The chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts will spend parts of two days in Maine this week, touring the arts-centric cities of Rockland and Portland for a first-hand look at how federal dollars spur economic development in the state through the arts and creative enterprise.

Rocco Landesman, who attended Colby College, will visit Rockland on Wednesday afternoon, then drive to Portland for a 5 p.m. forum at Portland Stage Company and a reception later that evening at Maine College of Art.

Thursday morning, he will tour the Portland Arts District on foot and, if time allows, stop at the Portland Museum of Art for a quick look at the new exhibition of French landscape paintings that opens Thursday. At MECA, he will get a preview of a national furniture-making conference that also opens Thursday.

“The NEA is the largest funder of the arts in Maine, so the fact that the chairman of this granting organization is visiting Maine to see what is going on on the ground is a great benefit to us,” said Darrell Bulmer, acting director of the Maine Arts Commission.

Although he is a frequent visitor to Maine, this week marks Landesman’s first official visit to Maine as NEA chairman. He has held the post since August 2009.


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