317 Main Community Music Center collaborates with k-12 schools and other educational nonprofits to co-design and implement music education programs that give young people opportunities to express themselves in creative, audible ways.  We build projects in which students take healthy risks in supportive environments, develop 21st century skills, and build new relationships through music.

High-quality, small group music instruction contributes to deeper student engagement and boosts overall academic achievement, so we strive to break down financial, geographic, cultural, and other barriers that might keep a student from finding their musical voice.

Partnership programs are core to 317 Main’s mission of making music accessible to all.  These programs are generously supported by foundation grants and community donations as well as contributions from our partnering organizations.



What is a Partnership Program?

The National Guild for Community Arts Education defines partnerships as “collaborative efforts characterized by shared responsibility and joint investment in vision, goals, plans, implementation, and evaluation to bring about deeper student learning, and increase impact and sustainability.” 317 Main’s Partnership Program exists to build relationships with schools and other community organizations that will increase the impact and sustainability of community music education throughout the State of Maine.


Why do we run Partnership Programs?

We have transactional relationships with certain organizations in which we provide services for a specific fee. Though these relationships allow us to reach new populations, this type of work doesn’t provide the same programmatic sustainability and impact on our students that we have in our true partnerships.


Healthy, sustainable partnerships help us achieve our larger goals of combating inequity and narrowing opportunity and achievement gaps by providing expanded access to music education in our state. We believe creative expression is an inherent right for all, and we strive to provide music-making opportunities for people to find their voices and tell their stories.


As a community music center, we know the power of arts education and its effectiveness in boosting student engagement and contributing to greater student achievement in other academic areas. We also see the building of community bonds through teamwork, collaborative design, peer critique, group performance and celebrations of achievement. 21st century skills, which are necessary for the success of today’s students, workers and community leaders, are the guiding themes of our programming: collaboration, creative thinking, healthy risk-taking, and group facilitation.


How does 317 Main work with Partners to provide these programs?

317 Main shares responsibilities with each organization to sustain successful partnerships. This work includes

  • Joint financial responsibility
  • Joint design & implementation of programming
  • Joint design of curriculum
  • Developing shared goals
  • Sharing responsibility for outcomes
  • Joint design and execution of evaluation
  • Maintaining regular communications
  • Working together to solve problems
  • Assisting each other in achieving separate organizational goals



How are Partnership Projects sustained over time?

Through research and experience, we have found that the longer we have a relationship with a partnering organization, the more effective our collaborative programming becomes. We want to continually learn and improve, and to do so, we need lasting, sustainable partnerships. To create sustainability, we ask our partners to invest not only time and thought into the success of our programming, but also financial support. Organizations that invest their money into projects are more likely to provide the support (both material and immaterial) that collaborative projects need to succeed. This kind of partner buy-in is the basis for sustainable programming, and we ask our partners to invest in our collaborative programming on a tiered basis. In addition to investments from our partner organizations, the majority of 317 Main’s funding for our Partnership Program comes from foundation and grants and our community of donors.