The Maine Crafts Association (MCA) will open MAINE CRAFT PORTLAND, a retail gallery and resource center in the historic Maine Charitable Mechanic Association (MCMA) building, known as Mechanic’s Hall, in downtown Portland, Maine this summer! The new MCA space will promote craft in Maine through exhibitions and public programming, and directly benefit Maine craft artists through sales of their work.
Mechanic’s Hall, in the vibrant Arts District—across the street from Maine College of Art, blocks from the Portland Museum of Art, and home to an art supply store—is only made more ideal by the fact that the Mechanic’s mission dovetails with ours. MCMA programs and events will strengthen our efforts and income opportunities. Additionally, as a building tenant, MCA will have access to the Mechanic’s Hall library, ballroom and classroom spaces.
HISTORICAL BUILDING MEETS MODERN MAKERS MOVEMENT
The MCMA building was completed in 1859 and is on the National Historic Register. It served as Portland City Hall after the infamous city-wide fire of 1866. It also housed and served meals to Union troops during the Civil War. An entire wall of historical, floor-to-ceiling hardwood and glass cabinets be will a beautiful feature in the MCA retail space. Thankfully, the building’s historical preservation status has protected the cabinets through the various tenants and uses of the space. The cabinets will become a dominant display and aesthetic component of the MCA space. They were built in the late 1800’s for a jewelry retailer and now offer an exciting design challenge to incorporate with contemporary craft displays.
The Mechanic’s Hall retail space became available in January 2018. The MCA began a fundraising campaign in February to fund the project and signed the lease in April. The next couple months will be spent renovating the space, hiring staff, ordering inventory and preparing for grand opening this summer!
The project is guided by the MCA strategic plan implemented in January 2017. Desired location, income potential and landlord have been carefully researched, considered and nurtured by the MCA Executive Director and Board of Directors.
EXPERIENCE AND SUCCESS
Since 2008 the MCA has operated the Center for Maine Craft, a retail gallery and resource space in West Gardiner, Maine. The Center grosses close to $600,000 annually by exhibiting and selling the work of 315+ Maine craft artists and makers. The experience managing this successful and impactful Center positions the MCA for success in our second location.
FOR ARTISTS: SELLING YOUR WORK at the NEW MCA STORE
All work represented at the new space will be made by current MCA members living in Maine. The MCA expects approximately 70% of the vendors to be different from our vendors at the Center for Maine Craft. Inventory will be sold on both a consignment and wholesale basis. Inventory mix and orders will be coordinated by the new store manager beginning in April. There will not be a jury process for the first phase of ordering; but, once we have our feet under us a jury process will commence to attract and identify new vendors. To express your interest in having your work carried at Maine Craft Portland please fill out THIS FORM
CAPITAL CAMPAIGN NEARS COMPLETION
The MCA is raising $100,000 start-up capital to open new space. On February 15, the Windgate Foundation announced a matching grant of $50,000. The MCA has received contributions totaling $45,000 from our amazing and supportive network of board members, arts supporters, foundations, Portland businesses, MCA members, friends and family. We currently seeking $5,000 to complete the fundraising phase of this exciting new effort!