the arts than the national average – a testament to the richness of Portland’s cultural offerings, and to the importance of art to Portland residents.
All this is palpable during a stroll through the city, which boasts a staggering 35+ museums and galleries. These run the gamut from the traditional (there are nautical-themed paintings aplenty) to the exotic (Sarajo sells art objects and artifacts from around the world) and bizarre (the International Cryptozoology Museum features a life-sized Bigfoot model).
Portland is also home to a plethora of artist resources, including Creative Portland, a nonprofit agency devoted to growing and sustaining the city’s creative industries. Among its many projects are First Friday Art Walks, a networking resource for creatives called 2 Degrees Portland, and a series of professional development classes targeted for artists. If you’re looking for reasons to move to Portland, Creative Portland’s exuberantly pro-Portland website will be happy to supply them.
It was natural, then, for Assets for Artists to strike its first partnership outside of Massachusetts with the City of Portland. Thanks to the vision and commitment of local partners Creative Portland and community development nonprofit Coastal Enterprises Inc. (not to mention the City of Portland itself), we enrolled our first batch of ten Portland artists in the spring of 2013. They are painters, drawers, designers, photographers, printmakers, videographers, musicians, sound artists, writers, and sculptors.
And they are FABULOUS.
Having had some time to get to know them, we now introduce them to you in a series of in-depth profiles.
Keep checking back to meet them all!