When 38-year-old Matt Zito moved to Maine in 2006, he was struck by the creative talent and culture here. But he saw few opportunities for artists to connect, share, and grow — together. The Internet entrepreneur hopes to foster that type of collaboration through his recently launched Web site, MaineCreates.com.
MaineCreates is for “anyone who creates a product or service with their hands or their mind,” Zito says, from boat-builders to Web programmers to painters. It’s similar to lots of social networking sites: You can create a profile, tell others what your interests and skills are, and post photos. You can also post “creative ideas,” and see who wants to collaborate. It’s free to join (so far, there are 55 members); after you use up your 10 free “connections,” you can buy them in sets of 10. There’s also a lifetime membership option available right now: $100 for unlimited connections — but if you’re interested in that, act fast, because it won’t be around for long.
Zito isn’t the only one in Maine harnessing the powers of the Internet for creative fusion. Maine residents Bob Barancik and Amy Blake recently developed CreativeLedge.com, the online front for their Long Island studio in the middle of Casco Bay. For several years, Barancik and Blake have hosted the CreativeShare gathering on nearby Peaks Island, aimed at releasing inventive energies, allowing for artistic networking, and basically enjoying the company of other creative types. Now, they hope that CreativeLedge.com, which they made with the help of an MIT Internet whiz named Ted Chan, will promote the same type of interdisciplinary collaboration, on a larger scale.
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