Our Town

Musee culturel du Mont-Carmel (Lille, ME)

Madawaska, Maine




Photo of a church building.

The Musée culturel du Mont-Carmel in Lille, ME. Photo by Don Cyr.

The NEA grant will support the St. John Valley Arts Heritage Initiative, a strategic cultural development effort surrounding the World Acadian Congress festival. The initiative is a year-long arts campaign in rural St. John Valley communities to build local cultural capacity and awareness before and after the festival has taken place. The World Acadian Congress is an international festival held every five years in different regions of the world populated by Acadians. The 2014 gathering will take place in a region spanning across Northern Maine and Northwestern New Brunswick, Canada.

Musee culturel du Mont-Carmel, in partnership with the Town of Madawaska, will lead development of visual, performance, and heritage arts programming at venues throughout the region. Follow-up activities will ensure that Acadian arts and culture continue to inform regional identity and development after the festival is over. Additional project partners include World Acadian Congress, Maine Arts Commission, Northern Maine Development Commission, Maine Office of Economic and Community Development, University of Maine Fort Kent, CultureWorth, local communities, and regional arts institutions. The World Acadian Congress is expected to attract more than 50,000 people from all over the world to more than 300 events, generating tens of millions of dollars for the communities in this area. Primary population centers include Madawaska (pop. 4,534), Fort Kent (4,233), Van Buren (2,631), and Frenchville (1,225). The total population of the region is approximately 16,000.