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Regional Project Featured At White House

St. John Valley -

ST. JOHN VALLEY — Project Cultivate, a creative economic development initiative taking place in the St. John Valley, was featured in a presentation at a recent White House Community Leaders Briefing in Washington, D.C. The project was highlighted by Nancy Smith, Executive Director of GrowSmart Maine, who included details about its scope in a briefing paper on development efforts taking place in Maine and what is required for economic growth.

Sheila Jans, the project’s director, explains, “Project Cultivate gets to the core of some of the problems we face here in the Valley by focusing on our strengths and the assets of culture and place. The project is about cultivating creative thinkers, supporting great ideas, and helping to build a more prosperous place to live.”

Project Cultivate is an outgrowth of the St. John Valley Creative Economy Project, a research initiative led by Jans through the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center at the University of Maine. The research focused on identifying opportunities for strengthening the region’s communities and economy through culture and place. A final report was completed last August (available at http://mscpolicycenter.umaine.edu). The aim of Project Cultivate is to implement those recommendations.

“With the hundreds of development projects happening throughout Maine, it says a lot about our efforts in the Valley that we’re being talked about at the White House. We’re very grateful to GrowSmart Maine for its consideration,” says Don Cyr, a member of the project’s advisory group.

Some of Project Cultivate’s components include the creation of a microloan and grant program to support innovative and creative activities, training workshops, roundtable action discussions to advance development, and a youth educational series about innovation and creativity. Funds are being sought from public and private sources to support these efforts.

Smith of GrowSmart Maine met with White House staff in Small Business Administration and also with Maine’s Congressional Delegation to highlight Project Cultivate amongst other state efforts in transportation, education and training, energy, and small business. GrowSmart Maine promotes sustainable prosperity for all Mainers by integrating working and natural landscape conservation, economic growth, and community revitalization.

Project Cultivate is directed by Sheila Jans of CultureWorth with the guidance of an advisory group representing a range of business and creative disciplines in the St. John Valley. For more information contact Sheila at 728-4820, sjans@cultureworth.org.

For More Information:

Contact Name: Sheila Jans

Telephone Number: (207)728-4820

Website: http://

Email: sjans@cultureworth.org