Grant #449

Joyous Exploratorium

May 10, 2021

The Joyful Exploratorium Is Getting Ready To Roll

If you live in Piscataquis County, Maine, it’s a long way to anything, according to multi-media artist Merrilee Schoen. “The region has been described as frontier county,” she says. “Homes are far from services, reliable transportation is often an issue, and Covid-19 has exacerbated the isolation.” How to help? Merrilee decided to create the Joyous Exploratorium, a year-long rolling truckload of celebration, connection, and community.

She’s transforming a 23-foot delivery truck into a traveling resource center, bringing fun activities to the far-flung residents of all ages. She’ll be offering the opportunity to participate in storytelling, art-making, and other programming. Check out this awesomely ambitious agenda!  Her panoply of exhibits is the attractor factor. While she has their attention, Merrilee wants to make sure her neighbors know about the resources, services, and organizations that might be available to help them with their needs.

“I consider [this] to be a free, safe, inclusive and accessible space,” says Merrilee. But it can only be free if she raises enough money to equip the truck with maps, art supplies, tools, and other materials to help her with hand-stitching, soldering, drilling and dyeing. Of course, she needs insurance, and fuel, and expenses on the road. It’s a big dream. Our Awesome Without Borders grant is a start, and Merrilee hopes it attracts other funders. Her GoFundMe will help Merrilee to, you know, roll along.

Category: Art, Children, Community, Design, Education



After 11+ years, we’re signing off and closing applications for good. We’ve supported 571 projects with $571,000 in grant dollars. We’re so proud to have celebrated such incredible work. Please visit for more information on other AWESOME chapters! And thanks for sharing so much awesomeness with us.

Team Awesome Without Borders