Maine is abuzz with talk about
the potential of the creative economy, and for good reason. According to
creative economy expert and Carnegie Mellon Professor of Economic
Development Richard Florida, author of the best-selling book, The Rise
of the Creative Class, "a place's economic prosperity now depends more
on diversity, healthy arts and culture scenes, great universities,
outdoor recreation and tolerance." At the University of Maine, we
couldn't agree more.
UMaine is home to some of the most creative people in the state. We have
long believed that arts and cultural activities are important community
resources and ingredients in economic development. We have only to look
at our own Maine Center for the Arts to find a performing arts program
that contributes millions of dollars to the state's economy, provides a
regional cultural focus, and serves as an attraction for new businesses
and employees coming to the area.
A similar story is found in UMaine's Museum of Art, which recently moved
to downtown Bangor and now serves as a cultural anchor in that city's
growing creative economy. It has joined other educational, arts and
cultural programs like the Maine Discovery Museum in helping revitalize
a once bustling commercial district that has more recently struggled.
The creative economy involves idea people — software developers and
artists, authors and architects, designers, archivists and
entrepreneurs, to name a few. Their talents draw other idea people to
our state. Their enterprises infuse life into underutilized downtown
buildings and dollars into local economies.
In this issue of UMaine Today, you'll find stories about some of the
university's newest contributions to the creative economy: a
state-of-the-art research and development laboratory for digital
filmmaking; a start-up company in aquaculture; a new Technology
Innovation Center for student entrepreneurs; and some of the latest
research involving MEMS technology. They all involve creative people
capitalizing on the state's strengths, and pursuing initiatives with the
potential to provide opportunities for our young people and to enhance
our quality of life in Maine. They represent the kind of creativity
needed to help Maine participate in the knowledge-based economy.
Peter S. Hoff
UMaine Today Magazine
Department of University Relations
5761 Howard A. Keyo Public Affairs Building
Phone: (207) 581-3744 | Fax: (207) 581-3776