PORTLAND, Maine — The Maine Center for Creativity presented its first-ever Maine Creative Industries Award to David Shaw, the founder of IDEXX Laboratories, and his wife, actress Glenn Close, Thursday night.
The award was presented at the organization’s inaugural Maine Creative Industries Gala, held at the Holiday Inn by the Bay in Portland.
“The Maine Creative Industries Award recognizes the excellence in art, innovation and enterprise that is fueling Maine’s creative economy,” said Katherine Greenleaf, Maine Center for Creativity board president. “Tonight, we are celebrating Glenn and David’s extraordinary ability to blend creativity in art and business.”
The event was more than an awards presentation. Creativity was at the core of the event’s programing. It included performances by an African drum group and Lady Zen, a self-described “jazz-funk poet” based in Portland. The keynote was given by Frank Moss, former director of the MIT Media Lab.
Even Shaw and Close, an Emmy, Golden Globe and Tony Award-winning actress, showcased their creativity with a video they produced. It included interviews about creativity conducted over two months with people including Robert Redford, Alan Alda, George Lucas and Wynton Marsalis, as well as Maine-based artists, scientists and entrepreneurs, such as John Coleman, CEO of The VIA Agency. The interviews were done using only iPhone technology.
Shaw, who founded IDEXX in 1983 and served as its CEO until 2002, said the couple’s intention was to “pay tribute to creativity as a powerful force in the world by showcasing inspirational people and organizations which we know well and admire.”
“There can be a tendency to think of art and business as separate realms, but that is often not the case in successful ventures,” according to Shaw and Close. “For example, high-tech entrepreneurs often combine a sense of artistry in their business work. Larry Ellison once famously said ‘Steve Jobs had the mind of an engineer and the heart of an artist.’”
Moss in his keynote discussed the importance of creativity in furthering science and society, and pointed out that Maine has always been the home of creative people. He highlighted someone close to him: Seymour Papert, founder of the MIT Media Lab, a pioneer of artificial intelligence and a resident of Blue Hill. “You already have done what you aspire to do, you may just not know it yet,” Moss said.
Jean Maginnis, Maine Center for Creativity’s founder and executive director, also announced at the event the formation of the Maine Network of Innovation and Creativity, which will promote examples of creative and innovative enterprises throughout Maine as role models for other would-be entrepreneurs. The network will “multiply the impact of the good work being done by all of the organizations” that are part of Maine’s creative economy and “bring national and international visibility, engagement and investment” to the state, Maginnis said.