A CLEARING is an intentional space to slow down and make art outside the crashing waves of dominant culture.

As a practice:  

We invite Maine-based artists, writers, musicians, dancers, etc. to take part in A POSSIBLE PRACTICE: year-long creative cycles in conversation with a single poem, making work inspired by the poem’s themes.

We share readings that grow our understanding of this practice.

We host collaborative community happenings across Maine in nontraditional art spaces.

We focus on sustainable practice by compensating artists and helping them find a paying audience.

We create books, zines, and visual poems—surviving catalogs of the community we are growing together.

Against the bitter winds, we have cleared a space.
We see you. Welcome home.

A CLEARING is co-founded and co-directed by Alana Dao and meg willing. 

Alana Dao (she/her) is a mother, writer, and restaurant worker based in Portland, Maine. Born in Texas and raised in Asia and the US, her writing and artistic practice navigates the complicated relationships between food and contemporary culture related to race, gender, and socio-economic class. Her previous writing has been featured in The Chart, VICE, and the Huffington Post. She received a BA from Smith College and a MA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

meg willing (she/her) is a poet, artist, editor, and book designer based in Farmington, Maine. Born in Oregon and raised in South America, Asia, and Maine, her creative work explores trauma, loss, and fragmented memory through the integration of text and image. The former Managing Editor of Alice James Books, she currently serves as Head Chapbook Editor and Chapbook Designer for BOAAT Press; Art and Design Editor for Gigantic Sequins; Co-Owner of Independent Auto Volvo Service; server at Uno Mas; and Co-Director of A CLEARING: A Maine Arts Community.

Alana and meg have been working collaboratively on community-building art practices for six years and counting. They met in the food service industry in Portland.


Reflections from A CLEARING in your inbox.
On letterhead, mostly monthly.