Maybe we don’t love the arts as much as we think.

Mainers are running out of time to show their love for a specialty license plate that supports Maine arts. The Maine Crafts Association is hoping that 2,000 people pay $29 to reserve a LOVE license plate, which features an image of Robert Indiana’s pop-art “LOVE” sculpture. Indiana lives on Vinalhaven Island. The plate includes the tagline, “The State of the Arts.”

The deadline is June 1. If 2,000 people prepay for the plate by then, the Bureau of Motor Vehicles will make it available. So far, about 525 people have signed up, said the organization’s executive director, Sadie Bliss.

“I would say we have a big challenge ahead of us,” she said. “I wish it were higher – I thought it would be higher,” she said.

Several arts groups in Maine, including the Maine Arts Commission, are pushing for higher numbers. The crafts council has retained the Brand Company of Portland for a social-media campaign to help reach the goal.

Maine already has a lot of specialty plates. They raise money for local agriculture, breast cancer awareness, animal adoptions and other causes.

Julie Richard, who directs the Maine Arts Commission, hopes the recent publicity push sends the number to 2,000. “While we and the Maine Crafts Association have been talking about this and promoting it for almost two years, the bottom line is that unless it has an extensive advertising campaign attached – and the requisite funds to do that – it is very difficult to get the word out about these programs,” she wrote in an email.

The campaign to raise awareness has only just begun, she said.

The Maine Arts Commission is plugging the plates on its website and many Maine museums are urging members to buy a plate. In addition, the Maine Crafts Association distributed 20,000 postcards to households in Maine.

“In many ways, the big campaign has just begun,” Bliss said. “The deadline is here, and I think that’s when many people will make their decision.”

Richard believes the plate will be successful long term, if it can get over the initial 2,000 threshold. “I firmly believe that if this plate could get approved, we would not have any problem selling it at all and it could yield a great return.”

If enough people sign up and the plates are produced, the Maine Crafts Association and the Maine Arts Commission will benefit from its sales. Money collected during the preregistration process goes to Bureau of Motor Vehicles to produce the plate. After the plate is publicly available, the crafts council and Maine Arts Commission would receive $10 for each new plate and renewal.

People who prepay will receive a voucher for the plate if the goal is met. If the crafts association does not reach its goal, the people who have already prepaid will get their money back, or they may donate it to the crafts association, Bliss said.

In addition to raising money, the specialty plates would call attention to Maine’s creative enterprise, Bliss said. She hopes that’s enough to spur people to buy the plate.

“The arts are a cultural and economic driver, and the license plate is a way to broadcast that and encourage more of it,” she said. “It’s a way to show that Maine is a place for art and that the arts are valued here.”

Despite the challenge of getting nearly 1,500 more people to pay for the plate in the next month, Bliss believes she and her colleagues can reach the goal. A looming deadline creates urgency, she said. People are more apt to act if they know they’re running out of time.

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