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United effort to enhance local talent
RUMFORD -- A new effort is underway that could help make western Maine a better place to live.
You're going to be hearing a lot about The Teaberry Arts Council (The TAC), which is gaining momentum even before its scheduled kickoff meeting at 7 p.m. on Monday at 49 Franklin.
Scot Grassette, who's heading this effort, noted, "A lot of the elements of what this council may become already exists. It's a matter of getting everybody organized and forming a coalition so that we can actually do some things together, as a united group."
TAC's mission is to create an organized and diverse artistic culture in Western Maine's foothill communities by uniting current and future groups concerned with visual and performing arts.
A big part of this would be 49 Franklin's Mystic Theater, which recently celebrated its first year of openings its doors to artists actively creating with anything from acrylics and oils, to charcoal and pencils, to, cake, fruit, balloons and more. A big part of this is Kaleidoscope, held the first Friday of each month.
Also expressing an interest in becoming a part of TAC are Skye Theater and Crossroads International Celtic Arts Festival, Western Foothills Kids Association, and Pennacook Art Center.
Grassette, who has met several times with TAC members Barbara Radmore and Susan DeRoehn, said Monday's meeting will be a time to share information, gain membership and for nominations and election of officers. The regular meeting date for TAC will be the third Tuesday at 6 p.m. at 49 Franklin.
They also also holding a logo contest. At Monday's meeting, a prize package will be announced. It is asked that all entries be digital and sent by email to email@example.com. The deadline is Nov. 19.
Grassette said they are looking at the Mahoosuc Arts Council in Bethel as a model. "They have bylaws and this group may want to do the same so that we have a course."
"We may also be able to work with Mahoosuc, or work with what they do up in Rangeley. So now it becomes more regional -- all of western Maine -- and you can do bigger things that way," he noted, adding that an example of bigger was the recent Celtic Festival, which encompassed three counties.
"One of the things we're looking at is becoming a 501C3, because there's money out there available, and why shouldn't our community have some of those benefits?" said Grassette, who said they can begin to do things before they get the 501c3 status.
In looking at Mahoosuc, Grassett said the question is what do they do for income and what do they have for expenses.
They have a part-time director, 20 hours per week but an option would be to go strictly volunteer. They also need to develop a strategic plan.
Grassette said one thing TAC could do is put together events that can enhance Rumford's big four events -- Pumpkin Fest,
Lumberjack Festival, Fourth of July and Christmas in the Valley. However, TAC's efforts would be restricted to just Rumford, so members from other communities are welcomed as well.
"We're looking at some lofty goals to help our community be a better place to live," said Grassette.
Teaberries are a regional plant native to Western Maine. They are unique, colorful, and sweet. They were used for medicinal purposes by Native Indians. The leaves are one of the few that remain vibrant green year around.
The Teaberry Arts Council is a four season organization. It is unique, colorful and has a medicinal effect on our local culture and economy.
We envision a united coalition of local artists, performers, interested organizations and individuals working together to continuously enhance the arts through programs, classes, performances and events. We envision an artistic community where events are coordinated and styled to coincide and enhance each other, while improving the local economy by keeping locals here, and attracting visitors purchase food, fuel, and goods. We see youth being mentored and encouraged to participate in the arts, and we see a community growing in a culturally diverse environment.
Our mission is to create an organized and diverse artistic culture in Maine’s Western Foothills communities, by uniting current and future groups concerned with visual and performing arts. We will promote and encourage local artists, and work to bring diverse programs to the River Valley Region, while educating our youth to grow in the arts.
The Teaberry Arts Council foresees a future that because of unified and organized groups working together with similar goals will:
• Enhance the artistic culture in our communities.
• Encourage local artist to participate in programs, and display their talents.
• Be a leader in our communities by participating, and enhancing our local economic goals.
• Mentor, teach, and encourage our youth in a variety of visual and performing arts.
• Work to generate programs that enhance and improve cultural and artistic diversity.
• Recognize, promote and encourage local artists, artisans, and performers.
• Work to bring world renowned artists and performers to our region for the artistic and economic betterment of our communities.
• Create a website and a community calendar to keep everyone informed of local artistic events, programs, classes, as well as other activities in our community to keep an organized and somewhat balanced check of activities.
• Continued support and enhancement for local K-12 students within the school community.