2018 Rebel Blend Award Recipients

We held our annual Rebel Blend Fund Awards today, providing grants to five Maine non-profit organizations and artists. The fund has been awarding arts grants in Maine for 21 years. This year’s total fund of $6,525 was distributed to Atomic Classroom, Maine Youth Rock Orchestra, Intersection, Palaver Strings and City of Hidden Figures.

The fund is supported through the purchase of Rebel Blend coffee. This popular blend combines beans from three major growing regions: Asia, Americas and Africa. $1 from each pound sold or brewed in CBD coffeehouses is contributed to the fund and the total amount from yearly sales is awarded to the winners. Since its start, over $80,000 has been awarded through the Rebel Blend Fund Grant.

The 2018 Rebel Blend Winners

Left to right: Front row, Coffee By Design co-owner Alan Spear; Maya French, Palaver Strings; Lisa McAuliffe, Androscoggin Bank; Abigail Gray Swartz, City of Hidden Figures; Coffee By Design co-owner Mary Allen Lindemann; Melissa Runstrom, Androscoggin Bank. Back row, Kevin Oates, Maine Youth Rock Orchestra; Don Marietta, Intersection; Karen Merritt, Intersection; Cameron Selby, City of Hidden Figures

Atomic Classroom
Kate Cutko, an artist, librarian, and social worker, is current converting a vintage Airstream into a travelling art classroom called “Atomic Classrom.” She plans to use it for art classes as well as at festivals, and plans to make it available to other artists and community groups at no cost. The funding will help complete the construction of the mobile classroom.

Maine Youth Rock Orchestra
“Rock Project” – the Rock Project is a free school program bringing music educators from the Maine Youth Rock Orchestra into schools. Its goal is to engage students and young musicians through free instruction, helping to grow the next wave of Maine artists.

“Intersection”
Street photography artist Karen Merritt and graphic artist Don Marietta are working to create photographic and graphic art installations with the goal of helping people see themselves in the statistics of issues impacting Mainers. Issues addressed will include mental health, substance use, identity and security while raising awareness for support services.

Palaver Strings
Maya French is planning to open a music school in the fall of 2019, called Palaver Strings. The school, and its outreach programs, will focus on parent and child bonding, school readiness in early childhood, healthy after-school activities and critical thinking skills. The Rebel Blend grant will help with serveral planned outreach projects, including Lullaby Project, a performance residency, and a project with Maine Youth Rock Orchestra.

“City of Hidden Figures”: Inaugural Mural
Artist and activist Abigail Gray Swartz is creating a mural called “Maine Women in the Arts” as the launch of a national project celebrating female figures throughout history. The Rebel Blend Fund grant will help with a mural planned for the exterior wall of Running with Scissors and depicting artists Dahlov Ipcar, Louise Nevelson and Mary Mitchell Gabriel.


Rebel Blend winners are chosen each year by a team of CBD employees from each of the coffeehouses, the roastery and management, who review all applications and determine where the grant money will be most beneficial. To be considered for Rebel Blend funding, applicants must submit art projects within the state of Maine along with a detailed description of how their projects would benefit from the grant money. 

Rebel Blend submissions are accepted annually from July 1 through the end of August.  Further information can be found here.

Androscoggin Bank proudly supports Coffee By Design’s Rebel Blend Fund by recognizing this year’s recipients in an upcoming Mainebiz ad.