Arts council gets $4,000 state grant


RUMFORD – The newly created River Valley Arts Council learned on Friday that it has received a $4,000 grant that will enable a kick-off performance and the establishing of an office in downtown Rumford.

Town Manager Steve Eldridge, who also spearheads the arts group, said on Tuesday that the Maine Community Foundation provided the funds.

“We’ll be setting up a computer and staff the office with volunteers for now,” he said.

The office is expected to be housed in a display section of the Pennacook Arts Center on Congress Street. He said the group is going after other arts-related grants.

The office is expected to open at about the same time as the arts center re-opens its doors as an artist cooperative sometime in May.

Until the end of December, the gallery was a for-profit business; however, owner Lem Cissel said when he established the gallery two years ago that his aim was for it to become a self-sustaining cooperative.

Arts council volunteers will update the group’s Web site – – with events, news and other information.

The new logo, created by arts council member Becky Welsh, was also recently unveiled. It depicts a stylized river flowing to the mountains.

The kick-off of the arts council features a performance by the Nordica Trio from Farmington at 1 p.m. on May 21 in the Municipal Auditorium. A photography show created by local photographers will also be on display. Representatives from the Maine College of Arts, Portland, will attend. The River Valley Arts Council has been working with the college to bring some kind of art offerings to the area for more than six months.

The council is continuing its efforts to secure grant money so that about half of the fourth floor of the River Valley Technology Center can be renovated to accommodate studio space for working artists.

The council meets at 9 a.m. Thursday to continue work on its projects.