The Museum

Drawing by copyright Elise Isabel Andersen Estate

The Maine Space Corporation, enacted under the Mills administration claims the Maine public educational system as a facility for workforce training of a State-run industry, The Industrial Partnerships Act enacted under the LePage administration claims the Maine public school system for use by private industrial interests.

Maine Constitution

Article IV Part Third Section 14

Section 14.  Corporations, formed under general laws.   Corporations shall be formed under general laws, and shall not be created by special Acts of the Legislature, except for municipal purposes, and in cases where the objects of the corporation cannot otherwise be attained; and, however formed, they shall forever be subject to the general laws of the State.

The wording in the special act chartering the Maine Space Corporation permits the industrial job training to take place in a privately funded Community College that could be located in the Industrial Park.

However, a group of private anonymous investors funded architectural plans to demolish the midcentury high school and replace it with a new building. The public was shown images of a glass tower exceeding the height allowed by Town ordinances and a large lobby filled with open balconies and stairs that constitute a very vulnerable design in this era of mass shootings. The public was never shown images of the classrooms or the “making spaces” although the making spaces were frequently promoted.

There was much public discussion in the local newspaper so the project was divided into two parts, one for the high school and the other for the middle school. Both were voted down in a 2 to 1 vote.

Now we are being presented with a plan for the middle school that is nearly identical to the one that was voted down, Although the student body is very small, the plan calls for a new administration building and another new building for seventh and eighth graders. The plan is being sold as repairs and maintenance, which are very needed. No one is saying why the two new buildings are needed. However, given that our school charter was recently repealed and replaced with the words “align with state law” (Maine is a Home Rule state), it is fair to speculate that the reason the new buildings are needed is found in state law.

§13201. Maine Space Corporation established

3.  Workforce.Facilitating the creation of a highly skilled workforce and attracting and retaining young workers in a new space economy. The corporation shall work closely with the University of Maine System, the Maine Community College System, career and technical education centers and regions and satellite programs, elementary and secondary schools and other organizations in the State to ensure education, training and recruitment programs are in place for the primary purpose of ensuring the availability of a highly skilled workforce to support the State’s new space economy;

This is called late-stage central management of the economy, which began in 1976, seven years after Maine became a Home Rule state. Since then the wealth divide has been expanding in Maine until it has become the working-class ownership class divide. In another massive infringement on Home Rule the Legislature recently enacted LD 2003 HP1489 which transfers municipal authority over housing density and community character to the state, which then mandated “priority zones” for residential housing amid the short-term rental landscape. The priority zones are permitted to be “overcrowded”. One of the unelected commissioners who wrote the framework for the bill is now VP of the Boothbay Regional Development corporation that is building an urban block on our rural peninsula at 3.5 the density of the surrounding area and units at half-size of what HUD rates as “comfortable”. All land is owned by the non-profit corporation.

So the State has charted a Maine Space Corporation, which arguably violates Article IV Part Third, Section 14 of the Maine Constitution, which prohibits the Maine Legislature from chartering corporations by special acts of legislation with two exceptions but neither applies here.

The space industry is already rapidly expanding in the private sector and is known to poke holes in the Ozone layer. A purposeful intent of separating the general-law-makers from the business sector is that it is a conflict of interest for a business to write the laws that regulate their own industry. In an age of radically escalating climate change we need an independent agency regulating an industry that can do damage to our ozone layer. Since we do not have that at the state level with the state running its own space industry, Mainer’s need to take back local control that is provided in the Home Rule Amendment. It’s about the future of the planet, I say without exaggeration. We can do that by not permitting the Maine space economy to use our public schools for its industrial workforce training. Then we can develop alternative solutions.

On a timeline mirroring that of the Maine space economy, the media is reporting that the number of homes needed to be built in the next 6 years is 76,400 to 84,300, which is greater than the population increase in the last 15 years (65,193). And so it appears that the state is planning on radically increasing the state population to serve the workforce needs of the Maine space economy.

A reason for the housing shortage is a shortage of construction materials. Maine has a lot of forest, but forests are needed to lower carbon emissions, a climate threat that is exacerbated by the space economy.

Local people are protesting the new budget proposal for the middle school which is the same as the old budget proposal that they voted down. It’s quite contentious around here. Hopefully, the budget will be voted down again and we can get down to more reasonable business.


The Alternative

From the perspective of an innovative private-sector business, I do not want to conduct training in a public school where proprietary innovations are made into public knowledge or potentially the property of the school in a public school system in which the University of Maine claims that any innovations taking place in its facilities are the intellectual property of the University whether the creators are compensated or not.

Creators need environments free of lurking intellectual property vultures. Fair intellectual property rights guidelines should be in the legal framework of the interactive network I envision. Ownership dispersed throughout the network is added protection against an overbearing ownership class claiming the rights to all individual creativity.

The local Resource Center includes economic development on its list of resources but that only means business courses at CEI. That doesn’t get into any of the unique situations facing individual businesses. The only help organizations give is one size fits all. At the same time, there is a cultural emphasis on “innovation” as long as it’s in the context of a public-privately owned space that can claim intellectual property rights over our innovations. Innovative creativity might be a product of individuality, which is otherwise discriminated against left and right, every which way we go, but individuality is a quality nurtured by the Andersen Design brand.

The IRS rules allow non-profit organizations to have for-profit subsidiaries, which in terms of public transparency function by the privacy rules of private industry, and yet, these same non-profit organizations cannot do anything to support individual businesses. Is a for-profit subsidiary of a non-profit organization, not an individual business? I’ve looked it up. It is considered a separate legal corporation:

For-profit subsidiaries of nonprofits

A nonprofit parent may establish a for-profit subsidiary because, for example, its leaders wish to engage in unrelated business activities that don’t directly pertain to the stated mission of the nonprofit. Otherwise, the nonprofit may be required to pay an Unrelated Business Income Tax, commonly referred to as UBIT. A nonprofit may also create a for-profit subsidiary in order to avoid possible risk and liability that might be directed at the original organization if the activities were carried out under its tax-exempt status. Candid

When a nonprofit like CEI creates loan programs for small businesses, the program directly benefits individual businesses but limits the benefit to better terms on debt capital. The for-profit investment subsidiary that CEI uses to distribute the loans is a special individual business receiving the benefits of debt-free capital via CEI. Why shouldn’t the private small business community have equal access to debt-free capital via fiscal sponsorship? It is the same relationship of the individual business to the organization as currently exists but with a different and better benefit.

My idea is to eliminate the middleman and reroute the debt-free funding directly to the individual business via fiscal sponsorship. However, this requires that the individual business do their fundraising which can be difficult and stressful for many. That is where the Museum as a network of local museums comes in. A locally based museum as a fiscal sponsor can provide support and space for fundraising activities, making it different from other fiscal sponsors that are often located at a great physical distance from the project.

The museum is a way of placing the present in a historical context, to see where we have been and imagine where we are going.

Ceramics is a field that has retained mankind’s fascination since the beginning of history, a natural portal through which to teach, learn, and explore science, art, and technology, past, present, and future.

The museum would be a non-profit and the ceramics and other makers in the network would be private industries but both types of entities share in a common purpose.

In light of the contemporary state of wealth distribution, a Museum of Free Enterprise is of the moment, as free enterprise has been relegated to the fringes of society, but even as the fringes it is a beacon of hope for the new worker’s movement wanting an exit lane from a corporate culture that has built a wall between the working classes and the ownership classes.

I started thinking about what the ideal scenario looks like. Immediately my sites landed on obtaining the Village Store as a location for the Museum of American Designer Craftsmen.

The concept for the museum is small and accessible as opposed to large and institutional. The Village Store retains the appeal of traditional New England architecture, sitting on a grassy lawn, it stands out in its setting as a focal point of the Town. There is a space along the hillside road that could make a very nice welcoming setting for people to meet or socialize. There is a large barn-type building that could accommodate displays of larger works.

It would be encouraged for the museum to have the feel of a clubhouse. Small and micro-size entrepreneurs need their organizations. People in small businesses are used to dealing with unique problems. Interacting with other small entrepreneurs can be helpful and bring about new ideas and relationships.

There is no local community for small entrepreneurs, other than the Chamber of Commerce which is focused around the dining and accommodations industries. My idea is a community centered around independent designers and makers. It would be a resource for the unique needs of small entrepreneurs, an environment that might encourage collaboration. It needs people in central positions who love the process of creating both objects and communities. Shows would feature contemporary and historical makers of our local region and beyond, It would be great to have shows about new developments in technology that address climate change through original approaches toward technology. Crafts are technology.

The museum as a geographically dispersed network of museums would include in each location a space for traveling shows that would rotate throughout the network creating a larger sense of community.

And the museum as a fiscal sponsor of artisan workspaces brings ownership back to the middle class. This Town needs to create space for a middle because we are losing it and the current developers don’t care.

Procuring such a space as the Village Store would be possible if I could get a grant, such as the Watershed Center for The Ceramic Arts has received. Why not Andersen Design?

Andersen Design has been a dedicated partitioner in ceramic arts, making original contributions to the field. Andersen Design easily qualifies under fiscal sponsorship guidelines that “should generally be aligned with the overall mission of the sponsoring charity

A fiscal sponsorship involves an existing 501(c)(3) nonprofit offering to provide its tax-exemption and associated benefits to another group, usually a charitable project. The project should generally be aligned with the overall mission of the sponsoring charity.

Donors wishing to support the activity give directly to the sponsoring organization, designating their gift to the activity. Tax-deductibility of the gift is provided by the fact that the sponsor has 501(c)(3) status. Foundation Group

Andersen Design is recognized in the field of ceramics and art and the project mission is an economic development project.

When looking around at what foundations and community organizations support, economic development is barely represented in the lower half of the economy. This is consistent with a feudalistic society that discourages upward mobility at the roots because the value of “the workforce” is in its usefulness to the ownership class. One is surrounded by talk about economic development but the real support one needs is unavailable.

Locally the museum could be a game-changer for the community but it takes a village (Store) to make it happen.


Andersen Design, Screech Owl Vintage Prototype photo by Mackenzie Andersen


Andersen Design

Mackenzie Andersen is a sponsored artist with The Performance Zone Inc (dba The Field), a not-for-profit, tax-exempt, 501(c)(3) organization serving the performing arts community. Contributions to The Field earmarked for Mackenzie Andersen are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law. For more information about The Field, or for our national charities’ registration, contact: The Field, 75 Maiden Lane, Suite 906 New York, NY 10038, phone: 212-691-6969. A copy of our latest financial report may be obtained from The Field or from the Office of Attorney General, Charities Bureau, 120 Broadway, New York, NY 10271.

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