Mayor Ethan Strimling recently announced a new endeavor, called "Arts in the Chamber," which will be a part of Portland City Council meetings beginning on Wednesday, September 7th at 5:00 PM. The effort, which will highlight Portland poets, artists, performers, and musicians in a short, three-to five-minute showcase at the beginning of the meeting, is intended to both highlight Portland's vibrant creative community as well as serve as an inspirational kickoff to Council business.
The concept of Arts in the Chamber was born out of Mayor Ethan Strimling's experience of hearing a moving poem written and read by Miss Josie Pierce at Casco Bay High School's graduation in June of this year. The Mayor subsequently asked Miss Pierce to recite her poem at the start of a Council meeting.
"I know I can speak for my colleagues on the Council to say that we are incredibly proud of the deep wellspring of talent that we have in every corner of our city," said Mayor Strimling. "Aside from giving our local arts community a few moments to shine, it is my hope that Arts in the Chamber will also be uplifting to my colleagues, the attendees of our meetings at City Hall, and those watching on television or online."
Creative Portland, the city's official local arts agency and booster of Portland’s creative economy, will be partnering with the Mayor's office to curate the program.
"We appreciate the Mayor and Council providing this great opportunity, and look forward to highlighting the incredible diversity and breadth of Portland’s creative community," said Sondra Bogdonoff, President of the Creative Portland Board of Directors.
The first performer in the Arts in the Chamber series will be Mr. Bill Round, Cellist at the Portland Symphony Orchestra.