Live and Work Creatively in Portland Maine

May 16, 2010 | Startups

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Last week I went to the website launch for liveworkportland.org The site was put together by the Creative Portland Corporation, a non-profit organization created to support of the City of Portland’s economic development efforts to enhance the creative economy, help the arts district development and encourage creative-based employment opportunities.

It was the first time I’ve gone to a web site launch at an art museum. The event was held at the Portland Museum of Art. I took a photo (below) of how they projected the web site onto a large wall, and nearly 100 people watched as they played the video interviews that are part of the site.

The LiveWorkPortland.org web site projected on the walls of the Portland Museum of Art.

The LiveWorkPortland.org web site projected on the walls of the Portland Museum of Art.

Celebrating the creative community

The site, and the group who put it together, are working to show people how vibrant Portland Maine’s creative economy is. They hope that fine artists will move and start working here. They hope that Arts District continues its growth. They hope that creative entrepreneurs find Portland an attractive place to do business.

It was evening that made me proud of what I’m a part of. Like many of the people highlighted on the web site, I moved here “from away.” [Note, if you’re not from Maine that is the somewhat derisive term that Mainers use for any one not born in Maine.]

I grew up outside of Boston, MA and attended college in the Midwest. I ended up living in Chicago on and for 13 years before and after attending design school at Mass Art. While I loved the vibrant city of Chicago, my husband and I eventually decided we were looking to be closer to family and to live in a smaller, less congested, more manageable city. Portland fit the bill for us.

We moved here at the end of 2005 and have really loved it. I set up my design studio in the Arts District in the State Theater Building (also called the Congress Building). I actually just re-newed my lease in the building and am moving into a larger suite. This web site launch party made me feel good about that decision to stay in the Arts District rather than move more into the traditional downtown area.

Three degrees of separation

Shortly after moving to Portland, someone told me that it’s not six degrees of separation here, it’s more like three. Because Portland is a small city and it can feel (for better or worse) that you know nearly everyone.

When I walked into this web site event, that was the feeling I experienced. I expected to see some familiar faces because I knew some of the people involved with the web site design and with the Creative Portland group. But I was surprised by just how many people I knew, and how they came from many different parts of my life.

Two people who have office space in my same building are featured on the web site. My across the street neighbors were also featured. My around-the-corner neighbor was one of the designers of the site.

You can move to Portland, Maine, too!

The goal for this new site is to be a resource for people considering moving to Portland. Especially people in the creative economy. Whether you’re a fine artist, a chef, web designer, a jeweler, a musician or a business owner, Portland can be a place for you to thrive.

If you’re looking for a great quality of life, a vibrant cultural scene, one of the best food scenes in the country, yet very little traffic or congestion, Portland may be for you.

6 comments

  1. judy murray | October 31, 2010 at 2:29 pm

    I am an artist looking for studio live work space. Please let me know what is available in Portland and Maine. I am very interested in moving by the end of January. Thank you, Judy

  2. Emily Brackett | October 31, 2010 at 7:07 pm

    Judy, I’m not that familiar with the live/work spaces, as my building is work only. I’d suggest you check out that web site: http://www.liveworkportland.org and/or come to a First Friday event in town to talk with more people about the options. Good luck with your move!

  3. You can certainly see your enthusiasm within the work you write. The sector hopes for even more passionate writers such as you who aren’t afraid to say how they believe. At all times go after your heart.

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