Ovations Commissions 5 New Works from Maine Artists

Join Portland Ovations for five weeks, April 27 – May 25, 2021 each Tuesday at 4pm, as it hosts an exciting series continuing its program of commissioning Maine artists. “First Looks” is comprised of five virtual, 60-minute, work-in-progress performances and discussions with the commissioned artists. Each week you will have a chance to experience an excerpt of one of these five new performances in development and have a chance to respond and to be in conversation with the artists. Register one time for FREE and attend as many First Looks as you like. 

“It’s an honor and pleasure to be entrusted by these artists with their new work,” said Mary Allen Lindemann, Chair of Portland Ovations Board and co-founder of Coffee By Design. “Each artist expresses a unique voice and personal vision of how they define what home is for them. In this exploration, they allow us to be participants discovering what surprises and delights us!” 

Ovations will produce and present the fully commissioned works over its next three seasons. This unique program responds to the current status of live performance in the pandemic by re-focusing funding directly to support Maine artists and the creation of new and original work. This new line of support is an expansion of Ovations’ history of commissioning and producing new performance work, a history that includes most memorably the opera “The Summer King,” by Maine composer Daniel Sonenberg, which has gone on to productions in Pittsburgh and Michigan Opera Theater; as well as contemporary dance performances by Doug Varone, Sara Juli, Bridgman | Packer Dance; and musical works from composers Elliott Schwartz, Phil Kline and Tony Trishka. 

“We are immensely excited at the wonder and promise these artists and their work hold for Maine and beyond,” said Petrin. “We are honored and humbled to be working with this extraordinary group.” 

As we continue together to face this pandemic, with its ongoing shut downs of the venues and gatherings at the heart of Ovations mission for community well-being, Ovations is re-focusing funding directly to support Maine artists and the creation of new and original work. At a virtual press conference in October, the artists shared what’s at stake for the survival of the performing arts, artists, and our communities. A recording of the livestreamed event is available here.

Ovations has invested $25,000 in commissioning fees and a total of more than $38,000 in this program in resources in addition to human resources/technical support. These funds will be paid out over the Spring of 2021 during the development phase of the commissioned projects. Ovations’ Catalyst Fund supports the commissioning fees and is a revolutionary and visionary artistic initiative in support of projects rooted in commissions, co-commissions, and the creation of content original to Portland and Maine.

The project was also recently awarded an Enterprise Marketing Grant from the Maine Office of Tourism to extend the visibility of these Maine artists and their work beyond the state’s borders as unique and critical components of Maine’s vibrant culture as a attractive destination and place to live and work.

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