The official newsletter of the Biddeford Heart & Soul Downtown Storytelling Project
INSIDE: V O L U M E 1 , I S S U E 1 J U L Y 2 0 0 9
La Kermesse and Heart of Biddeford Together
the first issue
Folks at La Kermesse Mug for Downtown
What is Heart June 2009 — This year‟s La downtown from those who live Central Theater, humdingers and
of Biddeford Kermesse included a new activity: and work here (Read about the hash at the Puritan, raising
and the Heart a booth where fair-goers could Heart & Soul project on the back families and meeting friends
& Soul share stories about what page of this issue). People brought smiles to many faces as
Biddeford‟s downtown means to reminisced about family traditions, participants realized what the
them. Festival organizers Pris downtown had given to their
Up-coming Gagnon and Paul Gagne lives and what it could be for
events—Don’t collaborated with the Heart of their children and grandchildren.
Miss Them! Biddeford (HoB) to bring Scores of people and families
storytelling and downtown of all ages took time to write in
How you can
traditions to Biddeford‟s annual bold letters on large pieces of
get in on the
celebration of Franco American paper why Biddeford mattered
culture this year. Located in the to them. They then proudly
Writer‟s Tent on the fairgrounds, stretched out their homemade
HoB organizers and volunteers Kate McCarthy smiles for banners for a snapshot. Using
asked passersby to take a the camera at La Kermesse digital technology, the photos
INSIDE moment and share their were printed in minutes. By
THIS ISSUE: memories of downtown‟s past, a farm store, dress shops, and day‟s end, the Writer‟s Tent was
and their hopes and dreams for even the family dentist who knew festooned with these images of
Salt Institute 2 its future. everyone. Folks placed stars on a hometown pride.
Grads The fairgrounds created a huge map of downtown to show These photos have been
festive setting for the storytelling their favorite spots past and turned into a video that will air
New Music 2
kick-off, HoB‟s newest effort to present. Memories of first dates on Public Access television in
learn the true heart and soul of and courtships, movies at the August.
Biddeford High Students Initiate Downtown Video Project
Memories to 2
Spring 2009 — Biddeford High Ms. Gosselin conducted Three of Ms. Gosselin‟s
Story Circles 3 teacher Carolyn Gosselin classroom discussions on the students (Michelle Lapointe,
created a powerhouse addition importance of vibrant downtown Jessica Caron, and Savannah
Main Street 3 to the Biddeford Heart & Soul communities, and invited her Brownell) produced digital
Matters! Storytelling Project this spring, students to explore what types stories that portray nostalgic
led by a group of talented of communities exist in moments shared by elders.
Bits o’ 3 juniors and seniors enrolled in Biddeford. Students Moving and endearing, family
Biddeford her digital storytelling class. brainstormed different ways in members strolled down memory
Gosselin, a strong community which lively downtowns bring lane as the cameras rolled,
What is 4 advocate, developed an people closer together. Some of delighted to describe Main Street
Heart & independent studies curriculum the students interviewed parents as it was in their time to the
Soul? that combined the students‟ love and elder family members, while captive young people behind the
for digital photography and some researched other New lens.
slideshow production with family England mill towns that have To see the students‟ work,
roots and community building. experienced similar changes and please visit us on-line at
The end result is breath-taking. challenges. www.heartofbiddeford.com.
Salt Institute Grads to Capture Biddeford’s Essence
Heart of Biddeford has interviews, and a culminating These three have already
selected three recent multimedia show. Their work, begun to infiltrate the streets
graduates from the Salt which will document what and burgs of Downtown
Institute for Documentary makes the downtown special Biddeford, cameras in hand
Studies to lead a cutting-edge to folks who live here, will be and an ear to the pavement,
multimedia storytelling presented throughout the meeting folks and discovering
venture, an initiative of course of the three-month the unique and friendly
Biddeford‟s two-year Heart & project on the HoB blog qualities that Biddeford
Soul Master Plan Project (www.heartofbiddeford.org/ neighborhoods present.
supported by the Orton Family blog), and in a final show early If you see one of the Salt
Check out the Salt Fellows’ blog for Biddeford
Foundation. this fall. fellows with camera or mike in
The three fellows — Houston, Kammerer and hand, don’t be shy! You just
photographers Claire Houston Schechter came to HoB with might find yourself up on the
and Anna Schechter, and radio portfolios of work and Biddeford „big screen,‟ telling
producer Willa Kammerer— collaborations that capture the your story about the magic of
will create a series of spirit and lightness of being our Main Street.
photographs, audio slideshows, that often go unnoticed in the To learn more about Salt
montages of man-on-the-street activities of everyday people. Institute, visit www.salt.edu.
Quote from the
New Music Venue Opens Downtown
If you‟ve been downtown events to coincide with cultural addition to the ever-
lately, the new boutique called Biddeford‟s Artwalks (last growing creative scene there.
“...a season of loving anvil andMOR Friday of each month). In The hfs annex at 140 Main
undoubtedly has caught your addition to their loving anvil Street features a listening
amazing shows is eye (corner of Washington pursuits, Coco and Gil Corral, room for music, spoken word,
Street and Main). A shop that along with daughter Chloe, and film. Beer, wine, and tapas
lined up with
offers locally crafted products, have been hosting eclectic live are on the menu, as well as a
talent that is artful clothing and the music shows at their home. generous helping of good
proprietors‟ beautiful silver But when popularity for the company.
knocking our socks works and edgy paintings, performances outgrew their
loving anvil has delivered eye- Hogfarm Studio space, Gil and To learn more, log onto
off...” popping multi-media Co co p ur su ed a spot www.hogfarmstudios.com or
performances and fine art downtown to host an on-going better yet, come downtown !
HeartSpots: Downtown’s Memory Lane
the This year at La Kermesse, shenanigans. The stories that tell their stories that make
Heart the Heart of Biddeford people shared were all each HeartSpot unique and
asked people to mark on a meaningful, and often quite memorable. Stories that
map the places that held a entertaining! describe values important to
special spot in their hearts. In order to share some of the downtown will help fuel a
gracing Folks reminisced about the these stories with others, this vision for the future of Main
Main Puritan, the Central fall the HoB will launch a Street, Biddeford.
Street. Theater, the Saco River — special project called
places where they had a HeartSpots. Signs will hang
first date or ate humdingers along Main Street, identifying To learn more, visit
and hash. They talked these special places of the www.heartofbiddeford.org and
Photo by Claire J. Houston, Biddeford 2009 about movies and laughed heart, and will post phone click on heartworks — and stay
about fashions, boys, and numbers for folks to call and tuned for more details!
VOLUME 1, ISSUE 1 PAGE 3
Story Circles Shaping the Future of Biddeford
The Heart of Biddeford and a many for the future. map Biddeford‟s communities and
corps of story gatherers will be HoB has been busy in the learn from their
hosting a new type of get-together community, stories what
called ‟story circles.‟ Residents and To create a a s k i n g m a y b e
fans of downtown Biddeford are questions, described as the
invited to attend these gatherings meeting people, Heart & Soul of
for a time to share their personal and finding out downtown.
accounts of Main Street. Whether friends where folks live These themes
funny or sad, joyful or legendary — or your and how they„re and specific
the stories will be memorable… neighborhood, connected to values will be
AND they will help to create a contact HoB downtown. By used to inform
meaningful Master Plan that will @ 284-8520 identifying these the downtown Photo by Claire J. Houston, Biddeford 2009
guide decision-makers on what communities chapter of Biddeford‟s
makes Biddeford‟s downtown and the physical places they inhabit, comprehensive plan when it comes
vibrant, necessary, and home to HoB volunteers have been able to up for revision next year.
Ask the Heart of Biddeford if Main Street Matters...
This year the Heart of Foundation) in Rockland, Maine. interesting planning strategy at the
Biddeford‟s Executive Director Weyand highlighted the many Chicago conference!”
Rachael Weyand went on tour to exciting things that are happening in
showcase the fresh energy and hard Heart of Biddeford is modeled on the Main Street Maine
Downtown Biddeford, and how to
work behind Biddeford‟s go about nurturing innovative ideas program, and seeks to present the downtown itself as a
downtown revitalization. Weyand
and approaches for the destination, rather than one single business—creating a friendly,
presented at two major gatherings
development of opportunities. safe, clean environment for people to come and enjoy themselves.
for A m er i can Ma in St r e et
Communities: The National How did Biddeford rate among Weyand sees Biddeford as well-positioned to benefit from the
Main S treets Conference other cities featured at the Main Street Maine program. “The mayor and city council are
(National Trust for Historic conferences? Weyand had this to
really supportive, the town is beautiful and in great shape and the
Preservation) in Chicago, Illinois say - “A lot of people expressed
Heart of Biddeford is well organized and funded. We have all the
and the Downtowns Matter! that the downtown Heart & Soul
project in Biddeford was the most ingredients.” — excerpted from The Courier, February 2005.
Conference (Maine Development
Treasures, Bits, and Pieces of Biddeford
What is your favorite thing have a special artifact that you think from you.
about Downtown Biddeford? Some is key to Downtown Biddeford‟s Please send
people love the old buildings. Some history? An old poem about the your ideas,
people love the rooftops. Some people Saco River? Spools from the inquiries,
love the Clock Tower. Some people working days at the mills, or an old pictures,
love the Saco River…. Whatever it yarn about the way things used to stories,
is that you love about Main Street, be? photo s,
we want to hear about it! If you have something that you poetry, and
The Heart of Biddeford wants want to share a few words about, the like to
to see your photos, paintings, or or put on display in our office, the Is it a model? No! Zach Boston made our
drawings of downtown. Do you Heart of Biddeford wants to hear heartworksME@gmail.com. town mini with some trick photography!
The Heart of Biddeford is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization devoted to
revitalizing our downtown . We use a four-point approach:
1)Design, 2)Economic Restructuring, 3) Organization, and 4)Promotions.
The HoB was formed in 2004 and, since then, it's hard not to notice how far
downtown Biddeford has come. Come and check us out… we have unique
small businesses along Main Street, great food, coffee houses, plays,
neighborhoods, music, festivals, art and 2 million square feet of historic mills
Heart of Biddeford being redeveloped!
205 Main Street To
Biddeford, Maine 04005
Join our Facebook community!
Search Facebook for
„Downtown Biddeford‟ group
What is the Heart & Soul Project?
The Heart and Soul Community business space. The Heart of have similar
Planning project is a partnership Biddeford is helping to fill vacant experiences.
between Heart of Biddeford (HoB), storefronts downtown and promoting We will be
the City of Biddeford and the Orton its vibrancy. Nationally, we are seeing doing in-depth
F a m i l y F o u n d a t i o n a trend toward resettling into once documentary
(www.orton.org). In the summer of abandoned downtowns. This is an work, working
2008, the HoB and Biddeford important and historic time in with children, holding neighborhood
received support from the Orton Biddeford and the city wants to meetings, engaging the University of
Family Foundation to undertake a include YOU in this process. After New England… whatever we can do
Heart and Soul Community Planning all, a community is a special place full to talk to as many people as we can.
project. Over the next two years this of stories about the people who live FMI or to get involved, please email
partnership, led by a citizen there. Collectively, these stories are heartworksME@gmail.com — thanks!
committee, will be engaging the a big part of the community‟s
community (YOU) to find out what is character: its heart and soul. In a When a community takes the time to
important to community members way, planning is like writing the next get to know itself, it gains a sense of
and apply this to a more formal chapter in a community‟s story. identity and purpose that informs
Master Planning process to map out We want to reach as many people decisions and planning. Through Heart &
how we will grow for the future. as we can. We will explore ways to Soul Community Planning, the Orton
Biddeford is currently connect with different communities in Family Foundation helps towns plan for
experiencing a transformation in its Biddeford, and will be setting up story their most vibrant future.
downtown. Vacant mills are being circles and asking folks to share their —Lyman Orton (founder of the
converted into housing and small stories with us and others who may Orton Family Foundation)