Congress Square Park Needs Your Ideas
by Bree LaCasse, FoCSP
Happy New Year from your Friends at Congress Square Park! The wonderful Maine winter is upon us. As we all enjoy sledding and ice-skating at other fabulous Portland parks, the Friends of CSP are also planning for another vibrant summer season of arts, events and activities in your favorite downtown gathering place. We’re excited to announce our call for programming submissions for the 2017 season is now open. We will be accepting ideas through our website at congresssquarepark.org until Tuesday, January 31st. We also are looking for ideas for the Congress Square redesign project.
We hope you enjoyed the wonderful events and activities presented by FoCSP in 2016. Thanks to our generous funders, we could present 161 events and activities. We featured 415 artists and performers, and attracted an estimated 13,500 people. In addition, FoCSP collaborated with 23 local arts and educational organizations. Our diverse programming included a wide range of live music, such as salsa, swing, reggae, contemporary chamber, bluegrass, and African drumming. We also featured modern dance, contra dances, Shakespeare theater, kitten therapy, local short films, Tai Chi Chih/Qigong, classic films, a hip/hop summit, an international calligraphy event, zodiac yoga, a printmaking fair, knitting and coloring groups, a pumpkin carving contest and more.
Submit Your Ideas for Programming
If you have an idea for an event or activity in 2017, we want to hear from you! We’re looking to present a diverse mix of programming again next year – from music, films and theater to dances, engaging art interactions, and sing-alongs. They can be one-time events, weekly activities or something in between. In February, our Programming Committee will review the submissions and select the line-up for FoCSP’s 2017 In the Square series which will run from May through October.
Congress Square Park is a public space, so if you prefer not to be sponsored by FoCSP under our In the Square event series, you are always welcome to apply for an event permit directly from the City of Portland Event Office at TVM@portlandmaine.gov. But, submitting an idea through our open call gives you the potential to be part of our event series and, if selected, to receive a stipend and be included in FoCSP’s event promotions.
Congress Square Redesign Update
Finally, thank you to the more than 100 people who attended the December presentation of the next iteration of the Congress Square redesign concept. If you missed the meeting, you can still learn about the concept from WRT’s presentation materials. Or check out the CTN video posted on the news page of our website. Or attend one of the presentations being given by Portland’s Urban Designer and CS Redesign Project Manager, Caitlin Cameron, in early January. The concept is still in an early phase of development and we are seeking public feedback to make sure the designers are on the right track. Does the concept achieve our community’s vision for this beloved space? Is the design more accessible and pedestrian friendly? Is there the flexibility we need for a variety of events, activities and day-to-day uses?
Visit our website at congresssquarepark.org for more information and to provide comments. We’re collecting public comments until January 15th. We want to hear from YOU, the park users!
Bree is Executive Director of Friends of Congress Square Park.