April 5, 2019

The 6th annual Artists & Makers Conference took place Thursday, April 4th and Friday, April 5, 2019, welcoming close to 200 artists and makers from across the state to Hedges Hall at Point Lookout in Northport for a full day of information, networking, and presentations tailored to the needs of Maine's arts-based businesses. Check out photos and video from the event, presentation highlights, and more!

Guest blog: Putting Maine sea greens on local menus with Seaweed Week

Maine has food festivals dedicated to the clam, oyster, salmon, lobster—even the lobster roll. Don’t you think it’s time that seaweed got its own? Seaweed can hold its own tastewise, it's packed with a wide array of minerals and vitamins, farmed seaweed is a zero-input crop—plus, Maine is leading the nation in the number of kelp farms, which support shellfish growers, lobstermen, and others on the working waterfront. There’s a lot to celebrate, and that's why Josh Rogers created Seaweed Week.

Downeast town of Roque Bluffs proposes community broadband project

For quality of life, businesses and career opportunities, and access to education and health services, the Town of Roque Bluffs is proposing a community-wide broadband project that would bring fiber internet service to every premise in the town. At an informational meeting at the Town Hall on April 15th at 6:30 p.m., the Select Board and its citizen Broadband Committee will seek approval from residents to fund this project and pursue grant funding support.

April 26 to May 4

Join us April 26 - May 4, 2019, and help raise awareness for edible seaweed—a delicious, nutrient-dense, sustainable local food that supports working waterfront jobs. Coinciding with the annual kelp harvest, Seaweed Week is the nation's first seaweed-focused restaurant week and festival and will feature some of Maine's top chefs, mixologists, brewers and distilleries—each putting native seagreens of all kinds front and center on their menus.

April 4

Join us for an evening with Maine artist and author Robert Shetterly as he highlights and discusses the paintings and process around his "Americans Who Tell The Truth" project. In this special presentation for the 2019 Artists and Makers Conference, Shetterly will present from his body of work and share his process for how he chooses who to portray.

Fellows Reflections: Becoming part of a community

Success in our Island Fellows program comes from many different areas. One such area is our intentional integration of Fellows as full members of the communities in which they live and work. We all understand that this process takes time, requires patience, and that it looks and feels different for each fellow in each community. We support the fellows in this community integration by helping them focus on it as a goal in the first quarter of their fellowship. Fellows reflect, in writing, about that experience at the end of their first three months on their island. Learn more about what becoming a part of these communities means to three Fellows as they reflect on their experiences.

Commercial Currents: Preparing for tax time

Yes, it’s that time of year. Funny how vacations seem to take forever to arrive, but tax season is suddenly here again. If you’re like most people, you don’t listen to the news with baited breath waiting for the latest information on recent tax changes. As a business owner, taxes are always in the back of our minds. In a retail situation, it’s sales tax; but annually we all also have to think about our business and personal taxes. While many of the changes that take place in our tax laws over the course of a year have no impact or effect on us or our businesses, this year there have been some changes that may affect business owners on Maine’s islands and coastal communities.

Commercial Currents: Making connections as a small business owner

Most small business owners feel isolated—there is rarely an opportunity to share questions, concerns, or ideas around what works for others in a non-competitive environment. At the Island Institute, one of our goals is to connect island and coastal business owners with peers so that they can have those conversations. Connecting with peers and colleagues is one of the many ways we help address this and other challenges these new small business owners face. A good example of this type of networking is the annual "Industry Day" event that our ABD program hosts for its participants. This marketing-focused day provides an opportunity for these aspiring aquaculturists to establish relationships with buyers, wholesalers, restaurants, and retailers.