2023 in Review

In August, Engine became the fiscal sponsor of Common Roots Studio’s Mobile Art Bus, a partnership that makes it possible for founder Nick Blunier to bring creativity to more disadvantaged communities in 2024. This new partnership is one of the brightest moments from this challenging and transitional year for Engine. From the departure of Jess Muise at the end of 2022 to Engine’s departure from 163 Main Street in October 2023, it has been a year of rethinking and refocusing our mission and strategic goals. We are confident that Engine’s new mission to connect and empower artists through equitable access to community, resources, and creative opportunities will place the organization at the center of Biddeford’s art scene and beyond.

That is not to say that we didn’t support artists in various ways throughout the year. Quite contrary: 

  • Biddeford ArtWalk, held the third Friday from May to October, was a showcase of artists and crafters throughout downtown. The events supported not only the makers, but also many other downtown businesses; 
  • Fringe Fest, an annual event “powered by Engine,” brought together nearly 100 vendors and an encore performance by GEM City, a musical collective born out of the inaugural IGNITE Arts Business Incubator Cohort;
  • After two years of planning, Subcircle welcomed BANDALOOP, an internationally renowned dance troop, to Biddeford as part of Fringe Fest. The awe-inspiring performances on the side of Lofts at the Levee was possible through Subcircle’s collaboration with Engine and Heart of Biddeford, along with funding from the Maine Arts Commission, National Endowment for the Arts, New England Foundation for the Arts, Horizon Foundation, the City of Biddeford, and several private sponsors;
  • Engine became the fiscal sponsor of Common Roots Studio’s Mobile Art Bus, which delivered creative arts programming to approximately 5,000 children and adults in southern Maine who lack access to such opportunities.
  • Engine raffled off two row boats built by students enrolled in the Compass Project. If you missed your chance at winning one of these solidly crafted vessels, Engine has eight more available for sale. If you’re interested in taking one home, please let us know! 

Our approach in 2024 is one of decentralized support for local artists through partnerships with businesses and other organizations. As we head into a new year, we are grateful to Heart of Biddeford for opening their office space for Engine to conduct our administrative work and host meetings. 

We are also excited to announce the return of IGNITE in 2024, with plans to run the arts business incubator program on a three-year cycle and extend the scope to support makers statewide. The Maine Center of Economic and Community Development identified that a significant portion of Maine’s workforce are creative entrepreneurs and an  independent analysis of the IGNITE Program estimates its impact to provide at least 25 full-time jobs with $1.3 million in gross earnings and generate nearly $4.4 million in annual sales in York County. Stay tuned for more details on how to apply and become a part of the next IGNITE cohort. 

Our goal is to have “Powered by Engine” stamped on every event where artists are present in Biddeford! Your financial support plays a pivotal role in making this happen. If arts, community, creativity, and growth are words that resonate with you, please support Engine’s mission to connect and empower artists in one of the following ways:

  • DONATE BY MAIL with a check made payable to Engine, Inc. and sent to PO Box 1681, Biddeford, ME 04005;
  • BECOME A MEMBER to provide important unrestricted operating support with an annual pledge; or 
  • VOLUNTEER your time and talents.

Thank you for fueling the Engine!