The First Meeting

Belfast Free Library, December 18th in the Abbott Room, 6:30pm


Following our first "community conversation" last month, I'd like to re-cap for those of you who attended (I'm very grateful) and for those who expressed interest but couldn't make it.

Important points:

Project description. There's a lot going on with this project, so when asked how to describe the project succinctly to others, I try to say any level of the following:

  1. The Village Canoe is a floating outdoor artist residency and group show, culminating in a pop-up greenhouse exhibition on the waterfront.

  2. Up to six artists, two Maine guides/naturalists, and one big canoe will paddle down a tidal river and out to islands off the coast, camping and making work during the expedition.

  3. Within a month of the end of the expedition, the group will re-convene to set-up the temporary structure, install and set-up a weekend show that is free, interactive, and open to the public.

  4. Our goal is to merge arts access through outdoor recreation, environmental stewardship, ecological education, supporting local agriculture, cultural and historical learning, social engagement, and public outreach.

Building the canoe. While I am still looking into building the canoe, it is not fundamental to the first year success of this project. It might be a tangent, but it is one that I am eager to pursue, yet.

At present, there are no funds for the materials (amounting to roughly $5000), shop space, or my time. If I cannot source these within the next month or so, I will quickly abandon. In the meantime, I am looking for any leads on big canoes, around the 30' mark, capable of transporting eight paddlers, fully loaded with overnight gear and camp kitchen set-up.

A steering committee. I hope to take this idea and inspire others to want to get involved  in any way they see fit.

In order to apply for future grants - and maintain balance - I am going to need a group of people willing to act as a sort of "board" or "advisory committee." It is both a formality for applications, but also a way to include those of you with your creative or pragmatic visions to get together in person or over phone and email. If willing to help in some capacity, please get back to me and indicate your interest. It can be anything you're good at or want to try! I will create another avenue for that conversation in a follow-up email, once anyone steps up to this request.

Next foreseeable steps. In the immediate future, here are things on my mind we can address together! (In no particular order):

  • Fundraising! Do you, or a business you know, want to sponsor/partner with the project? If 5 businesses gave $1,000, the boat-building would be attainable!

  • Grant-writing! Are you an experienced grant-writer wanting to share your skills to support this project vision?

  • Publicity! It would be great to get the word out to create as much access and opportunity to the project as possible.

  • Marketing! I am interested in creating an identity and branding the project across multiple platforms and media. Logo, imagery, copy, and marketing strategy would be major project enhancement!

Chris BattagliaComment