New arts heart, leader developing up Freeport’s cultural scene

The artwork scene in Freeport is acquiring an infusion of energy with the modern appointment of a new govt director of the Arts & Cultural Alliance of Freeport and the opening of the Meetinghouse Arts local community gathering place.

The arts middle at 40 Key St. operates in the historic 1st Parish Church. The congregation is leasing area to the arts and cultural alliance, which operates Meetinghouse Arts. With an artwork gallery where by neighborhood artists can demonstrate and sell their function and a functionality space in the sanctuary big ample to accommodate 150 people, Meetinghouse Arts will curate and host artwork exhibitions, music and theater performances, lessons, workshops, lectures and other gatherings.

The art gallery is open, and the functionality house has just been renovated. Snowlion Repertory Firm will host the to start with play in new space, “My Witch,” about the actress Margaret Hamilton, in late October.

“My target is to have this position brimming with action and booked to the extent we can take care of it with a range of events,” explained Dana Legawiec, who started her duties at government director of the Arts & Cultural Alliance of Freeport in June. “Over time, it is about working with the arts to shape the tradition of the city via relationship to neighborhood.”

Meetinghouse Arts is located within just just one of Freeport’s historic properties. Constructed in 1895 to exchange a church that experienced burned, the Victorian-period Very first Parish was crafted with ornate stained-glass windows, pews formed for the human overall body and the sanctuary itself, and exposed hand-hewn trusses supported by knee braces. There is also a pipe organ.

The congregation was proven in 1789. Very first Parish is nonetheless lively, nevertheless fewer so than in the previous. In search of a lengthy-phrase tenant, the church and the Arts & Cultural Alliance of Freeport agreed to a 10-year lease. The congregation will continue on to hold Sunday companies in the sanctuary and group systems in the basement.

David Greenham, executive director of the Maine Arts Commission, called the arrangement unique and an illustration of resourceful challenge-resolving, because it consists of two businesses with distinctive missions and targets locating a way to support each and every other plan a upcoming that consists of their mutual co-existence.

“This concept of cooperation is really what is good about this story,” he reported. “We normally get so siloed in our have corporation, there is from time to time not as much spirit of neighborhood collaboration as there could be. This is an instance of people stepping out of their silos to come collectively.”

From still left, Nicole Nappi, Stacey Lodato and Louise Rate dangle operate for the opening show, “The Colour of Gentle,” at Meetinghouse Arts. Lodato, of Freeport, is the chair of the gallery committee when Nappi, of Brunswick, and Price tag, of Freeport, are committee customers. Brianna Soukup/Employees Photographer

The gallery, which commenced displaying the get the job done of nearby artists in June, opened its 2nd group exhibition, “The Colour of Light-weight,” final 7 days. It is on watch through Oct. 17. The alliance also has hosted an out of doors summertime live performance collection in the parking great deal out again. The final live performance in the collection commences at 1 p.m. Sunday with the people-roots trio Reduced Lily. In addition to the concert, the musicians will host a songwriting workshop.

Legawiec’s history is theater and creating neighborhood by means of the arts. She did her undergraduate get the job done at Princeton College and attained a master’s in arts in schooling from Harvard College. She teaches theater at Colby University and the University of Southern Maine. She also graduated from the Dell’Arte College of Physical Theater, and has done with Celebration Barn, Figures of Speech Theater and a lot of other theater companies across Maine.

She is eager to begin programming in the indoor room. As element of the renovation of Meetinghouse Arts, the alliance set up a new ventilation process that is controlled by sensors dependent on the number of folks in the gallery and functionality location.

“We are thrilled to incorporate Snowlion as the initial theater business on the calendar for a complete output in Oct,” she reported. “I am also hopeful we can deliver a assortment of standalone events commencing in September. We are possessing conversations with neighborhood and regional doing artists, songs ensembles, theater corporations, and cultural companies concerning performances, workshops, recitals and lectures – and connecting these choices to assembly the needs, interests and desires of the community community.”

Margit Ahlin, Snowlion’s creating director, reported the theater business required a new household with the closing of the Portland Ballet Studio Theater, the place Snowlion offered a lot of of its exhibits. Ahlin realized Legawiec by way of the Camden Shakespeare Pageant, which Legawiec leads with her partner, Stephen.

“It was sort of serendipity,” Ahlin mentioned. “We were searching for a place, and they were seeking for a person to existing exhibits. I explained, ‘We’re intrigued,’ and they stated, ‘We’re intrigued, far too.’ ”

On Oct. 16, Meetinghouse Arts will host a touring output of “The Marvelous Meep Island Adventure,” by the College of Southern Maine theater section. It will be a totally free outside performance for children and family members.

Nancy Salmon, board president of Arts & Cultural Alliance of Freeport, claimed Legawiec’s selecting and the opening of the new house gives the alliance robust footing for the around future and for many a long time to occur.

“This is a local community collecting area, and it has been for lots of a long time,” Salmon stated. “Dana is aware of how to bring the neighborhood in.”

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