WATERVILLE – Waterville Creates has been recommended for a $10,000 Grants for Arts Projects award from the National Endowment for the Arts in support of the “Common Threads” project, which will invite the community to engage in programming at and around the new Paul J. Schupf Art Center in downtown Waterville. Waterville Creates’ project is among 1,125 projects across America totaling more than $26.6 million that were selected during this second round of Grants for Arts Projects fiscal year 2022 funding.
“The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support arts and cultural organizations throughout the nation with these grants, including Waterville Creates, providing opportunities for all of us to live artful lives,” said NEA Chair Maria Rosario Jackson, PhD. “The arts contribute to our individual well-being, the well-being of our communities, and to our local economies. The arts are also crucial to helping us make sense of our circumstances from different perspectives as we emerge from the pandemic and plan for a shared new normal informed by our examined experience.”
“We are thrilled to have been recommended for a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts in support of ‘Common Threads,’ which will kick off in July with a series of artist-led workshops inviting community members to share their stories,” says Shannon Haines, president/CEO of Waterville Creates. “This engagement process will help to inform the development of community-centered arts programming throughout our first year in the Paul J. Schupf Art Center.”
Slated to open in December, the Paul J. Schupf Art Center will serve as the new, consolidated home of Waterville Creates and its film, performing, and visual arts programs and a new contemporary gallery of the Colby College Museum of Art.
The “Common Threads” project will be led by artists Elizabeth Jabar and Colleen Kinsella, founders of the Future Mothers artist collective, who will invite the community to participate in a series of artmaking and storytelling events within an elaborately decorated tent designed to inspire reflection and creativity. Using printmaking as a platform, Jabar and Kinsella will ask participants to gather, talk, and create art in response to a series of questions: Who was here before us? Who is here now? How do we honor these stories? What are the untold stories? How do we build meaningful connections to each other? The resulting narratives, captured through artmaking, writing, portraits, and recordings, will become part of a collective community conversation and will culminate in the inaugural exhibition at Ticonic Gallery in the Paul J. Schupf Art Center.
“As socially engaged artists, we create open spaces to engage our imagination, dream of a better world, and experiment with new organizing models to relate, connect, and build community,” said Jabar and Kinsella. “‘Common Threads’ strives to lay the groundwork for tackling complex questions and giving space to community members to be seen, heard, and celebrated.”
“Common Threads” events and workshops include printmaking at the Waterville Farmers’ Market on July 7 from 3-5 p.m.; bookbinding with artist Evelyn Wong at Greene Block + Studios on July 14 from 6-8 p.m.; community portraits with photographer Séan Alonzo Harris at Greene Block + Studios on July 21 from 6-8 p.m.; multiple activities at Colby College Museum of Art on July 30 for Community Day from 12-4 p.m.; and drop-in sessions at Greene Block + Studios on Wednesdays and Fridays from July 13-29 from 12-5 p.m. All events and workshops are free and open to all.
For more information on the “Common Threads” project, visit watervillecreates.org/common-threads/. For more information on other projects included in the Arts Endowment grant announcement, visit arts.gov/news.
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 watervillecreates.org.