L/A Arts began in 1973 as the LPL Plus program established by the trustees of the Lewiston Public Library. Within a few years, the Auburn Public Library joined to form LPL Plus APL. In the early years, volunteers and library staff presented an impressive series of arts and humanities programs including concerts, foreign films, art lectures and public policy discussions. Gradually the organization developed programs to bring artists into the schools in the two cities,
Over the years, L/A Arts has earned local, regional and national recognition for its model cultural programs in education, performance and community service. This recognition has enabled L/A Arts to attract funding and other support from such prestigious institutions as the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Lila Wallace/Readers Digest Foundation, and the American Festival Foundation. L/A Arts was instrumental in the citing of Lewiston-Auburn as one of the 100 Best Small Arts Towns in America, a publication of John Muir Publications.
In 1998 L/A Arts was awarded the Noyce Award for Non-Profit Excellence. The award, created in 1989, annually recognizes a Maine nonprofit organization’s exceptional leadership and service to the community, with a different focus each year. That year the award honored a community organization that successfully uses arts and culture in its community building strategies. L/A Arts was chosen for taking a leadership role in promoting the arts and cultural participation in its community.