LEWISTON — A group of 19 Twin Cities arts groups — ranging from theaters to galleries to special events — are ready to unveil their alliance.

“We’ve been working on this for a year,” said member Michael Dostie. “The purpose now is to tell everyone that we exist. This collaboration exists and now we can talk about the benefits. This is an opportunity to increase the visibility of the arts and cultural sectors here in Lewiston-Auburn.”

Dostie, a member of the L/A Arts Board of Directors and one of the founders of the Downtown Art Walks, said Arts and Culture Lewiston/Auburn brings the various arts groups together to plan, help promote their events and guide one another.

Member groups include Androscoggin Historical Society, Bates Dance Festival, the Franco-American Heritage Center, the Maine Music Society and the Midcoast Symphony Orchestra, Museum L/A and both municipal libraries.

“It’s been process setting everything up,” Dostie said. “You are talking about nonprofit organizations, so that means small staffs. And we’re talking about some of the busiest people on the planet.”

The group has scheduled a news conference at 12:15 p.m. Sept. 26 at Auburn’s Hilton Garden Inn to discuss their plan. Dostie said they’ll also discuss a partnership with a Lewiston-Auburn business.

The group’s first act was to create a new website, www.artsandculturela.org, which serves as calendar of all of the cultural events in the Twin Cities, from concerts at the Franco American Heritage Center to performances at Lewiston-Auburn Community Little Theatre and Lewiston’s Public Theatre.

“We have enough cohesion now among all the groups that we can announce our presence,” he said. “The website has support from the Chamber of Commerce and both cities. We’ve been laying the groundwork for months now, and we really want to integrate it with other community pages.”

But the purpose is not just to create a community arts calendar. Dostie said that most of the benefits Twin Cities will see are behind the scenes.

“Someday, we’d love to create a collaborative festival-style event,” Dostie said. “But also, because of this collaboration, we are setting the stage for new grant funding that could relate to economic growth. There is a lot of opportunity when you get these powerful groups together.”

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