ArtVan takes the title in the first Launch Maine contest

I’ve been keeping track of the Maine League of Young Voters Education Fund’s new Launch Maine contest over the past couple of weeks (click here and here for a description of the contest and list of finalists, respectively).

If you don’t feel like clicking through to those links above, here’s a quick paragraph of context as provided by the League in a recent news release:

The contest recognizes promise and excellence in youth-led community improvement projects aimed at increasing community engagement among young people. The League received a total of 31 project proposals statewide from young people aged 16-35. The five contest finalists were chosen after a week-long public voting drive that garnered more than 1,700 votes. All of the finalists were on hand at a ranked-choice voting party held on Friday, April 6 at the Maine Ballroom in Portland, Maine, where they had an opportunity to campaign for votes, raise funds, and promote their projects.

Now, the icing on the cake, or the cherry on the sundae, or whatever dessert metaphor you prefer, is news of the winner.

Drumroll, please.

The winner of the first Launch Maine contest and the associated $500 in prize money is the Bath-based ArtVan! ArtVan is a mobile arts therapy program that brings the arts to children and teens in low-income and underserved neighborhoods, and an operation I covered on a number of occasions while working in the Bath area for The Times Record previous to my current job here at the BDN.

So congratulations to ArtVan and its director Jamie Silvestri.

Here’s a statement on the contest by League Director Nicola Wells:

From start to finish, the contest was a smashing success. We were blown away by the turnout on voting night. Over 170 ballots were cast at the voting party, and the projects, collectively, raised $370 in less than two hours. Contestants have told us that they valued the opportunity to hear so much positive feedback for their work and make new connections in the community to help grow their projects.


Seth Koenig

About Seth Koenig

Seth has nearly a decade of professional journalism experience and writes about the greater Portland region.