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Maine Leaders to Explore Imagination, Creativity and Economic Development

Representatives of the public and private sectors will participate in a community conversation on how to foster the innovation and creativity needed to compete in the 21st-century global marketplace.

The event, “From Imagination to Innovation,” will be held from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., Thursday, June 2, in the University Events Room of USM’s Glickman Family Library, Forest Avenue, Portland. The USM Corporate Partners, a group formed to support partnerships between the business community and USM, will host the meeting. Thanks to the sponsorship of Saco Valley LLC, there are no fees for this breakfast meeting. Due to limited space, registration is required. E-mail,

The Maine Center for Creativity and the USM are organizing this only statewide event to discuss the importance of imagination in Maine’s economic development. Along with other collaborating organizations and supporters -- Headlight Audio Visual, the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance, the Maine Arts Commission, the Creative Portland Corporation, the Farnsworth Art Museum, the Maine Department of Education, Wright Express, the Maine Alliance for Arts Education, and the Maine Humanities Council -- participantswill be asked to share their ideas about how Maine can grow.

Speakers, including keynote speaker artist Eric Hopkins of North Haven, and participants will be asked to respond to one or more of the following three questions:

How does imagination function in your field/work/sector?

How do you cultivate and sustain imagination in your work?

What will it take for us to foster these practices in Maine?

In addition to Hopkins, entrepreneur Andy Graham and mime dancer Karen Montanaro will answer the questions at the event. Other participants, among them University of Maine Professor of Civil and Structural Engineering Habib Dagher, will respond to the questions on video. Thanks to the support of Headlight Audio Visual there will be an online component to the event that will invite the public to answer the three questions and will be open until June 20th for those who are not able to attend.

“We bring people together from arts, education and industry to encourage participation in answering these questions and giving Maine voice and presence in this important national conversation”,” said Jean Maginnis, executive director of the Maine Center for Creativity.

“As part of our mission as a public university,” said USM President Selma Botman, “we want to provide a forum where people of diverse perspectives can come together and think creatively and provocatively about how to better understand and advance the important issues of the day.”

Responses from the June 2 event, along with responses from similar events held in some 40 states, will be compiled for presentation at a national “America’s Imagination Summit” in New York scheduled for July of this year. It’s expected that an action agenda will be developed to make the cultivation of imagination part of a national public policy agenda. The Lincoln Center Institute is sponsor of the nationwide effort.