What does a downtown community with a bunch of empty storefronts on Main Street do to call attention to these spaces that are highly visible and extremely affordable? Bring in the artists and entrepreneurs! Engine, in partnership with the Heart of Biddeford, a downtown revitalization organization, is reaching out to the arts and entrepreneurial community to fill space, temporarily or short-term (90 days) not only with installations but with pop-up shops.

A pop-up shop is a venue that is temporary — the space could be a sample sale one day and host a private art reception the next evening. The trend involves “popping-up” one day, then disappearing anywhere from one day to several weeks or  months later. These shops, while small and temporary, can build up interest by consumer exposure. Pop-up shops allow an artist or company to create a unique environment that engages their patrons, as well as generates a feeling of relevance and interactivity.

“Many communities such as Biddeford are striving to call attention to their downtown’s potential using creative means in their vacant storefronts. Engine’s mission is to make arts-driven programming, cultural development, and sustainable creative entrepreneurialism an explicit community value and civic priority in Biddeford. Storefront installations put the artist and their work in close proximity with the community on a daily basis and hopefully open a dialogue with a population that does not typically frequent gallery shows,” says Engine Executive Director Tammy Ackerman. “Additionally, in this economic climate, more people are starting their own businesses and a short-term arrangement can act as a launching pad with low-risk. Our hope is that these entrepreneurs get a leg up and can ultimately sign a long-term lease with the landlord.”

The Heart of Biddeford will facilitate resources for artists and entrepreneurs via the Biddeford Saco Economic Development Association, the Chamber of Commerce, the Small Business Administration and other entities.

PROJECT SPACE is sponsored by Engine, in partnership with the City Theater, the University of New England and the Heart of Biddeford in the Creative Communities=Economic Development Consortium, an intiative funded in part by a grant from the Maine Arts Commission, an independent state agency supported by the National Endowment for the Arts.

For more information on the event, or to schedule an interview, please contact Tammy Ackerman at Engine: 207-229-3560,