Marty Pottenger

Marty Pottenger is a theater artist, writer and activist whose work builds community trust and resilience through art-making. Marty founded Art At Work, a national initiative piloted with the City of Portland, Maine to improve municipal government through strategic creative engagement. “When a city has art-making as an active force…it’s not only transformative and cost-effective, it’s fun,” Marty says.

Art At Work projects in Portland have included raising historically low police morale through poetry calendars and civic dialogues; diversifying neighborhood associations through drumming, singing, and photography; and creating performances with police officers and Portland’s African-born youth to respond to a controversial police shooting. Started in Portland in 2007, Art At Work collaborating cities include Holyoke and Boston, Massachusetts; Broward County, Florida; and London, England.

Marty has performed her theater work throughout the United States and Europe.  In her OBIE award-winning City Water Tunnel #3—about the construction of the largest public works project in the western hemisphere—she partnered with the New York City Department of Environmental Protection and Local 709, the Sandhogs Union, over the course of three years.

Current highlights include a National Council on the Arts presentation, premiere of a new play on climate change #PhillySavesEarth, an essay in NEA’s upcoming book on creative placemaking, and a fellowship at MacDowell Arts Colony.