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City of Lewiston to be home to nationally recognized art

An original work of art by nationally recognized Auburn native, Andy Rosen, will be installed in the canal between Baxter Brewing and Bates Mill #5 in Lewiston in the summer of 2021.  The Lewiston City Council unanimously voted in favor of the new addition.  Life-like foxes will grace the area and will be a conversation piece for residents and visitors alike. 

On February 19, 2019, the Lewiston Auburn Metro Chamber of Commerce and LA Arts announced that the Maine Arts Commission (MAC) had awarded a MAC Creative Communities = Economic Development Phase 2 Grant of $75,000 for implementation of Cultural Plan LA.  In-kind support was committed by the Chamber, LA Arts, and Lewiston and Auburn, and the Maine Arts Commission is an independent state agency supported by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Proceeds would be used to utilize arts and culture to spur economic development and enhance the image of Lewiston and Auburn to attract residents, tourism, and new investment through public art installations.

Mayor Mark Cayer notes, “The grant program recognized that the economic contributions public art makes to local economies is vast. Since public art is a magnet known to bring people to a community, we are excited to have Mr. Rosen’s work here in Lewiston as a continued example of our city’s vibrancy and positive vision for the future.”

“Research shows communities with widespread public art see a multiplier effect on the local economy. Public art gets people out and will continue to draw people into the LA region,” said Shanna Cox, President and CEO of the Chamber. “We are excited to be part of this effort which directly aligns with our mission to be part of an engine for economic vitality.”

Andy Rosen is best known in Maine for two installations in Casco Bay: Unpack, seven life-like dogs that Rosen created in 2015 and placed on the dilapidated pier on Portland’s eastern waterfront, and in 2018, Tread was installed, a pair of deer emerging from the rising sea near the Ocean Gateway marine facility. 

Working Group Co-chair Beckie Conrad noted, “Tread was supported in part by a $10,000 grant from the Union of Concerned Scientists, and Rosen was one of only six artists in the US awarded funds to make an environmentally thoughtful climate installation.”  Both Unpack and Tread were highly photographed and drew many spectators.

On the selection of Rosen for Lewiston, Conrad continued, “Being a site for Andy’s work is important to our community. Not only is he an Edward Little graduate who has gone on to become a respected artist, his work is also gaining national recognition and, as a result, will attract a wide audience, further supporting the intention of the grant.” 

For Lewiston’s piece, Rosen is partnering with Morin Brick in Auburn to fabricate the material for the foxes that will form the installation Ledgers.

How Did Andy Rosen’s Work Come to Lewiston?  Lewiston’s new public art piece resulted from the determination of collaborative work by the Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, LA Arts, the local Public Art Working Group, and the Cities of Lewiston and Auburn.  At the end of the grant’s first year in December 2019, the Lewiston City Council adopted a Public Art Plan that was drafted by the Public Art Working Group, which included the process to select and install art on public sites.  

In early 2020, the Public Art Working Group completed a Call for Art to Maine artists that attracted 11 submissions from across the State. Four finalists were interviewed following review of their proposed installations. During the selection process, local high school students, Sophie Therrien, ELHS, and Jacob Morin, LHS, joined the committee and offered insight into what they believed would attract the attention of their generation as public art becomes part of the LA community.  City representatives received the Working Group’s proposal for the final selection for Lewiston before City Council input and vote.

Darby Ray, Working Group Co-chair and LA Arts Board member, added “The Creative Communities = Economic Development grant supports partnerships between municipalities and the cultural sector for economic development. LA Arts is pleased to partner with the Chamber on this grant, and we look forward to as much community involvement as possible during the installation.”

A Bit of Background:  Appointees to the Public Arts Working Group were made by the Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, LA Arts, Arts and Culture LA, and the municipalities of Lewiston and Auburn—all partners in the implementation of Cultural Plan LA. Working group members include: Sabrina Best, Recreation Director, City of Auburn; Shoshona Currier, Director, Bates Dance Festival; Jody Dube, Art Teacher, Lewiston High School; William Low, Curator, Bates Museum of Art and LA Arts Board Member; Heidi McCarthy, Economic Development Specialist, City of Lewiston; Tom Platz, AIA, Principal, Platz Associates; Darby Ray,  Director of the Harward Center for Community Partnerships at Bates College and LA Arts Board Clerk (group co-chair); Shawn Rice, Art Teacher, Edward Little High School; Rebecca Swanson Conrad, Cultural Plan LA Advisor, LA Metro Chamber of Commerce member (group co-chair); Sheri Withers Hollenbeck, Owner, The Curio and Founder, Sunday Indie Market.

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