A ballerina, a violinist and a taxidermied Reeve’s Muntjac deer were at the Bangor Public Library Monday morning to celebrate the formation of Bangor Arts, a consortium of eight long-standing Bangor arts organizations.
“[Members of this group] are destinations for visitors and citizens alike, with an active, year-round schedule, and together, they can create bigger and better cultural events for the community as a whole,” said Scott R.C. Levy, chairman of Bangor Arts and producing artistic director of the Penobscot Theatre Company. “This is about power in numbers.”
Charter members of Bangor Arts include the PTC, the Bangor Museum and Center for History, the Bangor Public Library, the Bangor Symphony Orchestra, River City Cinema, Robinson Ballet, the University of Maine Museum of Art, and the Maine Discovery Museum. The aforementioned deer is part of the MDM’s newest exhibition, “Safari,” which displays 30 different animals from all over the world and runs until Aug. 31.
Bangor Arts will allow for greater collaboration between the eight organizations, and will create opportunities for cross promotion and cost sharing. The idea for Bangor Arts has been in the works for many years, but a grant from Maine Arts Commission in June 2009 was the catalyst for the official forming of the group. The City of Bangor’s Commission on Cultural Development collaborated with the group in securing additional funding.
“The Maine Arts Commission’s goal is to bring the arts to every corner of the state,” said John Rohman, chairman of the Maine Arts Commission and a longtime Bangor resident. “We could not be more pleased with what this group will do for Bangor. It’s not just a win-win situation, it’s a win, win, win, win, win, win, win, win.”
Presentations from each group included the Bangor Museum and Center for History’s curator Dana Lippett, who was dressed in early 20th century period costume and told the crowd about the 146-year-old organizations’ annual summer Ghost Lamp tours and Mt. Hope Cemetery tours. Sasha Zaburdaeva, violinist for the Bangor Symphony Orchestra, performed Bela Bartok’s Romanian Dance No. 1, while Robinson Ballet dancer and educator Stevie Dunham performed an original dance. Michael Grillo of River City Cinema previewed this year’s summer movie series, “Heist School Vacation” which starts at sunset on June 25 in Pickering Square, with a screening of “The Ladykillers.”
“This really illustrates the strength and diversity of the arts in Bangor,” said Shirar Patterson, downtown coordinator for the City of Bangor, who helped coordinate the forming of the group. “It can really only go up from here.”
Bangor City Councilor Geoff Gratwick unveiled a new logo, affectionately named “Dancing Buildings,” and a website and Facebook page for Bangor Arts. Also announced was an open house event set for Tuesday, Sept. 14, which will showcase upcoming programming for all eight organizations.
One of the first collaborative efforts to come out of Bangor Arts will be programming around the Penobscot Theatre Company’s production of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” set for March 30-April 17, 2011, at the Bangor Opera House. The Bangor Public Library will sponsor a community read of the Harper Lee book, and River City Cinema will screen the classic 1962 film.
For information, visit www.bangorarts.org.