Belfast Smart Growth Forum: Arts, Culture, and Economic Prosperity in Maine

Belfast Arts Market Photo Credit:Blueberry LemonJoin us for a GrowSmart Maine smart growth forum on Arts & Culture as economic motivators in Maine!

What do you imagine when you think of a healthy downtown? It’s likely full of people walking, biking, and genuinely enjoying the space they are in. We think of people collaborating to become a destination for people to visit and experience. Cities and towns are beginning to embrace arts and culture as a means of distinguishing their downtowns as creative economies. Through passion, innovation, and creativity, communities are changing and reinventing themselves through arts and culture, and generating significant economic activity by doing so. We invite you to join us for our second Smart Growth Forum of the 2015 Season in Belfast, Maine – a city that has pioneered this movement in Maine, and is a success-story for arts and economic prosperity.

Lunch provided by Rollie’s Bar & Grill — a Belfast tradition since 1972!

Thank you to our Forum Sponsors, Renys and Pica Design + Marketing!!

Be sure to stick around town afterwards– our Forum will be followed by the Belfast Fourth Friday Art Walk!


Friday, July 24th, 1pm

Waterfall Arts
256 High Street
Belfast, ME


Thank you to our Sponsors! Renys and PICA Design + Marketing




Breanna Pinkham Bebb, Our Town Belfast
Kimberly Callas, Belfast Creative Coalition
Alan Crichton, Waterfall Arts
Rob Dietz, Pica Design + Marketing
Julie Richard, Maine Arts Commission

Moderator: Jane Lafleur, Friends of Midcoast Maine

Panelist Bios:

Originally from a bit further up the coast, Breanna Pinkham Bebb now lives in downtown Belfast, a short walk away from the Our Town office.  A graduate of the University of Maine at Machias, with a degree in interdisciplinary fine arts, Breanna worked her way through college as assistant to the director at an arts nonprofit, Schoodic Arts for All.  She has performed as a musician and vocalist in community and college ensembles throughout the state.  Breanna is thrilled to be an integral part of the Our Town Belfast effort to boost business and celebrate community in her own downtown.  She has served as a board member with the Belfast Area Chamber of Commerce, as an executive committee member with the Belfast Creative Coalition, and on the City of Belfast’s Downtown Revitalization and Brownfields Clean Up committees.  Currently, Breanna is a member of the Maine Downtown Center’s Advisory Council, aiding in statewide downtown revitalization efforts for the Main Street Maine and Downtown Network communities.  She is a graduate of the Phi class of Leadership Maine (2014) and has been the executive director of Our Town Belfast since July of 2012.


Julie Richard is currently the Executive Director of the Maine Arts Commission.  She most recently held the position as President & CEO of the West Valley Arts Council in the West Valley of Phoenix, Arizona. She is noted for her ability to take organizations to the next level and has done that wherever she has worked.  Julie earned BS degrees in Psychology and Music (Voice) and a MA in Business (Arts Administration) from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  Previous positions include Executive Director of the Metropolitan Arts Council in Greenville, South Carolina; Managing Director of Tulsa Opera in Tulsa, Oklahoma; Managing Director of Syracuse Opera in Syracuse, New York; Executive Director of the Cayuga Community College Foundation in Auburn, New York; and Director of External Relations at the Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust in Oak Park, Illinois.  She has extensive experience in development, strategic planning, arts education and organizational development. Julie is currently a member of the Chi Class of Leadership Maine.  She sits on the boards of the New England Foundation for the Arts and the Cultural Affairs Council.  Julie is a graduate of Valley Leadership’s Class XXXI and a Past Chair and member of the national Arts Education Council for Americans for the Arts.  She has held numerous board and committee positions including the WESTMARC Board of Directors,  the City of Avondale’s Municipal Arts Committee, the AZ Citizens/Action for the Arts Board of Directors, the City of Surprise’s Arts & Culture Board, the Research Committee for AZ Town Hall, the Greenville Convention and Visitors Bureau, South Carolina Arts Alliance, the Greater Greenville Chamber of Commerce, Leadership Greater Syracuse, Junior League of Syracuse, and the National Society of Fund Raising Executives (CNY Chapter). Julie is a current member of the Vox Nova Chamber Choir. She and her artist husband, Ed Buonvecchio, live in Manchester, Maine with their Maine Coon Cats, Fafner and Leonardo.

Alan Crichton is a sculptor, draftsman and writer living in Liberty. Educated at the University of Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Goddard College and the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, he has taught at Unity College, Colby College the MFA program at Vermont College and the Farnsworth Museum and has exhibited throughout Maine and New England for over 30 years. He is the co-founder of Waterfall Arts, a center in Montville and Belfast, which for 15 years has brought together artists from Maine and around the world to celebrate creativity and promote sustainability through education, artists’ residencies, exhibits and events.

Kimberly Callas has worked in the creative economy for over fifteen years as a professional artist, visual arts professor and community organizer. She’s worked for museums, universities and nonprofits. For the last three years she has been Executive Director of the Belfast Creative Coalition. Previously she served for six years on the MidCoast Magnet and was a key organizer of the Juice Conference, Maine’s Creative Economy Conference. She serves on the Maine Arts Commission Community Arts Committee and is on the advisory boards of the University of Maine’s Innovative Media Research and Commercialization Center (IMRC Center), and the Unity College, Center for Environmental Arts and Humanities.

Rob Dietz applies his acute awareness of changing and converging business, economic and social environments to solving marketing and communications challenges. With a respectful manner and keen intelligence, Rob facilitates break-through conversations that result in forward motion for clients and entire communities. Rob began his career in design in 1995. He worked in Boston for PBS’s WGBH Design Department on such notable programs as American Experience, Antiques Road Show, Frontline, MYSTERY!, and NOVA. As Art Director at Mystic View Design, Inc. (Boston), Rob’s clients included Staples, Brookstone Inc., CMGI, Harvard University, Boston College, Brookwood Financial Partners, L.P., and ProvEnergy. In 2000, Rob moved to Belfast, Maine and started Pica, an award winning graphic design studio that has since evolved into a full service design + marketing agency serving businesses and nonprofit organizations with branding, design and marketing services. Today, Rob oversees client relations, new business and strategic vision for client work, and directs business and staff development for the agency. Rob holds a Bachelor of Science honors degree in Art, with a concentration in Graphic Design from Northeastern University.


Jane Bechtel Lafleur is the Executive Director of Friends of Midcoast Maine (FMM), a regional smart growth, planning and civic engagement organization. She also directs The Community Institute, a program of FMM which works to “build strong places, communities and leaders”. Jane grew up in Lewiston, Maine and has been a city and regional planner since 1981. She served as Town Planner in Conway, New Hampshire and as City Planner in South Burlington, Vermont, as well as a private planning consultant. Jane is a past board member of Maine Association of Planners (MAP) and the Northern New England Chapter of the American Planning Association (NNECAPA) and has served on planning boards and comprehensive planning committees.  In June 2015, she received the Maine Association of Planners Professional Planner of the year award for 2014-2015. Her work has also received the MAP Plan of the Year award in Damariscotta and in South Burlington Vermont.

Jane has been a speaker at numerous conferences: NNECAPA, APA-national conference, New Partners for Smart Growth, Community Matters, and the MAP Annual Meetings.  She has recently published an article in the “Communities and Banking” magazine of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston as well as other publications. Jane graduated from the University of Maine and received her master’s degree in City and Regional Planning from Harvard University and lives in Camden, Maine.

Cost: $25 for members, $50 for non-members. Not a member?  Join today!