Rendering of the Paul J. Schupf Arts Center on Main Street in Waterville. Submitted image

WATERVILLE — Central Maine Growth Council recently presented its annual 2022 Developer of the Year award to Waterville Creates, a nonprofit arts organization. The award was presented at Central Maine Growth Council’s annual meeting, sponsored by Central Maine Motors, Kennebec Savings Bank, MaineGeneral Health, and Huhtamaki.

Waterville Creates offers year-round arts programming through its three programming divisions, Waterville Opera House, Maine Film Center, and Ticonic Gallery & Studios, according to a news release from the council.

The organization will continue to strengthen Waterville’s creative arts throughout the state of Maine with the completion of the Paul J. Schupf Arts Center, a transformative community hub for visual and performing arts, film, and arts education. Developed in partnership with Colby College, the $18 million, 32,000-square-foot facility will be open to the public in December and will feature three film screening rooms, two galleries, a clay studio, an arts education classroom, a rehearsal space, open space for the public to gather, a cafe featuring Bixby Chocolate Café, and an enclosed glass skywalk facing Waterville’s Castonguay Square and connecting to the Waterville Opera House.

“The completion of the Paul J. Schupf Arts Center symbolizes a dedication to community revitalization, the creative economy, and ensures arts programming will be accessible for all; reimagining the historic community asset into a community hub is representative of Colby College and Waterville Creates’ dynamic vision and dedication to retain Waterville’s unique history while supporting the revitalization of Main Street,” said Central Maine Growth Council Director of Planning, Innovation, and Economic Development Garvan Donegan. “Projects such as the Paul J. Schupf Art Center bring communities together, support the creation and retention of the area’s workforce, and lay the groundwork for cementing Waterville as a destination for fine arts throughout the state and New England as a whole.”

Established in 2014 by a group of local organizations interested in strengthening the arts through thoughtful collaboration, Waterville Creates merged with Common Street Arts in 2016 and with Waterville Opera House and Maine Film Center in 2018. Under this consolidated structure, the organization offers year-round programming, including theater productions, live music concerts, and hosts the annual Maine International Film Festival, a 10-day film festival that showcases nearly 100 films from some of Maine, New England’s, and America’s most innovative independent filmmakers.

“We are so grateful to the community for both their longstanding support of the arts in Waterville and for their contributions to this transformative project that centers the arts as core to our city’s identity and our ongoing revitalization efforts. We can’t wait to welcome everyone to our new home in the Paul J. Schupf Art Center this December,” said Shannon Haines, president + CEO of Waterville Creates. “This new building will be open and active 365 days a year, so we are especially excited about the way in which our programming will contribute to the vibrancy of the downtown and literally serve as a beacon of light through the darker winter months.”




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