A new arts and economic development initiative launches in Lewiston Auburn

L/A Arts is pleased to announce the Place for Makers, a discussion and networking series to be hosted at various locations in Lewiston and Auburn. The series kicks off with Mike Rancourt of Rancourt  & Co. Shoecrafters on March 29th from 6-8pm. Discussion topics include production scaling, workforce development and opportunities in LA. Refreshments will be served.

The Place for Makers series focuses on introducing a new generation of artisan-makers to LA. With support from a National Endowment for the Arts Our Town Grant and in collaboration with Maine College of Art, Lewiston Auburn Economic Growth Council (LAEGC), and the Pratt Institute, L/A Arts is launching a series of networking and professional development sessions that will gather artisans from around the state at key locations in LA to show off the resources, creative talent, potential live/work space, and business support services available there.

Upcoming events are scheduled for Wednesdays through the end of May. The schedule and registration links will be posted on the L/A Arts website and social media.

L/A Arts – Louise Rosen, Director
207 782 7228

L/A Arts announces Ashley Bryan Days in LA

L/A Arts, the arts agency for the cities of Lewiston and Auburn, Maine has announced a new initiative, “Artist Days in LA.” The first edition will be a tribute to award-winning author, multi-media artist, and storyteller Ashley Bryan whose most recent book, Freedom over Me, about the imagined lives of eleven slaves, is the recipient of the Newbery Medal Honor.

“Ashley Bryan Days in LA” will unfold over a two-month period beginning in April, with in-school puppetry workshops by Figures of Speech Theatre, inspired by Ashley Bryan’s storytelling and puppets. On Saturday, April 29th the Emerge Film Festival (taking place throughout Lewiston/Auburn April 27, 28 & 29) will screen a feature documentary about Ashley Bryan’s life and work by filmmaker Richard Kane, titled “I Know a Man…Ashley Bryan”. On the weekend of May 6th, the Atrium Gallery at USM’s Lewiston Auburn College will open an exhibit of large format images of Ashley Bryan’s puppets, alongside the work made by the students, in an exhibit running through June 2nd.

In a joint announcement, Lewiston and Auburn Mayors Macdonald and LaBonte stated, “The Twin Cities are pleased to proclaim the first ‘Artist Days in LA,’ beginning with a tribute to Ashley Bryan, a man whose many artistic achievements have inspired generations. ‘Artist Days in LA’ will contribute to an enduring impression of our cities’ respect for the important role the arts play in the growth and well-being of the community and its citizens.”

Said L/A Arts Director Louise Rosen, “Ashley Bryan is a national treasure, and his much-beloved books have touched children and families everywhere.  As seen in the documentary film, he is a prodigious artist in many media, from stained glass to paint to collage, as well as poetry and song. Ashley’s wonderful found-object puppets sparked the idea for us to work with Figures of Speech Theatre to develop in-school workshops. It made absolute sense to collaborate with the Atrium Gallery at USMLAC, as Dean Joyce Gibson serves on our board. It’s a beautiful gallery and will be a joy to have the resulting student work exhibited alongside large format images of Ashley’s. A special exhibit of his book art was first presented there a few years ago, and he received an honorary degree from USMLAC in 2013. LA has a deep association with artists and artisans, and Artist Days in LA confirms the spirit of that association going forward.”

Maine Magazine is the exclusive magazine sponsor of “Ashley Bryan Days in LA.” Additional sponsorships are available.

FMI: director@laarts.org, 207.782.7228

Artist Days in LA: Ashley Bryan Days

Events & Activities

Children and students with ID admitted free to all events!
April 29 | Emerge Film Festival Programming
11:00am Free book reading “Freedom Over Me” by Ashley Bryan
Rinck Advertising – street level stage | 113 Lisbon Street | Lewiston

Followed by a reception in honor of Ashley Bryan, sponsored by the Maine Film Office
Rinck Advertising – 2nd floor cafe | 113 Lisbon Street | Lewiston

Free panel discussion “The State of the Arts in Maine”
Rinck Advertising – street level stage | 113 Lisbon Street | Lewiston
A panel discussion with sculptor Charlie Hewitt, filmmaker Sian Evans, musician Sean Morin. Moderator: Louise Rosen, Consulting Director, L/A Arts

Screening “I Know a Man…Ashley Bryan”
Franco Center | 46 Cedar Street | Lewiston
Followed by a q&a with filmmaker Richard Kane and Ashley Bryan

May 6
1:00 – 3:00pm Opening Reception
Student work inspired by Ashley Bryan
Exhibit of found object puppets and video of shadow puppets
Exhibit runs until June 2
The Atrium Gallery | USM Lewiston Auburn College
51 Westminster Street | Lewiston

About Ashley Bryan
Ashley Bryan first came to Maine after serving in WWII, to attend the Skowhegan School of Art. He settled here permanently in 1988 after retiring as emeritus professor of art at Dartmouth College. Although not published until he was forty years old, he has written and illustrated over 50 books, based on African folktales, or inspired by African-American spirituals and lives.  He has won numerous awards and nominations, including a Fulbright Fellowship and the prestigious Laura Ingalls Wilder and John Newbery Medals. He  lives in Islesford, on Little Cranberry Island.

About the Emerge Film Festival
The mission of Emerge Film Festival is to build awareness of independent films and to support a diverse cross-section of filmmakers, from established to “emerging” artists, from Maine, the U.S. and the world. We aim to promote the motion picture arts and to provide educational arts and culture opportunities for student filmmakers, the Lewiston/Auburn community and beyond.

Additional Programing at Auburn Public Library

LA Arts hosts 2016 Craft Apprentice Program Exhibition + Reception on Oct 6, 4-7pm


Masters + Apprentices: Work from Maine’s Craft Apprentice Program

will be on view at LA Arts, 221 Lisbon St. in Lewiston, ME
October 6 – November 7, 2016.

Opening Reception Thursday October 6, 4-7pm

free + open to the public

The exhibition highlights work from the Craft Apprentice Program (CAP), a seven-month statewide mentoring program founded in 2016 for contemporary craft practitioners.

Exhibiting Artists

Anne Emlein (master) + Rose Allard
Doug Wilson (master) + James Crawford
Linda Perrin (master) + Jacquelyn Jensen


Continue reading “LA Arts hosts 2016 Craft Apprentice Program Exhibition + Reception on Oct 6, 4-7pm”

LA Arts Executive Director to resign, search for new director begins

LA Arts Logo 2015 - RGB


LEWISTON/AUBURN: After running the organization for three years, Executive Director Joshua Vink is stepping down at the end of July. “It’s been a great ride, I’m so appreciative for the opportunities I’ve had to serve this community with work that I believe strongly in. I’m proud of the foundations we’ve established and the goals we’ve reached, and am hopeful for a bright future for L/A Arts and the arts and cultural landscape in the Twin Cities.” In his tenure, Vink took the organization in new directions, mainly around streamlining its work to four core programs: Arts in Education, Art Walk L/A, Ice Festival L/A, and Arts Agency Initiatives. The board of directors has announced that a search to replace Mr. Vink will begin in early May.

“I have always seen our work as the local arts agency as a support entity for the arts, advocating, collaborating and celebrating the wonderful artists and institutions which add such richness and vibrancy to Lewiston Auburn”, Vink says. This is seen through the emphasis on Arts in Education the organization has developed, the expansion of Art Walk into Auburn, installing the L/A Rattle sculpture by Charlie Hewitt on Lisbon Street, and working with local partners to develop Cultural Plan L/A. The organization is also beginning a new initiative with the Lewiston Auburn Economic Growth Council (LAEGC), the Maine College of Art (MECA) and Museum L/A called Downtown Creative Industries, which aims to give creative artisans and entrepreneurs business development and exhibition tools to help them start their own businesses and maker spaces.

Vink sees a future in Lewiston Auburn for the continued growth of these programs, but only through strong collaborative partnerships and robust Arts in Education programs. I hope to see the continuation of this approach, both developing artistry in young people and supporting our current professional artistic class to build and highlight the Twin Cities’ wonderful people and assets”.

Vink will be teaching at a college in New York in the fall.


Executive Director (Lewiston/Auburn, ME)

LA Arts seeks a full-time Executive Director for the 43 year-old local arts agency in Lewiston Auburn, Maine.

Position will begin mid-July, 2016.

Vision Statement

The vision of LA Arts is to enrich the lives of people in our community by sponsoring partnerships, programming, and experiences of the arts in all forms.

What We Do

Working with government arts agencies, city governments, businesses, and local arts and cultural organizations, LA Arts creates opportunities for community members across the generations to experience, learn, and participate in the arts; organizes arts programs and initiatives; supports the work of local artists and arts organizations; and highlights the essential role the arts play in shaping an economically vital, socially integrated, and forward-looking future for our community.

Continue reading “LA Arts Executive Director to resign, search for new director begins”

Arts-based Community and Entrepreneurial Development Investment for Lewiston Auburn

LA Arts one of 64 National Endowment for the Arts Our Town projects selected nationwide


LA Arts Logo 2015 - RGB laegc logo

Lewiston Auburn, Maine: National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Chairman Jane Chu announced 64 awards totaling $4.3 million supporting projects across the nation through the NEA’s Our Town program. LA Arts, working together with the Lewiston Auburn Economic Growth Council (LAEGC), Maine College of Art and the Pratt Institute is one of the recommended organizations for an award of $50,000 to design and implement an cultural and artist entrepreneurship program and related projects. The Our Town grant program supports creative place-making projects that help to transform communities into lively, beautiful, and resilient places with the arts at their core. The NEA received 240 applications for Our Town this year and will make awards ranging from $25,000 to $100,000.

“For six years, Our Town has made a difference for people and the places where they live, work, and play,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “Projects such as the one led by LA Arts and LAEGC help residents engage the arts to spark vitality in their communities.”

Josh Vink, Executive Director for LA Arts, explains “we believe that this initiative, which is a foundational model to give artisans business development skills, get them into makers and co-working spaces, and exhibit their work – is an incredibly important one. It offers key support for the arts and culture sector which very much needs it, is a vital part of our history, and essential for the continued innovation and development of the Twin Cities.” John Holden, President of LAEGC adds, “we are proud to partner with LA Arts as part of our engagement in entrepreneurship in LA Maine. Entrepreneurs will come from all walks of life, cultures, and are encouraged in a creative and artistic environment.” Rebecca Swanson Conrad, Vice President for Institutional Advancement at Maine College of Art says, “MECA is pleased to be a partner in this grant to link our students and alumni to entrepreneurial opportunity to expand the breadth and depth of Lewiston and Auburn’s often hidden, but exemplary and innovative craft, art and design economy.”

The partners believe that the artisan-based manufacturer is one catalyst for the communities future economic development and that Lewiston Auburn can position a brand that is grounded in its cultural heritage, while at the same time offers a clear vision for the future. A major influence of that brand is that LA is a “makers place.” The project will include the development of artisan and maker assessment and strategy, building on a cultural planning process currently underway. Tools to enhance artisan and entrepreneurial development will be cataloged and built. The partners will build marketing and branding support for individual makers and cooperative opportunities, explore opportunities and financing for living and working space opportunities, makers space utilization and adaptive reuse of existing mill space. The project will also support and celebrate Lewiston Auburn as the center of manufacturing and “making” in the State of Maine including a partnership with Museum LA and the plans for the Maine Innovation Expo scheduled for May of 2017 at the Bates Mill complex.

For more information, contact LA Arts (207-782-7228).