The Arts & Prosperity Study 6 Highlights Remarkable Impact on Portland’s Economy

In October 2023, the results of the Arts & Economic Prosperity 6 Study (AEP6) were released, offering a profound insight into the incredible economic and social impact of the arts and culture sector in Portland, Maine. The findings from this groundbreaking study revealed an astounding $86 million in economic activity generated by the nonprofit arts and culture organizations, showcasing the vital role that the arts play in building more vibrant and livable communities.

The AEP6 study, conducted by Americans for the Arts (AFTA), disclosed that the Greater Portland nonprofit arts and culture industry contributed a total of $86 million to the local economy in 2022. This impressive figure consisted of $58.2 million in expenditures by nonprofit arts and culture organizations and an additional $27.8 million in event-related spending by their audiences.

What makes these numbers even more impressive is the impact on job creation and government revenue. The arts and culture sector in Portland supported 1,872 jobs and generated $20.7 million in local, state, and federal government revenue. The spending by arts and culture audiences further fueled the local economy by providing valuable commerce to local merchants.

In a recent press release, Dinah Minot, the Executive Director of Creative Portland, expressed her gratitude to the participating nonprofit cultural organizations and emphasized the study’s importance in shedding light on the arts’ role in Portland’s economic, social, and creative wellbeing. She emphasized that the arts and culture sector is a key driver for Greater Portland’s economy, underscoring its undeniable value to the community.

The AEP6 study is part of a nationwide effort to document the economic and social contributions of nonprofit arts and culture organizations. Nationally, the study unveiled that America’s nonprofit arts and culture sector is a staggering $151.7 billion industry, supporting 2.6 million jobs and generating $29.1 billion in government revenue. These numbers highlight the significance of the arts as an economic driver of vibrant communities not only in Portland but throughout the United States.

The AEP6 study in Portland was a collaborative effort that spanned over a year. Data was meticulously collected from both the participating nonprofit organizations and the audiences attending performing arts events. This comprehensive approach allowed for a holistic assessment of the sector’s economic impact, encompassing everything from organizational expenses to audience spending.

Several nonprofit organizations played a pivotal role in contributing to the study’s findings, including TEMPOart and the Portland Public Art Commission. The involvement of many other nonprofit organizations showcases the collective effort that made this study possible and underscores the sector’s commitment to transparency and accountability.

The Arts & Economic Prosperity 6 Study has undeniably emphasized the profound economic and social impact of the arts and culture sector in Portland. The impressive $86 million in economic activity, job creation, and government revenue generated by this sector reinforces the importance of supporting and sustaining local artists and arts initiatives.

As these findings resonate locally and nationally, they serve as a powerful reminder of the vital role the arts play in building more livable communities, fostering creativity, and driving economic growth. The AEP6 study in Portland demonstrates that the arts are not just a cultural expression but a fundamental driver of prosperity and vitality in our society. TEMPOart is proud to contribute to that vitality through our mission to commission and support public art that sparks dialogue, builds community, and inspires our collective imagination.

Links to learn more:

AEP6 Results Summary

Press Release: Arts & Economic Prosperity 6 Study Results for Portland, ME

Summary of Findings: Portland, ME AEP6 Results 

Complete Final Report: Portland, ME AEP6 Results

TEMPOart Wins the Rebel Blend Award in 2023

TEMPOart was awarded the 2023 Rebel Blend Award, a generous grant awarded to Maine-based artists and small arts organizations by Coffee by Design (CBD). This award has been a symbol of support for the vibrant arts community in Maine since 1998, contributing to the state’s artistic and cultural landscape in a profound way.

From CBD’s founder and owner Mary Allen Lindemann about the October 17 award ceremony, “This morning was awesome, we loved hearing from the Rebel Blend Fund grantees. One of the most amazing things is that we know, thanks to your help through your purchases of Rebel Blend ($1 from every pound brewed or sold goes to the Rebel Blend Fund) we are able to help share often untold stories. This year you raised $14,800 to share with five great non-profits, selected by a committee of our team members. To date we’ve given over $125,000! Thank you Phil, Dylan, Alina and Sam for reviewing the many great applications. And congratulations to “Conversations in Compassion,” Dyke March Maine, Four Directions Maine in support of the Wabanaki Artisan Fund, The Yellow Tulip Project EXPRESS and TEMPOart!”

The Rebel Blend Fund: A Remarkable Initiative

The Rebel Blend Fund is not your typical arts grant program. It’s a powerful partnership between CBD and local artists, where every pound of their best-selling Rebel Blend coffee sold or brewed in their coffeehouses contributes to a fund that, in turn, fuels artistic endeavors in Maine. For each pound of Rebel Blend coffee sold, CBD donates $1 to the Rebel Blend Fund, creating a sustainable source of support for local artists.

The Rebel Blend committee, comprising CBD team members, plays a crucial role in identifying proposals that may have been overlooked by conventional funding sources. They seek projects that challenge the status quo, spark thought-provoking conversations, and have the potential to engage people from all corners of the state.

Since its inception in 1998, the Rebel Blend Fund has been a beacon of hope for Maine artists and small arts organizations. With over $100,000 in grants awarded to support local artists, it has played a significant role in nurturing the creative spirit of the community. These grants have enabled artists to pursue innovative and meaningful projects that might not have seen the light of day without this support.

Empowering Local Artists

To be considered for Rebel Blend funding, artists and projects must be based in Maine, reinforcing the fund’s commitment to local talent. Applicants are required to submit comprehensive project descriptions, outlining how the grant money would benefit their creative endeavors. Beyond the financial support, the Rebel Blend Fund offers significant marketing benefits to the recipients. The winners’ stories are covered by local media, and their accomplishments are celebrated through an annual press conference and social media channels, amplifying their impact on the community.

In their pursuit of supporting the arts in Maine, CBD expresses gratitude to their partners at Androscoggin Bank for their ongoing promotional support for the Rebel Blend Fund. This partnership amplifies the impact of the fund, extending its reach and ensuring that local artists receive the support they need.

TEMPOart’s win of the Rebel Blend Award in 2023 exemplifies the fund’s mission to empower artists who push the boundaries of conventional art forms. TEMPOart, an organization dedicated to bringing art into public spaces, embodies the spirit of the Rebel Blend Fund with their innovative projects that engage and inspire the Maine community.

The Rebel Blend Award is a testament to the enduring commitment of Coffee By Design to the arts community in Maine. Since 1998, it has been a source of encouragement and support for local artists and small arts organizations. With TEMPOart’s 2023 win, we celebrate not just a single artist or project but the enduring power of community support for the arts in Maine. The Rebel Blend Fund continues to foster creativity, dialogue, and cultural growth in the state, leaving a lasting impact on the Maine arts scene.

Summer 2023 Program Recap: Inspiring Imagination Through Public Art

At TEMPOart, we believe in the transformative power of public art and its potential to inspire innovative learning opportunities for people of all ages. Our commitment to fostering creativity, community engagement, and collective imagination is at the heart of our mission. This summer, our programs once again brought the magic of public art to life, thanks to our valuable partnerships and the incredible Carousel Cosmos by Chris Miller, a TEMPOart commission on the Western Promenade on view from June 2023 – June 2024.

In 2023, we were delighted to partner with Chris Miller, the artist behind Carousel Cosmos, who played a pivotal role in our summer programs. Chris didn’t just share his art; he connected with our students, sparking their creativity and answering their inquisitive minds. Through engaging discussions and personal insights, Chris provided a unique opportunity for young artists to explore the world of public art and understand the stories that have shaped his incredible creations.

At the outset, young artists were faced with a delightful dilemma – how should they interact with these lifelike sculptures? Should they pet them? Could they ride them, even though they were inanimate? These questions evolved into captivating conversations about the roles of animals and humans in different societies, giving birth to a world of imagination.

As the summer camp progressed, our budding artists began to visualize a world where animals had the freedom to move like humans. They sketched vibrant scenes of the Western Promenade as if Carousel Cosmos’ animals had sprung to life. They didn’t stop at drawing; they got hands-on experience by sculpting their own animals, both real and imagined, from clay.

Our young artists demonstrated remarkable creativity by crafting 3-D sculptural hats, each adorned with a paper-mache character or creature, inspired by the Carousel Cosmos. Others took on the challenge of creating articulated cardboard puppets of the carousel animals, adding a new layer of artistic expression. Our programs transcended traditional artistic boundaries as participants wove new mythological stories and performances to accompany their unique creations. These captivating narratives were then shared with friends and family, bringing the joy of art into our broader community.

Chris Miller designed Interdimensional Craft Kits, assembled by Chickadeeds volunteers, for pediatric patients at the nearby Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital. This collaboration extended the reach of public art to those in need in our community, providing a ray of hope and creativity during their hospital stay.


Here’s what our partners had to say about the impact of the 2023 summer programs:

Mayo Street Arts: “Our students were absolutely enamored with the sculptures. Students’ imaginations were sparked as they tried their own hands at sculpting animals—both real and imagined—from clay back at MSA during the final week of camp.”

Side x Side Oak Street Studios: “Students created mythological stories to go along with their creations, drawing inspiration from their time spent with the installation and conversations with Chris Miller.”

Portland Stage Company: “Participants explored the work with all of their senses, met the artist, built narrative and physical performance inspired by the work, and created a unique performance that they shared with their friends and family on the final day of camp.”

In 2023, our summer programs not only connected youth with creativity and community but also extended the joys of public art to those who needed it most. We are excited about the continued impact of TEMPOart and look forward to many more seasons of artistic inspiration and community engagement. Thank you for your support in making this possible.

Photos courtesy of program partners Side x Side, Oak Street Studios, and Chickadeeds

Interdimensional Craft Kits for the Children’s Hospital

Thank you to artist Chris Miller @npdworkshop for working to bring his TEMPOart commissioned work Carousel Cosmos to everyone. Carousel Cosmos is a public art installation, and public art is for everyone. Carousel Cosmos is for Everyone, in all of time and all of space. If for any reason you can’t visit the animals in person, they can visit you.

Chris Miller (the artist behind @tempomaine‘s Carousel Cosmos currently installed on Portland’s Western Prom) designed the Interdimensional Craft Kits that chickadeeds volunteers assembled for pediatric patients in the adjacent Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital!

On September 10, 2023 chickadeeds volunteers gathered on Portland’s Western Prom. Together, we:

❤️ FELT the power of public art connecting communities and sparking dialogue, thanks to @tempomaine + artist Chris MIller (@npdworkshop)’s colorful, current installation Carousel Cosmos

🤝 ASSEMBLED 100 Interdimensional Craft Kits (inc 3D models of Miller’s extraordinary Carousel Cosmos animals, galaxy and ski origami papers, sparkling pipe cleaners, colorful pom pom bursts, + paper straws with stars) for pediatric patients in the neighboring BBCH @mainemedicalcenter

🙏 HEARD from BBCH nurse Mary Labady about how craft kits are just one of the ways our medical professionals can help their patients feel happy and cared for during their hospital stay

Download an Interdimensional Craft Kit for your family via this link! The kit offers an extraordinary opportunity for kids and families to create your own projects with Chris’ 3D animal models, explore concepts about our place in the cosmos, and write your own artist statement.

We are grateful to chickadeeds for partnering with TEMPOart to extend access to public art!

Staffing Announcement: Jessica Muise Hired as Interim Executive Director of TEMPOart

We are thrilled to announce the appointment of Jessica Muise as the Interim Executive Director of TEMPOart, effective August 28, 2023. Muise brings a wealth of experience and a deep passion for the arts, making her a perfect fit to lead our organization forward. TEMPOart is a nonprofit organization dedicated to championing and commissioning public art in Portland, ME. Our mission is to enliven public spaces, connect communities, and spark meaningful conversations through art.

We believe in the power of temporary art to encourage deeper thinking and provoke discussions on timely issues. With a commitment to making art free, open, and inclusive, TEMPOart collaborates with educational and cultural institutions to offer inspiring learning opportunities for people of all backgrounds.

Jessica Muise is a dynamic leader with a diverse background in the arts, administration, and community development. Her journey to TEMPOart is filled with a range of experiences that have uniquely prepared her for this exciting new role. Muise has spent a significant portion of her career in the vibrant arts community of New England, specializing in understanding the creative economy and its role in community-building. Her previous roles include:

  • Working at the New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA) in Boston, where she focused on the creative economy.
  • Serving as the Membership and Outreach Director at Artisan’s Asylum, a large-scale community space in Somerville.
  • Managing visual arts at the Umbrella Arts Center in Concord.
  • Holding the position of treasurer for CraftMass, a nonprofit organization that supports creative communities.
  • Volunteering at Boston University’s BUild Lab, which focuses on arts and social impact.

Furthermore, she holds a Bachelor’s degree in dance in education as transformative pedagogy from New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study. Her personal work centers on creating dance in public spaces, emphasizing inclusivity and community engagement. Muise also participated in the Executive Program in Arts & Culture Strategy at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Social Policy and Practice.

Muise’s decision to join TEMPOart was motivated by our mission of transformation through the arts and our role in Biddeford’s vibrant artistic community. She is enthusiastic about helping others experience personal and community transformation through art and believes in the arts as a powerful tool for community development.

Muise’s appointment as Interim Executive Director marks an exciting chapter in TEMPOart’s journey. She joins us during a time of transition, where we’ll be listening to artists, board members, and the community to shape our future strategic plans. As we navigate the post-pandemic landscape, her experience and skills will play a crucial role in ensuring the arts remain a central and secure part of our community’s identity.

We welcome Muise’s energy, enthusiasm, and visionary leadership to TEMPOart and look forward to her contributions as we continue to champion public art in Portland. Please join us in extending a warm welcome to Jessica as she takes on her new role. Photo by suger.

The magic of Carousel Cosmos captured by Buoy Media

TEMPOart’s commitment to bringing art to the public sphere has been further solidified by Carousel Cosmos by Chris Miller, commissioned in 2023. The installation has quickly become a focal point for the community, creating a space where people can gather, appreciate art, and connect with each other. It has redefined the way public spaces are used, highlighting the importance of art in enhancing our daily lives.

Thanks to Buoy Media, we have captured some of the magic of Carousel Cosmos to share with you through the interwebs, enjoy!

Carousel Cosmos making headlines

Carousel Cosmos by Chris Miller, a TEMPOart commission, has been turning heads in Portland. With captivating and imaginative elements, this remarkable installation has captured the attention of both the media and the community. Let’s take a closer look at the headlines it has been making in 2023.

This summer, Carousel Cosmos took center stage, and its enchanting, lifelike creatures are leaving an indelible mark on the Western Promenade. The Bangor Daily News aptly described the installation highlighting the awe and wonder it has brought to the city. The article “Prehistoric creatures have popped up on Portland’s Western Promenade” delves into the magical transformation of this public space, where animals from another era seem to have come to life.

Before Carousel Cosmos animals roamed the Western Promenade again, it was anticipated as a source of of joy and creativity. The Portland Press Herald introduced this exciting project full of ‘friendly monsters” and noted each animal bench’s “support of their own“, highlighting the art’s friendly, approachable, and curious nature.

Carousel Cosmos has not only brought vibrant art to the heart of Portland but has also encouraged meaningful discussions about art’s role in our lives. As it continues to make headlines, this new work by Chris Miller stands as a testament to the enduring impact of public art on our city’s culture and identity. If you haven’t experienced Carousel Cosmos yet, be sure to visit the Western Promenade and let your imagination run wild amidst these intergalactic creatures.

Scene from the Community Opening for Carousel Cosmos, June 2023

Carousel Cosmos Community Opening

You are invited to our 2023 Community Opening! 

Join TEMPOart and artist Chris Miller on Thursday, June 15 at the installation site on the Western Promenade to celebrate the opening of Carousel Cosmos. There will be music by The Maine Squeeze Accordion Ensemble and fun for the whole family!

This celebration is free and open to the public.

This event is weather dependent. The rain date is
THURSDAY, JUNE 22 from 5:30-6:30pm.

Here’s a sneak peek of the animals in Chris’s workshop!

You’re Invited to Catalyst 2023

This exciting event will include a sneak peek of this year’s installation, Carousel Cosmos, by Chris Miller! We’ll also enjoy a performance of Watermelon Ice by our 2022 artist Pamela Moulton and Jes Ellis! We’ll be joined by TEMPO artists past and present, as we bring the TEMPOart community together for the first time in four years.Tickets include light bites and drinks.


2023 Host Committee Meg and Rob Adams
Rachael and Justin Alfond
Noni and Charlton Ames
Kate and Aaron Anker, Running with Scissors 
Christine Beneman
Braden Buehler
Richard Bilodeau and Scott Choquette 
Barbara and Bill Burgess 
Kate and Tom Chappell
John and Linda Coleman
Vera Correll
Sarah Daignault
Anna Dibble
David and Jil Eaton
Taffy Fields
Laura Freid
Alison Gibbs and Loren Kessel
Anna Ginn
Kent Gordon
Betsy Griffin and Dustin McLellan
Cyrus Hagge and Jessica Tomlinson
Rachael Harkness
Bruce Hazard
Alison Hildreth
Kate Howe
Angus King III and Cricket King
Gregg Lipton and Sara Crisp
DeCourcy McIntosh
Margaret Morfit
Ah-Kau and Sally Ng
Dawn Ng
Malcolm and Susan Rogers
Frank and Susan Ruch
Jenny Scheu and John Ryan
Jim and Lynn Shaffer
Alice and Dick Spencer
Aaron Stephan and Lauren Fensterstock
David and Ann Swardlick
Caroline Teschke
Kristin and Warren Valdmanis
Stuart and Karen Watson
Rosie Williams
Kathryn Yates
Caron ZandIt’s not too late to join the host committee!
Tickets are available on our website

Support TEMPOart this year

Since I founded TEMPOart in 2015, I have been constantly amazed by the support of our local community. We are grateful to the many donors who have already contributed this year to further our mission to champion public art in Portland. Your generosity allows us to support local artists and offer robust, free programming for people of all ages to accompany our installations.

Public art presents a platform for people to gather. To start a conversation. To encourage deeper thinking. To enliven a public place with community engagement.

If you have not already made a gift this year, I invite you to donate today in any amount that is meaningful to you and your family. With your help, TEMPOart will be able to continue grow and create more ambitious, impactful public art for years to come.

Thank you for believing in TEMPOart and for your support.


Alice Spencer, Founder and Chair TEMPOart
TEMPOart is a 501(c)(3) Nonprofit Organization. We are funded primarily by private donations. No goods or services were exchanged for this charitable contribution.