Maine Leaders to Explore the Critical Connection Between Imagination, Creativity and Economic Development


Tuesday, April 5th – Imagination Conversation

Eric Hopkins

A collaboration of public and private organizations has come together to host a community-wide event so that Maine can lend its collective voice to a national conversation on how to foster the innovation and creativity needed to compete in the 21st-century global marketplace.

“From Imagination to Innovation: Maine Participates in the Lincoln Center Institute’s Imag’nation Conversation” will be held from 4 to 8 p.m., Tuesday, April 5, in USM’s Hannaford Lecture Hall, Bedford Street, Portland.
To register, go to Tickets are $20 for the public and $5 for students.

The Maine Center for Creativity and the University of Southern Maine are presenting the event. Collaborators include the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance, the Maine Arts Commission, the Creative Portland Corporation, the Farnsworth Art Museum, the Maine Department of Education, Wright Express, the Maine Alliance for Arts Education, the Maine Humanities Council and Maine Public Broadcasting.

Through a keynote address and a series of discussions in concurrent workshops, the “Conversation” will provide opportunities for people from diverse sectors to consider how we can integrate imagination into our
schools, workplaces and communities in such a way that it advances creation of a vibrant economy and quality of life.  “We hope to bring people together from different walks of life to discover that imagination is essential not
only in the arts,” said Jean Maginnis, executive director of the Maine Center for Creativity, “but also in the success of all of us in the state of Maine.”

To help focus the discussions, participants will be asked to respond to the following three questions:

  • How does imagination function in your field/work/sector?
  • How do you cultivate and sustain imagination in your work?
  • What will it take for us to foster these practices in Maine?

Conversations from each of the 50 states are being documented and compiled for presentation at a national “Imagination Summit” in New York scheduled for July of this year. It’s expected that an action agenda will be developed to make the cultivation of imagination a key element in our schools and part of a national public policy agenda.

The Portland event will feature nationally known artist Eric Hopkins of North Haven, who will offer the keynote address. Other speakers include University of Maine Professor of Civil and Structural Engineering Habib
Dagher; mimedancer Karen Montanaro;  Aaron Frederick, entrepreneur and a founder of Rippleffect, the non-profit that exposes teens to the coastal Maine experience; and Carol Farrell, co-director of Figures of Speech
Theatre. Veteran Maine journalist and public affairs consultant Patsy Wiggins will serve as moderator.

“As part of our mission as a public university we provide a forum where people of diverse perspectives can come together and think creatively and provocatively about how to better understand and advance the important
issues of the day,” said USM President Selma Botman.

For more information on the Lincoln Center Institute (LCI) and the “Imag’nation Conversations,” visit

Editor’s Note: For More information, including contacts at the collaborating organizations, contact Jean Maginnis, executive director, Maine Center for Creativity, (207) 730-0694


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4 Responses to “Maine Leaders to Explore the Critical Connection Between Imagination, Creativity and Economic Development”

  1. Alice Weber James Says:

    I was an art teacher for over twenty years; then because of severe bout of cancer, I became a children’s author with Farrar, Straus and Giroux, writing about families in Portland- who have had to resettle due to displacement in war zones. I have worked with inner city kids as an art teacher and adults at USM’s creativity adult ed program. I taught for many years at MSAD 51.
    I have just received an exploratory grant from the City of South Portland to set up a collaborative center for kids ages 10 to 15 called (for the moment) the Rollercoaster Zone, which will incorporate Zoey’s Room and a program with a dremel tool called the Instructables for building skateboards, ramps, and just about anything. Everyone will learn basic circuitry through the Talking Monkey project. I will be taking an online course on Innovations this summer through a midwest group of state universities, this one happens to be the Univ. of Washington. I am also connected to an arts collaborative in Kosova and Budapest, who are interested in sharing their ideas as well. Thank you for creating this opportunity! I am very excited about attending.
    Alice James (publish as Alice Mead: (

    • Argy Nestor Says:

      Sounds like such interesting work you do Alice! Thank you for posting your comments. I look forward to meeting you at the Imagination Conversation in June!

  2. Alice Weber James Says:

    Is it true that USM is no longer hosting this activity?
    Then is it cancelled?

    • Argy Nestor Says:

      This event was postponed until June 2nd and will be held at USM, Portland campus as stated in the post.

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