February 26, 2024
Contact: Chris Melville, [email protected]

David Byrne Leads Two Sold-Out Programs at Waterville Creates

Waterville, ME—Waterville Creates is pleased to welcome musician and artist David Byrne for two sold-out programs on Saturday, March 30, at the Waterville Opera House and Paul J. Schupf Art Center in downtown Waterville.

At 7:30pm March 30, Byrne will bring his inspirational speaking series Reasons to Be Cheerful to the Waterville Opera House. The live event series is organized by Byrne’s online magazine Reasons to Be Cheerful, a publication he launched to document successful solutions to the world’s most pressing problems. In Waterville, Byrne will share the incredible story of Maine’s Penobscot River, which has undergone a stunning revival through a landmark dam-removal project that became a model for similar efforts around the world.

Byrne will be joined by Chief Kirk Francis of the Penobscot Nation and Laura Rose Day of the 7 Lakes Alliance in an hour-long program designed to uplift and encourage anyone who believes in conservation and collective action. His appearance at the Opera House is presented with major support from the Harold Alfond Foundation.

“David Byrne is truly a dream guest for Waterville Creates,” said Shannon Haines, president + CEO of Waterville Creates. “In addition to being a creative genius who has made incomparable contributions to the disciplines of music, theatre, and film, he has also demonstrated through the work of his foundation a commitment to making the world a better place by highlighting positive stories and creative solutions to today’s global challenges. He embodies the creativity and positivity that we work so hard to cultivate here every day.”

At 2pm March 30, prior to Reasons to Be Cheerful, the Maine Film Center will screen an original 35mm print of Byrne’s 1986 feature directorial debut True Stories, which the Los Angeles Times called, “a movie of effortless cool, the perfect entry for a late-’80s time capsule.” Byrne will be in attendance for a Q&A session following the film.

“What better way to welcome such an influential and beloved guest as David Byrne—whom we’ve seen on the big screen in a big suit more times than we can count, and who excites us every time—than with a special 35mm screening of his directorial debut, truly an indie classic, at one of the few places you can enjoy such an experience anywhere in Maine?” said Mike Perreault, executive director of the Maine Film Center.


Tens of Thousands Raised for Youth Arts Access

Providing youth with year-round access to transformative arts experiences is a key tenet of Waterville Creates’ mission. In keeping with this message—and corresponding perfectly with Youth Art Month in March—Byrne has generously agreed for all ticket proceeds from both Reasons to Be Cheerful and True Stories to be donated to the Youth Arts Access Fund (YAAF). A unique program to Waterville Creates, YAAF guarantees that all youth, regardless of income, ability, or background, have access to outstanding arts programming and arts education opportunities. Established in March 2022, the fund provides youth aged 18 and under with free access to Waterville Creates’ events and programs, including movies at the Maine Film Center, theatre camp, plays, concerts, and performances at the Waterville Opera House, and art and clay classes and camps at Ticonic Gallery + Studios. Since its launch, YAAF has been accessed over 2,700 times, providing around $95,000 in free arts experiences.

Together, ticket presales from Reasons to Be Cheerful and True Stories have raised over $20,000 for the Youth Arts Access Fund.

“YAAF is a unique program in terms of both its scope and the ease with which it can be accessed,” Haines said. “We aren’t aware of any other arts organization that provides unlimited access for youth to any and all paid arts programs without requiring any demonstration of need. Removing cost as a barrier for youth participation in the arts is core to our mission of providing arts experiences for all. The funds raised from Reasons to Be Cheerful and True Stories will make an immediate, lasting impact.”


About David Byrne + Reasons to Be Cheerful
Reasons to Be Cheerful launched in 2019 as a “tonic for tumultuous times.” It has since grown into a leader in the field of solutions journalism, publishing stories about positive change from across the globe. Its popular weekly newsletter has over 130,000 subscribers, and its live event series has brought its stories to life on stages from Knoxville, Tennessee to Portland, Oregon.

David Byrne is a musician, artist, and the founder of Reasons to Be Cheerful. He is also the founder of the Arbutus Foundation, a nonprofit that celebrates, re-presents, and amplifies ideas found in surprising places, ensuring that our picture of the world contains the joy that it should, and is accessible to everyone. Reasons to Be Cheerful is the foundation’s first project.

About Waterville Creates
The mission of Waterville Creates is arts experiences for all. Offering diverse programming for all ages, Waterville Creates is building a thriving, connected, and equitable community through shared experiences in the arts. For more information about Waterville Creates, visit