For Immediate Release

Contact: LA Arts 

(207) 782-7228

LA Public Art Working Group Kicks Off Planning 

LEWISTON, ME, March 28, 2019 – At a kick-off meeting Monday, the newly formed LA Public Art Working Group committed to using a recent Maine Arts Commission (MAC) grant award to transform the Twin Cities into a vibrant public art community.

The group formed in February, 2019 after Lewiston Auburn was awarded a $75,000 MAC Creative Communities = Economic Development Phase 2 Grant for implementation of Cultural Plan LA. Proceeds of the grant will be used to improve the image of Lewiston Auburn and spark greater private and public support for public art.  

“Public art communities are great places to live, work, recreate, and go to school,” said Rebecca Swanson Conrad, co-chair of the working group and Cultural Plan LA Advisor to the Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce. “We’ll use this grant award to develop best practices for sustaining a robust public art process in LA.”

“We’re fortunate to already have a groundswell of excitement around public art here in LA,” added Darby Ray, co-chair of the working group, Director of the Harward Center for Community Partnerships at Bates College, and LA Arts Board Clerk. “There’s great anticipation for the spring opening of the Hartley Block in the Lewiston Arts District with its Marsden Hartley-inspired mosaic tile installations,  for a planned sculptural walk alongside the canal and through the Bates Mills complex, and for the expansion of crosswalk murals and related projects in the downtown. These initiatives lay the groundwork for and add to the timeliness and relevance of this group’s work.”   

Appointees to the working group were made by the Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, LA Arts, Arts and Culture LA, and the municipalities of Lewiston and Auburn — all partners in the implementation of Cultural Plan LA. Working group members include 

  • Sabrina Best, Recreation Director, City of Auburn
  • Shoshona Currier, Director, Bates Dance Festival 
  • Jody Dube, Art Teacher, Lewiston High School
  • William Low, Curator, Bates Museum of Art and LA Arts Board Member
  • Heidi McCarthy, Economic Development Specialist, City of Lewiston
  • Tom Platz, AIA, Principal, Platz Associates
  • Darby Ray,  Director of the Harward Center for Community Partnerships at Bates College and LA Arts Board Clerk (group co-chair)
  • Shawn Rice, Art Teacher, Edward Little High School
  • Rebecca Swanson Conrad, Cultural Plan LA Advisor, LA Chamber of Commerce (group co-chair)
  • Sheri Withers Hollenbeck, Owner, The Curio and Founder, Sunday Indie Market 

In 2015, LA Arts was awarded the MAC Creative Communities = Economic Development Phase I Grant to develop a cultural plan. That project was sponsored by The City of Lewiston, The City of Auburn, LA Arts, and ACLA. Cultural Plan LA outlines priorities and recommendations for action which, coupled with cross-sector partnerships, will catalyze LA’s potential as a creative metropolis.

Since 1973, LA Arts, the arts agency for the cities of Lewiston and Auburn Maine, has pursued a mission to engage and inspire a vibrant community through arts and culture. The agency works with government arts agencies, city governments, businesses, and local arts and cultural organizations to create opportunities for community members across the generations to experience, learn, and participate in the arts. LA Arts organizes arts programs and initiatives, supports the work of local artists and art organizations, and highlights the essential role the arts play in shaping an economically vital, socially integrated, and forward-looking future for its community. Learn more at

The membership of the Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce represents more than 1,000 area businesses. The staff and board of the Chamber have put the arts and culture at the center of many of its own programs to attract businesses to the area, to support the development of a community of young professionals, and to promote Lewiston and Auburn as a tourist destination. More information is available at