A group of Biddeford and Saco arts and culture organizations have formed a new alliance called the Biddeford + Saco Arts + Cultural Alliance. BSACA for short, the group’s mission is to market the two cities as a tourist destination and to implement the Twin Cities Cultural Plan. The formation of BSACA was spearheaded by the Biddeford arts organization Engine.
BSACA is comprised of the City Theater, Arts@UNE, the Biddeford Mills Museum, Societe St. Jean de Bienfaisance, La Kermesse, McArthur Library, Saco Museum and Dyer Library. The Heart of Biddeford, Saco Spirit, and the Biddeford+Saco Chamber are also members. Participation is open to other arts organizations, artist groups, and cultural institutions in the area.
The formation of BSACA has been years in the making. In 2004, the Saco Museum received a Discovery Research Grant from the Maine Arts Commission to identify the cultural needs of the two cities and to plan how to provide for them. In 2005, the Twin Cities Cultural Planning Committee was formed and with the assistance of David Versel, a planning consultant, completed the Twin Cities Cultural Plan in 2006. To celebrate the completion of the plan, the group organized an art exhibition in the North Dam Mill called “Milling About” in January 2006. The first action item of the committee was to form an arts council, which it did, also in 2006. The Twin Cities Creative Council, with Biddeford artist Nancy Kureth as executive director, organized “Milling About II” a few months later in October 2006 but the council was disbanded after a year.
Late last year, Engine recognized the need for a collaborative marketing effort around arts and culture and picked up where the previous group left off. Dovetailing with the joint branding campaign recently created by Biddeford and Saco, BSACA’s tagline is “Biddeford+Saco. Saco+Biddeford. One creative place. No matter how you say it.” Thanks to funding from the Heart of Biddeford and the Orton Family Foundation, five thousand brochures listing the myriad of arts and cultural offerings in the area have just been produced and placed at area hotels and restaurants, as well as at the Kittery Tourist Information Center. A Facebook page and a web page (www.BiddefordSacoArtsCulture.com) will provide a calendar and links to arts and cultural attractions and events. BSACA will continue to seek funding support for both traditional and online marketing.
“Cultural tourists tend to spend more money going to museums, dining out, buying gifts than a regular visitor to Maine. Biddeford and Saco have a lot to offer,” says Tammy Ackerman, executive director of Engine.
According to the Maine Arts Commission’s Maine Museums Economic Impact Study, “…in 2009, approximately 442,000 visitors to the 14 participating museums surveyed in the study spent nearly $71 million.” Additionally, “overnight museum visitor spends $243 per day (double that of overnight visitors who came to Maine for “leisure” purposes [$104 per day*]). Overnight museum visitor spends nearly three times that of overnight visitors who came to Maine to visit friends and family ($89 per day*). And, day trip museum visitor spends $92 per day.”
For more information on BSACA, contact Engine executive director Tammy Ackerman at email@example.com or 207-370-9130.