From left to right: Alan Spear, Coffee By Design; Melissa Rock, Androscoggin Bank; Dietlind Vander Schaaf, Our Stories Workshop; Mary Allen Lindemann, Coffee By Design; Amanda Wallace, Portland Symphony Orchestra; Papy Bongibo, BGB African Music and Arts; Rose Kue, Portland Symphony Orchestra; E’nkul E. Kanakan, BGB African Music and Arts; Alana Dao, CSArt Maine; Chiara Liberatore, Maine Inside Out.
For Immediate Release
November 19, 2014
Coffee By Design announces 2014 Rebel Blend winners to receive total of $6,300 in arts grants
PORTLAND, Maine – Coffee By Design announced today that five Maine organizations and individuals will receive funding from this year’s Rebel Blend Fund Grant. Presented annually, the fund has been awarding arts grants in Maine for 17 years. This year’s total fund of $6,300 will be split between: BGB African Music & Arts, Inc.; Maine Inside Out Project; Portland Symphony Orchestra’s Portland Lullaby Project; CSArt Maine; and the “Our Stories” workshop at MECA.
About the Rebel Blend Winners:
Art and Fashion: A Conduit to Dialogue submitted by BGB African Music & Arts, Inc. will receive $2,500. There are over 600 immigrants from the Democratic Republic of the Congo living in Maine and – like many in the world – the DR Congolese are interested in fashion. In the midst of everyday struggles faced by these new Mainers, this project will provide an opportunity for Congolese women to showcase a skill they’re passionate about and bring a bit of normalcy to what can be an otherwise difficult time. The project will help the Congolese population to develop a sense of self within Maine, while at the same time sharing a bit of the DRC community with the rest of the state, including with other African immigrants.
The Maine Inside Out Project will receive $1,000. The program works with incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people to share original theater in and outside of correctional facilities. The Rebel Blend funding will provide facilitators with the opportunity to visit correctional facilities in the state to support the creation of an original performance, to be practiced and performed at first within the facility, and then outside at churches, schools, and conferences. The program not only builds self-confidence and public speaking skills that will help recently incarcerated individuals returning to their community, but also provides an opportunity to change public opinion about those who have been previously incarcerated.
The Portland Symphony Orchestra will receive $1,500 for its Portland Lullaby Project, a new initiative that uses musical experiences to help strengthen the bond between teen mothers and their babies. Women who are selected for the program will have the opportunity to work with PSO musicians and composers on songwriting and with a professional music therapist who will guide participants through the social and emotional journey of the process. The result will be a collection of locally crafted lullabies that will be recorded and performed around Mother’s Day 2015.
CSArt Maine will receive $800 to support Portland’s first community-supported art share program. CSArt is similar to the farm shares that many Mainers are familiar with, but rather than a weekly delivery of fresh produce, participants receive works of art from local artists. The program connects artists with collectors, giving both parties an opportunity to experience something new. The inaugural season of the program has been largely funded by its small staff and Rebel Blend funding will allow for increased promotion of the program so that it can continue to grow.
Our Stories: A Narrative Collage Workshop for Women and Girls from the Refugee Community will receive $500 to offer a one-day narrative collage workshop at MECA, taught by Dietlind Vander Schaaf. Specifically geared toward female refugees, the workshop offers an opportunity for expression to a community that might be otherwise unable to afford such a class. Students who participate in the class will automatically qualify to have their art included in the annual Continuing Studies exhibition, which means the art will be viewed by the public to help share the message of these women and girls with Portland’s diverse and growing population.
The Rebel Blend recipients are chosen each year by a team of retail, roastery, manager and admin representatives from Coffee By Design, who review all applications and determine where the grant money will be most beneficial. To be considered for Rebel Blend funding, applicants must submit art projects within the state of Maine along with a detailed description of how their projects would benefit from the grant money. This year there were a total of 17 applicants.
The fund is supported through the purchase of the company’s Rebel Blend coffee. Rebel Blend was created as Coffee By Design’s Community Arts Fund Blend and combines beans from all three major growing regions: Asia, America, and Africa. $1 from each pound sold or brewed in CBD coffeehouses goes into the fund and the total amount from yearly sales is awarded to the winners In its 17 years, an estimated $70,000 has been awarded since the Rebel Blend Fund Grant.
Rebel Blend submissions are accepted annually from May 1 – August 31. Further information can be found online at coffeebydesign.com.
About Coffee By Design:
Coffee By Design, a Maine owned and operated coffee company since 1994, is dedicated to changing the world, one cup of coffee at a time by providing customers with sustainably sourced, traceable coffee. Owners Mary Allen Lindemann and Alan Spear were named Maine SBA Small Business Person of the Year, 2014. Coffee By Design recently opened a roastery and coffee house at One Diamond St, Portland, bringing their total number of coffeehouses to five. In addition to serving some of the world’s finest coffee, Coffee By Design is committed to running a sustainable business dedicated to the arts, the environment, and the community. With over 450 select restaurant, cafes and gourmet stores and online retail sales, their coffee is enjoyed nationwide. For more information, go to www.coffeebydesign.com.