Arts-based Community Development Investment for Biddeford, Maine

Facade of the historic Marble Block, with window installation by artist Leeann Morris.

Engine One of 57 National Endowment for the Arts Our Town Projects Selected Nationwide

Biddeford, Maine— National Endowment for the Arts Acting Chairman Mary Anne Carter announced 57 awards totaling $4.1 million supporting projects across the nation through the Arts Endowment’s Our Town program. Engine is one of the recommended organizations for a grant of $45,000 for the architectural design of a 20,000 sf historic building on Main Street into a center for art, design, and innovation.

Engine will continue working with Boston firm NADAAA (nadaaa.com), named in the grant application and which was previously chosen via a public process as the architect of record. Working with the Data Innovation Project from the Muskie School of Public Service and NADAAA, as well as the City of Biddeford’s My Neighborhood Network facilitators and ambassadors, Engine will develop an engagement plan for the local community to gather input on the design of the various spaces in the Marble Block and establish metrics for evaluating the success of the project. Also included in the grant is Marty Pottenger, Founder/Director of Art At Work, a national initiative piloted with the City of Portland Maine’s departments, unions and elected officials to improve municipal government through strategic arts projects. Pottenger will provide strategic direction for this project to help ensure its integration into the fabric of the Biddeford community. Art At Work was also a recipient of an NEA Our Town grant in this round.

“These awards made to organizations across the United States are a testament to the artistic richness and diversity in our country. Organizations such as Engine are giving people in their community the opportunity to learn, create, and be inspired.”

Mary Anne Carter, acting chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts “Engine is excited to receive its second National Endowment for the Arts grant this year. The Our Town grant to design the Marble Block, with community input, will seriously start Engine on the path of occupying the historic structure. This grant should kickstart excitement within the community to see this project come to fruition.”

Engine co-founder and Executive Director, Tammy Ackerman
NEA grants nearly $1 million to 10 Maine arts groups Engine sees the Marble Block as a hub for the community to gather and learn, and as a base to engage with the populations in the adjacent neighborhoods through art and design. Ideas for the Marble Block include an exhibition space, a retail shop for selling Maine handcraft, an education space, an incubator/accelerator with university support, a darkroom, studios, a public green roof, and a café featuring local foods.

For a complete list of projects recommended for Our Town grant support, please visit the NEA web site at arts.gov.