Greater Franklin Development Council and Arts Farmington are initiating an effort to develop a cultural plan that aims to engage multiple sectors of the community, including local government, businesses, nonprofits and individuals.

The planning process will identify the Southern Franklin County region’s cultural assets, such as arts facilities, historic venues, arts and cultural organizations, artists, crafters, performers, and recreational and agricultural resources. The process will identify community priorities centered on how to bolster these assets and how to enhance regional economic development.

The public is invited to share their perspectives at the cultural plan launch meeting Thursday, September 20 at 6:00 p.m. at the UMF Olsen Memorial Student Center North Dining Hall. In addition, two Community Conversations will be held. The first one is scheduled for Thursday, October 11at 6:00 p.m. at Main-Land Development Consultants 69 Main Street, Livermore Falls. The second Community Conversation will be held Wednesday, October 17 at 6:00 p.m. at Life Perks Coffee Co. 430 Main Street, Wilton.

Community input is a top priority as the group investigates cultural resources in Southern Franklin County and crafts a plan that will guide cultural development over the next five to ten years.

Charlie Woodworth, Executive Director of Greater Franklin Development Council, noted the rich fabric of arts and cultural assets here in Franklin County. “We saw an opportunity with funding from the Maine Arts Commission and Maine Community Foundation to measure our cultural assets, hear from citizens what is important, and strengthen what we have for our regional benefit,” said Woodworth.

The group hired Saskia Reinholt, of Reinholt Consulting, to lead the planning process. Reinholt specializes in cultural planning and strategic planning. She has worked on projects including an Arts and Heritage Plan for the High Peaks Creative Council in Franklin County and the Somerset County Cultural Plan among others.

“Cultural planning is an essential part of regeneration strategies for communities,” Reinholt said. “Many communities suffer from economic decline and shrinking populations. Incorporating cultural planning into a community’s toolkit helps revitalize downtowns and regions.”

Two grants have been awarded to support the creation a cultural plan. The grants include $10,000 from the Maine Arts Commission‘s Creative Communities = Economic Development phase  program and $10,000 from the Maine Community Foundation Community Building grant.

For more information on the Franklin Hills Cultural Plan, please contact Saskia Reinholt at 207-218-2072.


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