10,000 Creatives. 10 Years.
Creative Portland is a nonprofit organization that leverages, grows, and sustains Portland’s creative industries, enterprises, and workforce. As the City’s official local arts agency, we also pay particular attention to supporting the artists and cultural institutions that are central to Portland’s identity, economy, and community.
In 2010, highlighting the critical need for a skilled workforce to sustain a prosperous economy, our founding president Andy Graham called on Portland to adopt this BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal): Attract 10,000 creative-minded people in 10 years. Not 10,000 artists, but 10,000 people who value arts and culture.
Portland is a destination for young people fresh out of college, highly skilled professionals, retirees, entrepreneurs—anyone who wants to become part of Portland’s distinctive zeitgeist. We welcome visitors, but what we really want are new residents who share our sensibilities and values.
If you like what we do, please let us know and share with others.
What We Do
Creative Portland strives to attract people who value our creative community and support the artists and creative entrepreneurs who already live here. Here are some of our key projects:
Creative Portland promotes Portland as an ideal place to live and work. While Maine is universally recognized as tourist destination, we want people to consider Portland a great place to start a business, pursue a career, retire, or raise a family. So we are connecting members of Portland’s broad creative community to one another and to like-minded people in other cities who may consider moving here.
“In Portland, it’s two degrees of separation, not six.” 2 Degrees Portland is a networking service for creative types (engineers, artists, entrepreneurs, designers, “big thinkers”) who want to find out what it’s like to live and work in Portland. When someone contacts 2 Degrees, our coordinator puts them in touch with someone with similar interests who can answer their questions about who to know, which neighborhoods to live in, where to walk the dog, where to buy local produce, or the best place to launch their kayak. We also host 2 Degrees mixers so that our volunteers can get to know one another and new arrivals have a place to meet new friends.
Started 13 years ago, First Friday Art Walk has blossomed into a monthly arts and cultural event that takes place on the first Friday of every month (regardless of weather) throughout the city, centered primarily in the Arts District. Over 3,000 people come downtown each month to visit galleries and museums, see live performances, buy work from street artists, and greet friends as they stroll along city streets.
In 2012, Creative Portland launched a Professional Development Series: Business Basics for Artists in partnership with Maine College of Art and the Maine Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts. On the second Wednesday of every month, we offered an evening session addressing such topics as grant-writing, tax preparation, pricing art work, and starting a creative business, specifically designed for artists, artisans, and creative entrepreneurs.
For more information about these and other projects, please contact us. The City of Portland website has more information about the Creative Portland Corporation.