The Franco Center (Franco-American Heritage Center at St. Mary’s) was founded in 2000. It is a non-profit (501c3) organization governed by a volunteer Board of Directors. The Center is housed in the former St. Mary’s Church by the canal and the landmark Simard-Payne Park (“Railroad Park”) in an area of Lewiston known as The Riverfront and the worker neighborhood known as Le Petit Canada - “Little Canada”.
The Mission of the Center is to celebrate and preserve the Franco-American heritage while welcoming the cultures of our neighbors.
Position: Executive Director
Reports to: Board of Directors
Location: Lewiston, Maine
Summary of Position:
The Executive Director is the key fund raiser and responsible for the planning, organization and management of the Center. The Director provides effective leadership in line with the Center’s mission and values, under the direction of the Board of Directors. The Executive Director works with the Board to develop and implement strategies and recommend plans for future growth.
- Fulfills role of Key Fund Raiser to maintain,enhance and even exceed program and financial expectations through donor and sponsor solicitations, grant writing and networking.
- Oversees the programs and administrative functions of the performing arts center (Performance Hall) and the meeting facility (Heritage Hall).
- Serves as the public “face” of the Franco Center and as such represents the Center at various events to make the organization better known within the community, within Maine, New England and within the Province of Québec and the Maritime Provinces of Canada.
- Attends Franco-American related gatherings, both local and out-of-town, as an important part of the representation of the Center.
- Serves as a spokesperson for promoting and maintaining positive relationships with donors, significant constituents, politicians and civic representatives.
- Develops budgets and oversees financial records and reporting of same to the Board and meets with auditors as required.
- Engages in both short term and long term strategic planning.
- Establishes and maintains professional associations with governmental authorities and peers throughout the state and region, including the French and Canadian consulates in Boston and the Delegation of Québec in Boston.
- Supervises the Center and Heritage Hall staffs, including the Program and Events Director, the Director of Operations [including food, beverage, facilities], the Box Office / Marketing Manager and the Volunteer Coordinator. In this respect, the Executive Director oversees and approves the selection and scheduling of the calendar of events.
- Reviews all the marketing plans, print materials and broadcast media content developed by the Program and Events Director and/or the Box Office and Marketing Manager.
- Coordinates all educational, cultural and historical programs related to the French heritage.
- Oversees museum exhibits, the library and gift shop facilities within the Center.
- Keeps records of educational and cultural activities within the Center and archives records, documents, photographs and other historical data that preserve the stories of the Francophones!
- Ability to raise funds to sustain the work of the Franco Center, including knowledge of grant writing and management along with stipulated reporting to a granting organization.
- Passion for the Franco-American community, its heritage and the Center’s mission, along with an appreciation for the arts and for the extraordinary role they play in our lives.
- Education: Undergraduate college degree and ten (10) years of management experience or the equivalent thereof, including five (5) years of progressively responsible management experience in an organization.
- Excellent written and oral communication skills.
- Proficiency in spoken and written French is desirable.
- Proven history of problem solving as well as ability to attend to details when multiple tasks are at hand.
- Practical knowledge of computer software programs.
- Willingness to work evenings and weekends when most of the cultural and social functions are held at the Center.
APPLICATION DEADLINE : MAY 26, 2014
A statement of application, résumé and salary
requirements along with three (3) letters of reference
should be sent by email to:
or by regular mail to:
46 Cedar Street
Lewiston ME 04240-7804
Due to medical reasons the Michelle Choiniere performance scheduled for April, 11 has been cancelled. If you have already purchased tickets, contact the Box Office for refunds.
For the second straight month, a big winter storm is set to coincide with the scheduled date for the Franco Center’s monthly French luncheon, known as La Rencontre. And for the second straight month, officials at the Franco Center have deferred to Month Nature and postponed the event.
However, unlike last month when the Franco Center postponed La Rencontre for an entire week, this time the Franco Center is moving back the date by only one day. The luncheon is now set for this Friday, March 14 at 11:30 a.m.
The difference this time was the availability of the French Circus (Cie Tour de Cirque) and the students of the all-French elementary school in Freeport, L’École Française du Maine, who together will be providing the entertainment after the meal. The circus is run by a husband-and-wife team from France for whom a one-day postponement is not a problem, but who could not remain in Maine for an additional week.
The date change also necessitates a slight change in the menu, which was to have been lasagna with ground beef, a meal donated by DaVinci’s Eatery. Catholics who observe lent make a vow to avoid meat on Fridays, and so the lasagna to be served at La Rencontre will now be a meatless variety with cheese only. The rest of the menu will remain unchanged – bread rolls, vegetables and cake.
Staff at the Franco Center, DaVinci’s and L’École Française du Maine conferred Monday morning to discuss the situation after the latest forecasts predicted that snow would still be falling Thursday morning from a storm that is set to begin dumping heavy snow on Maine late Wednesday.
The Franco Center regrets that anyone might be inconvenienced by the necessary schedule change, and kindly asks that everyone who has registered to let the Franco Center know by calling 783-1585 during business hours by 4 p.m. Wednesday whether they still plan to attend now that the date has been pushed back to Friday.
The University of Southern Maine’s Franco-American Collection will be hosting a lecture by Prof. Rhea Côté Robbins on the topic “Franco-American Gender Roles: Motherhood and More” Thursday, March 13th at 1 p.m. at USM’s Lewiston-Auburn College. Robbins is is a professor of Franco-American Studies at the University of Maine, and is the founder of the Franco-American Women’s Institute, an organization of women who gather together as a force for the specific purpose of promoting Franco-American, ethnic women’s voices in a variety of forms. Continue reading
The entire student body from L’École Française du Maine in Freeport is putting on a show in French for about 250 patrons of the Franco Center’s monthly French luncheon, known as “La Rencontre,” with the next one set for Thursday, March 13 at 11:30 a.m. This year the students are participating in a circus production from France known as Cie Tour du Cirque, a traveling husband-and-wife team who visit accredited French schools throughout America to teach students about the circus and to incorporate the children into the show itself. The children will sing, dance, juggle, do acrobatics and magic tricks in a show entitled “Derrière la Porte,” which translates as “Behind the Door.”
“In the francophone world the circus is a deep part of our culture, so it’s very culturally relevant to what we do here,” says Willy LeBihan, director of L’École Française du Maine, a K-6 elementary school and one of 40 French-language schools in the United States that enjoy full accreditation by the French national government.
The couple who created this circus, Farid Abed and Marion Achard, come from the Dijon region in the eastern part of France. They will be arriving in Maine on March 9th for the final stop of their current east coast tour and will spend four days at the school preparing the children for their roles. The circus has also appeared at schools in New Orleans, North Carolina, New York and Boston.
The student circus will immediately follow lunch, where patrons will be served lasagna with ground beef from DaVinci’s Eatery along with their signature “garlic knot” bread rolls, which is another annual tradition at the Franco Center. The cost to attend La Rencontre is $7, which includes both the meal and the entertainment. To make reservations, call the Franco Center at 783-1585 any weekday between noon and 4 p.m. The deadline for reservations is 4 p.m. on Monday, March 10th.
In the past when La Rencontre was held on a Fridays, the lasagna was always meatless in observance of Catholic prohibitions on meat consumption on Fridays during lent. Now that La Rencontre has been moved to Thursdays, however, ground beef no longer poses a problem for observers of lent.
LeBihan says that one of the school’s faculty, Céline Fournier, has long had a fascination with the circus and has spent considerable time during the current school year sharing her knowledge with her students.
“On top of being a certified teacher, she is someone who has practiced acrobatics and studied contemporary dance, and she has been training the children in these disciplines,” LeBihan says of Fournier. “Our students are prepared and are thrilled to particpate.”
“This year’s lineup in the ninth annual ‘F.A.B.’ Winter Dance Showcase is a testament to the health and diversity of Maine’s contemporary dance community,” says Carol Dilley, an organizer of the event and director of the Bates College dance program.
“F.A.B.” takes place at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 1, at the Franco Center, 46 Cedar St. in Lewiston. The event is produced in association with Bates by the Franco Center, formerly known as the Franco-American Heritage Center. (“F.A.B.” stands for Franco-American and Bates.) Continue reading
A storm expected to dump a few more inches of snow in Lewiston on Saturday will not be enough to force the cancellation of Saturday evening’s Piano Concert by official Steinway artist, David Fung. The concert will take place beginning at 7:30 p.m., as scheduled. His program will open with four short Scarlatti sonatas, followed by Beethoven’s Sonata No. 31 in A-flat major, Op. 110. Following intermission, he will perform two Rachmaninov Preludes (No. 10 in B minor, Op. 32, and No. 8 in A minor, Op. 32) and Schubert’s “Wanderer” Fantasie in C major, Op. 15.
The Franco Center has pre-emptively decided to postpone its monthly French luncheon, known as La Rencontre and originally scheduled for this Thursday, by one week due to a messy winter storm expected to hit the region this week.
The new date is Thursday, February 20th – a week later. A private event scheduled at the Franco Center on Friday precluded moving La Rencontre back by just one day, and so management decided to keep the event on a Thursday for the sake of continuity. Continue reading
The University of Southern Maine’s Franco-American Collection will be hosting a lecture by Prof. Christian Potholm on the topic of Franco-Americans and Maine politics, Thursday February 27th at 3:30 pm at USM’s Lewiston-Auburn College.
Potholm is DeSilva Alexander Professor of Government and Legal Studies at Bowdoin College. He’ is also the founder of the Potholm Group, a political research and consulting firm. Potholm was a consultant for the State Taskforce on Franco-Americans in 2012, and has been an expert observer of Maine’s politics for decades. His books on Maine politics include: This Splendid Game, The Delights of Democracy, An Insider’s Guide to Maine Politics and most recently, Maine: An Annotated Bibliography. All are available from Amazon.com
“This is an unprecedented year for Franco-Americans in terms of Maine’s political scene,” says Collection Coordinator James Myall. “For the first time in Maine, and perhaps anywhere in the United States, there are two Franco-American candidates vying for the governorship. We’re pleased to welcome Professor Potholm to share his insights on both the political history of Maine’s Franco-Americans and what the upcoming year has in store.”
The event is part of the Franco-American Collection’s Spring Lecture series, organized in partnership with USM LAC faculty and made possible by support from the University of Maine System’s Diversity Committee. For more information on the other events in the series, please visit the Collection’s website, www.usm.maine.edu/franco.
The event is free and open to the public. USM’s Lewiston-Auburn College is located at 51 Westminster Street in Lewiston. For more information, call 207-753-6545 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Ed Gabrielsen & Friends, who were set to perform a concert at the Franco Center back on Saturday, January 11th until a combination of freezing rain and dense fog that same day caused the concert to be postponed, have set a new date for the show — it will now take place on Saturday, September 27th at 7:30 p.m.
Ticket-holders for the postponed concert may hang on to their tickets from the original date and present them at the door, and they will be honored. For those wanting to purchase tickets, the ticket price will remain at the originally-set price of $15 per person.
What is not known at this time is whether the same opening acts — a young Portland-based trio named The Press Gang, which performs traditional Irish music, and the folk and world-music duo of of Leah Wolfsong and Reinaldo Cortez — will be on the bill. As soon as we learn additional details about the show, we will post them on this web site’s regular events calender.