Wednesday, September 30, 2009

New Funding Program for Traditional Artists

In order to continue to support the work of traditional artists throughout Maine, the Maine Arts Commission is launching a new funding program called Celebrate Traditional Arts, which offers direct support for traditional artists in a variety of community settings including festivals, gatherings, fairs, museum, tours and other community events. Priority will be given to nonprofit organizations whose primary mission is to sustain and present traditional culture. Organizations are eligible to apply for up to $1500 in artists’ fees.

The guidelines for this grant are currently on the pages of, but if you would like to discuss the grant with an actual person, please contact Kathleen Mundell at or call 207/236-6741

Large Burden baskets from Aron Griffith
Peapod boat from North Haven
Snowshoe maker Brian Theriault


Mackenzie said...

Of course priority will be given to non-profit organizations, isn't that the primary community that the taxpayer-funded Maine Arts Commission serves?

Those of us working in the small business sector of the private economy are represented by the lumberjack and Mr. Jones in these famous lyrics written by Bob Dylan during the sixties when the proliferation of the non-profit industry was in its infancy:

You have many contacts
Among the lumberjacks
To get you facts
When someone attacks your imagination
But nobody has any respect
Anyway they already expect you
To just give a check
To tax-deductible charity organizations

You've been with the professors
And they've all liked your looks
With great lawyers you have
Discussed lepers and crooks
You've been through all of
F. Scott Fitzgerald's books
You're very well read
It's well known

Because something is happening here
But you don't know what it is
Do you, Mister Jones?

Only today the words should be changed to read “Because something is happening here, and you DO know what it is , Don’t you Mr. Jones?

In Maine we have one of the highest number of non-profit organizations in the country and government jobs are growing faster than jobs in the private economy. Government and non-profit sectors work hand in hand, speaking in a lexicon that is commonly addressed exclusively to the non-profit community. The problem with that picture is that the financial basis of both government and non-profits is the private economy - the same private economy that is expected to pay for the escalating spending habits of our federal government- and that comes out of self generated capitalization funds of the private economy - being that the credit freeze is still alive an well on Main Street.

Isn’t it about time that government and non-profits start thinking in terms of the whole society- inclusive of the private economy that they depend upon to fund their continued existence? Isn’t it about time to stop giving the non-profit sector special consideration and special terms, leaving unequal opportunity to the private sector? Is there any intrinsic reason why a traditional craft is more valuable because it is the product of a tax-deductible charitable organization? NO- this is pure politics! Nothing to do with artistic, cultural, or traditional merit!

mackenzie said...

A word of caution.

The Maine Arts Commission (state government) is a partner with the New England Cultural Database, which was developed by the New England Foundation for the Arts,(non profit organization) which is largely funded by the National Endowment for the Arts (federal government).

NEFA is going to be using NECD to process grants. In short, this agreement irrevocably claims all artist rights for all time. If the NECD website is used to process grants from the Maine Arts Commission, then one would need to sign the terms of agreement. It can hopefully be bypassed by submitting applications offline.

You can read that terms of agreement at

SMA said...

For the private economy traditional artists excluded from the federal funding being redistributedNnational Endowment for the Arts and the Maine Arts Commission, I have created a new cause on FaceBook called In Defense ( And Suipport) of the Private Economy. This is a cause for private economy hopefuls to network and synergize.- including of course, those of us participating in the field of traditional arts.

First Tribal Museum in Maharshtra said...

November 26, 2009
Pinguli, Kudal, Maharashtra
Dear Sir/Madam,
The Thakar Adivasi Kala Angan respectfully addresses you the present letter in order to inform you about the available cultural programs of our tribal culture. The ancient village of Pinguli in the Konkan region of Maharashtra has been home for nearly five hundred years of a wide variety of ritual performance arts. Due to the lack of support and the pressures of modernity in the region these invaluable heritage is in risk of disappearance. With the purpose of preserving the Adivasi artistic heritage our trust, led by Shri Parshuram Vishram Gangavane, has been working for more than thirty five years performing the traditional arts across India; and most recently with the opening of a Thakar Adivasi museum (May 2006) as well as a training program in the art of Chitrakathi paintings.
Our group is currently able to perform the following traditional Thakar arts:
-Kalsutri Bahulya: This folkloric form of string marionette theatre is accompanied by a local orchestra consisting of dholak, zanj, tuntune and singing. The marionettes’ heads and hands are carved in wood while the rest of the body is adorned with colorful clothes. The marionettes are manipulated from behind the stage by a single puppeteer who is also in charge of giving voice to the characters. The stories which are presented are taken from the epic of the Ramayana and Mahabharata.
-Dayti: The dayti is the Thakar Adivasi form of the shadow puppet theatre. The characters are built using goat skin and the characteristic style of the Pinguli painting school. As in the above mentioned art form, the stories are drawn from Ramayana and Mahabharata. The movements of the puppets, illuminated from behind the screen with an oil lamp, are accompanied by traditional music and the use of a shell to mark the entrance of the important characters.

-Chitrakathi: This is one of the few storytelling traditions alive in Maharashtra. With the help of paintings showing scenes of the ancient epics, the sutradhar unfolds the tale supported by the music of the vina, the taal and the huduk. It is in this type of performance that the stories of the Nandipuran are told showing the particular syncretism of Shiva and Vishnu religious paths.
Another eight ritual arts are present in our village including radha nrutya, the fugdya folk dance of the women, the pangul bael with the sacred bull and the potraja where the dancer burns himself to take the evil away. We have also shows which take on social issues as AIDS awareness and global warming.
The curriculum of the company as well as photos and media material is available on your request. There is also a webpage with further information on the Thakar Aangan (
As you are surely aware the traditional arts are dependent on the support of both the people and the government to survive in a time where modernity and cultural sociological changes have pushed the Tribal Arts of India to the verge of extinction. Henceforth we kindly request you to help us promote our rich art forms by informing us of upcoming festivals and the possibilities available to perform in India and beyond as well as the possibility of training other artists through workshops.
Check Out the links given,

Sincerely yours,
Shri Parshuram Vishram Gangavane
Traditional Puppeteer
Contact us,
Chetan Parshuram Gangavane (P.R.O)