Hoping to capitalize on the rich history of Maine art and artists, the Colby Museum of Art has joined a consortium of museums throughout the state to form the Maine Art Museum Trail.
The alliance will publish a museum trail brochure, build a Web site and offer a toll-free number where callers can receive information and directions to each of the seven museums of the consortium. It also will undertake a media campaign to showcase the pooled resources of the member museums, which include the Farnsworth Museum in Rockland, the Ogunquit Museum of American Art, the Portland Museum of Art and the art museums at Colby, Bates, Bowdoin and the University of Maine.
Communications Coordinator for the Museum of Art Bill Jefferson, a leading proponent and organizer, says the idea for the art trail grew out of a presentation he and his wife, Colby art professor Bevin Engman, heard about several Connecticut museums that had formed a similar association. "When we presented the idea [to Maine consortium members] everybody said, `Wow, we should have done this years ago,'" Jefferson said.
With help from Abbe Levin of the Maine Arts Commission and Anne Ball of the Cultural Tourism Task Force, Jefferson mobilized support and helped attract funding for the art trail. "Our resources together are worth so much more than they are independently," he said. "The strengths of the different museums complement each other."
Members of the consortium hired the Swardlick Marketing Group of Portland to promote the museum trail, and David Swardlick '73 presented ideas for a logo and identity system at a meeting in early February.
Because of their inland locations, the Colby and Bates museums may benefit the most from the promotional campaign, according to Jefferson. "We're not on the regular `trail' [for arts patrons] because we're not on the coast. This added visibility we hope will bring some of those people here who might otherwise not come," he said.
For more information about the art trail, which debuts April 15, call 1-800-782-6497.