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Cultural App Initiative


An adinkra symbol designed by artist Ebenezer Akakpo will serve as a 'marker' for the app


Creative Portland is developing a digital marketing tool, a cultural app to increase access to the arts through a user-friendly mobile application. The project is funded by a CCED2  Maine Arts Commission cultural plan implementation grant award. In the "Cultural Plan Update of 2018," approved by the City Council, a strategic priority was identified to brand Portland as a creative center and world-class arts destination. The creation of a cultural app cultivates arts patronage from local visitors and tourists alike. This innovative pilot program allows arts and cultural organizations, as well as sole proprietors, the opportunity to showcase their cultural assets on a relevant and inclusive platform.

Creative Portland will manage a curated destination webpage with links to multilingual translations and additional information for self-guided tours, including access for people with disabilities. This project will be a catalyst for breaking barriers and encouraging community engagement from Portland's diverse communities. Local app developers and augmented (AR) reality experts, Yarn Corporation are developing the app. In a 2017 Americans for the Arts (AFTA) & U.S. Census Survey, the City of Portland was a standout in performing arts public attendance, with three out of four citizens (73.5%) attending at least one concert or show per year, compared with other cities averaging 48% public attendance. In addition, 84.7% indicated the use of electronic and mobile devices for sourcing and experiencing art, compared to 73.6% nationwide. 


After receiving a seed grant from the Maine Arts Commission (MAC) in 2016, Creative Portland (CP) launched a two-year cultural planning process which culminated into "A Living Action Plan," approved by the City Council as an adopted City Plan in 2018. In 2020 Maine Arts Commission awarded Creative Portland a 75K matching grant (CCEDII: Cultural Plan Implementation), to be dispersed in increments over three years, spearheaded by Creative Portland and Yarn Corporation, in collaboration with artists, city planners, and arts community stakeholders. Representatives from Visit Portland, PPL, Chamber, MECA, Portland Ovations, Space, Mechanics Hall, PMA, OLS, and MAMM inform branding decisions. Only one cultural plan implementation grant (CCEDII) was awarded in the state of Maine this year. The MAC review committee included reps from the Maine Community Foundation, the Maine Humanities Council, the Maine Development Fund, and the Maine Office of Tourism. This is the first major MAC grant awarded to Portland. 

If you are an artist, visit our open call page to see how you can collaborate with Creative Portland to create media for the app. 


Funded in part by a grant from the Maine Arts Commission, an independent state agency supported by the National Endowment for the Arts