Waterville Creates! received a $75K grant from the National Endowment for the Arts in May; Community Design Workshops, open to the public, will be held in October and November 2018
Waterville, Maine — Waterville Creates!, one of Maine’s leading arts and cultural organizations and a key driver in making the city a vibrant destination in central Maine, earlier this year was awarded a $75,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Our Town program to undertake, in partnership with the City of Waterville, Colby College, and other partners, a community re-design process for Downtown Waterville’s central greenspace, Castonguay Square. Community members are invited to participate in public design workshops scheduled for Wednesday, October 17th, 2018 at The Center, 93 Main Street and Wednesday, November 14th, 2018 at the Chase Community Forum in the Bill and Joan Alfond Main Street Commons. All are welcome to attend, there is no charge to participate.
“Castonguay Square is a lovely greenspace located in the heart of our historic downtown district, but its current design is not particularly inviting,” said Shannon Haines, President and CEO of Waterville Creates! “In this time of unprecedented investment in the downtown, this project will give the community an exciting opportunity to help create a dynamic, welcoming space right in the center of it all. The process will also build community capacity for future projects and help to restore a sense of pride and civic engagement.”
The project kicked off in September 2018 with a site visit by architects from Beyer Blinder Belle of New York and Mitchell & Associates of Portland. After a walking tour of Castonguay Square and the RiverWalk, the architects met with stakeholder groups that included downtown business and property owners, City employees, and representatives from organizations that currently use the Square for events and activities. For the next phase of the project, Waterville Creates!, in partnership with the city and Colby College, will host a series of community design workshops that are open to the public and designed to understand how the park is currently being utilized and determine the community’s collective vision for its future. The dates for the first two community design workshops are Wednesday, October 17th and Wednesday, November 14th – the meetings are scheduled to begin at 5:30pm.. Refreshments will be provided.
After the first two workshops, the architects will begin developing preliminary design concepts which they will present to the communityfor feedback at a final workshop in January 2019. The goal will be to have a final concept for presentation to City Council in February 2019.
In the creative placemaking process, public, private, not-for-profit, and community sectors partner to strategically shape the physical and social character of a neighborhood, town, tribe, city or region around arts and cultural activities. Creative placemaking animates public and private spaces, rejuvenates structures and streetscapes, improves local business viability and public safety, and brings diverse people together to celebrate, inspire, and be inspired. Key elements of this process are inclusivity, intention, and relationship building with all community stakeholders.
The NEA announced 60 awards totaling $4.1 million supporting projects across the nation through the NEA’s Our Town program. “The variety and quality of these Our Town projects speaks to the wealth of creativity and diversity in our country,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “Through the work of organizations such as Waterville Creates! in Waterville, Maine, NEA funding invests in local communities, helping people celebrate the arts wherever they are.” Waterville Creates!’s $75,000 award was the largest non-governmental Our Town grant awarded in the state of Maine.
About Waterville Creates!
Waterville Creates! is a non-profit on a mission to promote, support, and grow greater Waterville’s arts and cultural scene. Collaborating with regional arts and culture institutions and their supporters, together we are strengthening our community as a vibrant creative center, increasing access to creative opportunities. Learn more at https://www.watervillecreates.org and learn more about our ongoing community capital campaign for the Downtown Arts Center at http://www.downtownartscenter.org.