How we’re dealing with COVID-19

Running an arts organization during this time is incredibly challenging when there is so much need on the front lines. 

Long term sustainability is what we are focused on right now. Just as we were here the past ten years to help downtown Biddeford recover from a different set of economic and community challenges, we will be here when this is over and we will help lift the community again. 

If you can, please make a donation to help us weather this storm.

Here are some of the actions we have already or will have taken before we reopen:

Our collective safety:

We are following federal, state, and municipal guidelines. We don’t know when we will reopen. But when we do, we will have, at a minimum:

  • A hand sanitizer station at both of our two main entrances.
  • A bathroom for guests well-stocked with hand-washing supplies.
  • A sparkling clean public space paying special attention to high-traffic and high-touch areas.

A brand-spankin’ new  Sustainability Advisory Team:

We are a very small staff of me and two part-time employees. We rely on volunteers to help with big things. This is a big thing. If you have experience or interest–and time–to help Engine adapt and rise to this and future challenges, we would love your help. Email We’re ready to Zoom.

Our programs:

  • Most of our spring youth education season has been postponed, cancelled, or gone online or mobile. We don’t have teaching artists on staff so its harder for us to take programs online. But we’re doing what we can.  
  • We continue to post workshops with the understanding that they may need to be pushed back further into summer or fall. Cancellation policies, if you do signup, will be revamped to allow for more flexibility.
  • Events…we’re waiting to see how things develop…ArtWalk starting in May, our PechaKucha in July, and our September Block Party.
  • Maker Faire is moving to May 2021 as sponsorship may be challenging this year and we want to spread out big events.

Financial stability:

  • Thanks to an immediate Virginia Hodgkins Somers Foundation emergency payroll grant, we’ve been able to keep staff employed for three weeks. 
  • We’ve applied for both a Small Business Administration Disaster Loan and the Payroll Protection Program to help keep staff on even longer. We currently have two part-time staffers and me, our full-time ED and we’re interested in maintaining their levels for as long as we can.
  • The NEA announced a grant for past recipients of NEA grants that will help immensely starting in July…and as past grant recipients, we qualify.

Do you have time to get involved?

Being part of an arts organization, even virtually as a volunteer, can give you structure, connections, and joy during this time of social distancing. If you have time on your hands, and want to join a committee, here are some that we could use expertise with:

  • Events: event-planners, creative minds, marketing types, people who like logistics of how to set up and event, we’d love to engage you.
  • Development: that special person who likes helping nonprofits raise money.
  • Finance: those special people who love nonprofit finance and things like…oh, cash flow, etc!

Just reach out via email or call us at 207-494-7125.

As always, as an anchor arts organization that celebrates community, we remain invested in Biddeford. We are very much looking forward to seeing you again.