The Maine Arts Commission will present five diverse Maine artists in a fast-paced Idea Lab, modeled on the pecha kucha format, to open a full day of activities Friday, Oct. 7, in its second Maine International Conference on the Arts at the Bates Mill in Lewiston, according to a news release from the commission. Conference registration opens at 7 a.m., with breakfast at 7:30 a.m. The Idea Lab is from 8:15 to 9:15 a.m., and the conference runs until 5 p.m.

The Idea Lab, in which artists will present their current innovations in their craft, is scheduled to begin the day with a strong dose of inspiration for the artists, arts organizations, arts educators, community developers, and policy makers attending the conference.

The Idea Lab will feature these Maine artists from five different artistic disciplines:

• Marsha Donahue, Visual Arts, Millinocket. The owner and founder of North Light Gallery, Donahue has degrees in the fine arts from American University and the Maine College of Art and cites as inspirations Winslow Homer and John Singer Sargent.

• Nancy Frohlich, Arts Education, Rockport. The founding director of Leaps of Imagination, Frohlich has worked in small schools as a Head of School, Director of Studies, and teacher. Her earliest training came from Sybil Marshall, a renowned British educator, who believed that a classroom is like a symphony: one subject should flow into and connect with the others, like instruments in an orchestra.

• Salim Salim, Literature, Bowdoin College. Salim speaks five languages and was born and raised in the city of Mosul, Iraq. Salim’s family was forced to escape because of increasingly risky security issues. After leaving Iraq, Salim and his family came to the United States in 2010, where he attended Portland’s Deering High School. Salim credits organizations like Seeds of Peace, The Telling Room, and TEDxDirigo for helping him maximize his potential as an immigrant living in America.


• Sarah Sockbeson, Traditional Arts, Lewiston. Sockbeson creates handcrafted authentic Penobscot ash basketry made from the finest quality brown ash and sweetgrass and woven with traditional Maine Wabanaki techniques. She is a third-generation participant in the Maine Arts Commission’s Traditional Arts Apprenticeship program, having apprenticed with Jennifer Neptune in 2004.

• Daniel Sonenberg, Performing Arts, South Portland. Sonenberg is a composer and performer. He is best known for his opera, “The Summer King,” about Negro League baseball legend Josh Gibson. The opera was premiered in concert format in a joint presentation by Portland Ovations and the University of Southern Maine at Portland’s Merrill Auditorium in May 2014, with the support of a National Endowment for the Arts grant. It will receive its staged world premiere by Pittsburgh Opera in 2017.

Following the Idea Lab, the Maine International Conference on the Arts will offer 20 breakout sessions in five tracks to support the growth and development of individual artists, arts organizations, and communities; as well as 12 pop-up performances by Maine artists; an Exhibition Hall; a walking tour of Lewiston-Auburn; and a lunchtime keynote. The keynote, “Stop Asking for Permission! Leading from a Place of Making (Things Happen),” will be delivered by Sherry Wagner-Henry, director of the Bolz Center for Arts Administration at the University of Wisconsin.

To see further presenter, workshop and schedule details and to register for the Maine International Conference on the Arts, go to To learn more about the Maine Arts Commission’s current and future programs, go to

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