RUMFORD – The River Valley Arts Initiative Community Forum begins at 4 p.m. Thursday at Mountain Valley Middle School.

Anyone from the area is encouraged to attend to help find artists, craftspeople, writers, historians, photographers and others who practice their talent in the River Valley area.

Becky Welsh, coordinator of the River Valley arts initiative, has already identified 120. She knows there are a lot more out there.

The forum will also be a chance to look at the arts and determine how arts and culture are important to the life and economy of the area.

Bruce Hazard of Mountain Counties Heritage will facilitate the gathering. Keith Ludden of the Maine Arts Commission will provide an overview of the Discovery Research Process of which the River Valley Arts Initiative is a part.

After the overview, those attending will break into three interest areas covering arts in education and young people, individual artists, and cultural organizations and cultural/ethnic heritage groups in the area.

A free supper will be served at 6 p.m., followed by reports from each group and a determination on the next steps to take.

Welsh said eventually a directory of all artists in the River Valley will be published.

The project is important to the River Valley area, said Welsh.

“It has the potential to be a huge shot in the arm for the River Valley image,” she said.

Those who plan to attend the supper should contact Welsh at 364-7408.

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