RUMFORD – Craftspeople and others interested in seeing Maine products displayed and sold will have a chance Wednesday night to learn about a Center for Maine Crafts under construction at the Maine Turnpike travel plaza in West Gardiner.

The presentation is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. in the public room of the Rumford Public Library.

The Pennacook Art Center is hosting the discussion by Lynn Thompson, special projects consultant for the Maine Crafts Association.

“We’re looking to feature Maine-made crafts,” Thompson said. “This is an opportunity for Maine craftspeople to display their work.”

The 2,500-square-feet allotted to the Maine Crafts Association is expected to be open by November, she said.

She has traveled around the state during the past few months presenting the plan to as many people as possible. Last week she was in Millinocket, and after Wednesday’s presentation, she will travel to Blanchard and Dover-Foxcroft.

The crafts center site was chosen because of its central location, she said. From there, visitors can head up to Aroostook County, to the coast, or to the Western Mountains.

The center is the result of a merging of the Maine Crafts Association, which had focused on education, and the Highlands Guild, based in Piscataquis County, which focuses on economic development. The Maine Turnpike Authority is leasing the space to the Maine Crafts Association for $1 annually.

She will also speak on other programs that focus on cultural touring, access to markets for craftspeople, grant and low-interest funding opportunities for craftspeople, and a new associates degree program offered by the state’s community college system on traditional and contemporary crafts.


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