Thursday, March 24, 2011

Maine Leaders to Explore the Critical Connection Between Imagination, Creativity and Economic Development

A collaboration of public and private organizations has come together to host a community-wide event so that Maine can lend its collective voice to a national conversation on how to foster the innovation and creativity needed to compete in the 21st-century global marketplace.

“From Imagination to Innovation: Maine Participates in the Lincoln Center Institute’s Imagnation Conversation” will be held from 4 to 8 p.m., Tuesday, April 5, in USM’s Hannaford Lecture Hall, Bedford Street, Portland. To register, go to
Tickets are $20 for the public and $5 for students.

The Maine Center for Creativity and the University of Southern Maine are presenting the event. Collaborators include the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance, the Maine Arts Commission, the Creative Portland Corporation, the Farnsworth Art Museum, the Maine Department of Education, Wright Express, the Maine Alliance for Arts Education, the Maine Humanities Council and Maine Public Broadcasting.

Through a keynote address and a series of discussions in concurrent workshops, the “Conversation” will provide opportunities for people from diverse sectors to consider how we can integrate imagination into our schools, workplaces and communities in such a way that it advances creation of a vibrant economy and quality of life.

To help focus the discussions, participants will be asked to respond to the following three questions:

How does imagination function in your field/work/sector?
How do you cultivate and sustain imagination in your work?
What will it take for us to foster these practices in Maine?

Conversations from each of the 50 states are being documented and compiled for presentation at a national “Imagination Summit” in New York scheduled for July of this year. It’s expected that an action agenda will be developed to make the cultivation of imagination a key element in our schools and part of a national public policy agenda.

The Portland event will feature nationally known artist Eric Hopkins of North Haven, who will offer the keynote address. Other speakers include University of Maine Professor of Civil and Structural Engineering Habib Dagher; mimedancer Karen Montanaro; Aaron Frederick, entrepreneur and a founder of Rippleffect, the non-profit that exposes teens to the coastal Maine experience; and Carol Farrell, co-director of Figures of Speech Theatre. Veteran Maine journalist and public affairs consultant Patsy Wiggins will serve as moderator.

“As part of our mission as a public university we provide a forum where people of diverse perspectives can come together and think creatively and provocatively about how to better understand and advance the important issues of the day,” said USM President Selma Botman.

For more information on the Lincoln Center Institute (LCI) and the “Imagination Conversations,” visit

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