By Ramona du Houx

The first major project for Launchpad, an art gallery and event space located at 89 Central St., is called Forward, which is a program designed to help high school students interested in pursuing the arts as a career.

“It’s designed to directly engage high school juniors and seniors in Maine to find their voice through creativity, and to view the arts as a feasible and realistic career path,” said Meg Shorette, Launchpad founder. “Students who seek further counseling in post-secondary education options will receive it through Forward’s artist mentorship program, which pairs them with professionals working in various arts or other creative fields.”

Forward also will work with student artists from lower income families, assisting them financially with college application fees and other educational support.

To fund Forward, Shorette has launched an effort in the form of a 100×100 fundraising campaign, in which Launchpad will collect donated artwork in any medium and sell them in an online auction. They hope to bring in $100 per art piece, thereby raising $10,000. The auction will run from March 15 through April 14 at wearelaunchpad.org.

Launchpad is an organization built as a support network for young, up-and-coming Maine artists. The nonprofit intends to provide support for artists in the form of education, mentorship and use of studio space. It’s creator, Shorette, hopes it will launch art careers in Maine.

“At its core, Launchpad is a nonprofit arts incubator that seeks to build creative connections in Maine and beyond, through artist residencies, arts education and artist-led projects and events,” Shorette said. “Every program and initiative was created through open conversations with creatives, designers and makers to find out what they need to be successful and continue to create.”

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