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October 2, 2018

Waterville Creates! announces merger with two cultural organizations

Courtesy / Waterville Creates! Shannon Haines is president and CEO of Waterville Creates!, which announced today it plans to join forces with two of central Maine's leading arts institutions, the Maine Film Center and the Waterville Opera House, through a formal merger effective Nov. 1.

Waterville Creates! announced today it plans to join forces with two of central Maine’s leading arts institutions, the Maine Film Center and the Waterville Opera House, through a formal merger effective Nov. 1.

The merger is a natural evolution of years of collaboration between the organizations and will help to ensure the long-term sustainability of these vibrant arts institutions, the nonprofit said in a news release announcing the merger.

The consolidation is also an important step as the three organizations plan for shared operations in the future downtown arts center that Waterville Creates! is partnering with Colby College to develop, according to the release.

A common mission

Photo / Colby College rendering
Rendering of the proposed art hub being developed by Colby College and Waterville Creates!

Waterville Creates!, the Maine Film Center and the Waterville Opera House share the common goal of building the city’s reputation as a destination for arts and culture while also ensuring that arts opportunities are available and accessible to all ages and income levels. While the three entities have different areas of focus and expertise — i.e. film, performing arts, and visual arts — they regularly collaborate, share resources and work together to host special events, provide arts education and programming, and promote Waterville’s arts offerings. They also share certain administrative and marketing resources to increase efficiencies and reduce costs.

The Maine Film Center and the Waterville Opera House will be distinct divisions of Waterville Creates! and will continue to maintain programming autonomy and their existing staff while benefiting from the administrative, marketing and operational support that Waterville Creates! will provide. This new structure will create operational efficiencies, provide shared staffing in the key areas of development, marketing and administrative support, and allow more resources to be dedicated to programming and mission delivery, which will result in expanded programming for arts patrons.

Maximizing resources

Image / Colby College
Rendering of interior for the 93 Main St. arts hub in Waterville.

“This is an incredibly exciting moment for our organizations and represents years of collaboration and strategic planning,” said Shannon Haines, president and CEO of Waterville Creates! “The merger will allow us maximize precious resources as we continue to deliver outstanding arts programming that is both high quality and accessible.”

According to Haines, like many arts organizations nationwide, less than 50% of the merged organization’s revenue will come from earned income — ticket sales, memberships, workshop fees and the like — with remaining funds contributed by individuals, foundations and corporations.

In the short-term, the Maine Film Center and the Waterville Opera House will continue to manage independent annual appeals and membership programs. Longer term, Waterville Creates! will examine opportunities for shared donor and membership platforms that will offer patrons the opportunity to continue to designate contributions to an individual program as well as new opportunities to support the arts in Waterville.

“It feels like such a positive, logical, natural move for our beloved community institutions, the Waterville Opera House, the Maine Film Center, and Waterville Creates!, to come together organizationally,” said Tamsen Brooke Warner, executive director of the Waterville Opera House. “We all believe that providing access to art and opportunities for creative expression is important for everyone and our collaboration will increase those opportunities for our region.”

Mike Perreault, executive director of the Maine Film Center, said his nonprofit has been collaborating with the other two organizations for many years.

“It is truly an exciting development to be formally joining forces with Waterville Creates! and the Waterville Opera House,” he said. “We host many of our most prominent events during the Maine International Film Festival at the Waterville Opera House (as well as screen films on 35mm there throughout the year), and we’ve enjoyed partnering with Waterville Creates! on programs such as MIFFONEDGE and the Maine Student Film and Video Conference, which provided a robust and diverse slate of free filmmaking workshops to students from all across the state of Maine. Our impact, reach, and programmatic strength will only continue to grow through our collaboration and sharing of resources and talent.”

Read more

Colby, Waterville Creates! collaborate on downtown arts building renovation

Waterville arts hub renovation gets $2 million boost from Colby benefactor

Maine International Film Festival raises its game with mobile-first site

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