LEWISTON — The Cultural Plan L/A Launch meeting Monday evening brought together a diverse and passionate group dedicated to improving the quality and abundance of arts and culture.

The plan is a collaborative project of L/A Arts, Arts and Culture Lewiston Auburn, the Maine Arts Commission and Reinholt Consulting. Emily Reinholt and Saskia Reinholt of Reinholt Consulting and Josh Vink and Tyson Pease of L/A Arts conducted the meeting.

Emily Reinholt said there is a lot of potential for creativity in this area and it’s important to understand that “this is not a plan that will be shelved when it’s done.” There are already plans and grants in place to continue with Phase II of the project as soon as Phase I is complete. 

The meeting started as a roundtable discussion and presentation of the plan outline. Cultural Plan Committee members were tasked with providing specific examples of what would improve the arts and culture in the region. 

“Arts and culture has a rippling effect on the rest of the town, even the region,” Emily Reinholt said. “It builds a quality of place, and brings divergent sections together.”

The group identified strengths in the community such as diversity, accessibility and affordability, population density and geography. Taking advantage of the transformation of the culture through immigrants was also mentioned.


The group came up with main goals for the cultural plan. The biggest venture is to have broad support for arts and culture and convince all people that it is essential both for community development and economic drive.

Dianna Pozdniakov, a local artist and business owner, said, “We need to change the perspective of our community, get rid of the cultural and community negativity.”

Fatuma Hussein, a member of the L/A community, said, “There is a clear divide between the nonimmigrant and immigrant communities here,” she said. “There is a need to belong and be a real part of the community, not just for immigrants, but all marginalized subgroups. We want to make a life for ourselves and our children.” 

There was also an emphasis on accessibility of art in education.

The Franco-American Heritage Center will begin allowing students to attend shows for free, when they aren’t sold out. It’s a first step in incorporating art and culture into education. The next step, according to Vink, needs to be more funding.

Vink believes long-term success depends on cultural and economic sustainability.

The plan is to get as much feedback from as many people as possible in Lewiston and Auburn.

The committee has four more meetings scheduled between October 2015 and June 2016.

“Many people in our community don’t see the value of arts, how do we address that?” — Josh Fink, Executive Director of L/A Arts

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.