Arts organizations and artists should expect more from the Maine Arts Commission, its director told them Tuesday.

“We need to support more organizations and more artists,” executive director Julie Richard said during a planning summit at the University of Southern Maine in Portland. “We have to make the pie bigger.”

The arts commission surveyed more than 6,500 Mainers – in and outside the arts community – and is in the process of building a strategic plan based partly on those survey results and conversations in 30 communities statewide.

The plan will be announced in May. Richard and her staff shared preliminary survey results and hinted at what the final plan might look like during Tuesday’s summit, attended by more than 100 artists and arts organizations in southern Maine.

The commission will hold a similar summit from 1 to 4 p.m. Wednesday at the University of Maine in Orono and from 10 a.m. to noon Thursday at the University of Maine at Presque Isle.

The strategic plan will emphasize four initiatives:

• Finding ways to increase the impact of the arts on Maine’s vitality and prosperity.

• Tying the arts to tourism.

• Fortifying art education for traditional students and lifelong learners.

• Increasing awareness of all creative enterprises and opportunities in Maine.

This week’s meetings will help the commission set priorities among those initiatives. “We want to make sure they’re the right ones and how they can be approved upon,” commission chairman Charles Stanhope said.

The survey and strategic plan are part of Richard’s effort to make the Maine Arts Commission more responsive. The commission has an annual budget of $1.7 million, which comes from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Maine Legislature. The budget will increase by about $200,000 in the next budget cycle, Richard said.

The commission surveyed 6,585 Mainers in every county, and attempted to collect responses from a range of residents and demographics. While the results suggest that people in Maine broadly support the arts, they also show areas where Maine can do better, Richard said.

According to the survey, 30 percent of respondents characterized the arts and culture opportunities in their communities as “fair to poor.” Among 165 arts organizations that responded, 43 percent said they broke even, 33 percent said they were profitable, and 24 percent said they were losing money. Based on those 165 responses, the typical arts organization in Maine generates most of its contributed income from individuals and corporations, and is supported by a core group of 350 individual donors and 25 corporations.

Among responding artists, 22 percent said they make their living from their art; 78 percent do not.

The survey also suggests that artists and arts organizations do not take advantage of tourism in Maine. Less than 25 percent of survey respondents said they benefit from tourism. Further, the survey also suggests that arts groups do a mediocre job promoting themselves. Among arts groups, 59 percent of respondents have websites and 51 percent are active on social media. Among artists, 63 percent have their own website and 38 percent have a Facebook page.

If Maine were wired better, those numbers likely would be much higher, said Diane Mataraza, a Florida-based consultant who works with artists and cultural organizations and is helping the Maine Arts Commission with its strategic plan. Additionally, only 47 percent said it was “easy” to find information about arts-related activities; 18 percent said it was “kind of hard.”

Portland-based mime, clown magician and juggler Michael Trautman attended Tuesday’s session to make the case that education is the key to solving many of the issues. When kids are exposed to the arts, either as makers or audience members, they tend to make the arts a priority in their lives, he said. “Everything begins there,” he said. “We have to plant the seed.”

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