I am one of the lucky ones. I am one of the people in this vast world who has had the true privilege to be greeted by Ashley Bryan at his front door and invited into his home. Ten years ago this spring, Peter Ralston and I traveled by mail boat from Northeast Harbor to Islesford to see Ashley is his studio, hear his stories, and tour around the island. It was my dream to put together a show of his work for the Archipelago Fine Arts Gallery, and we were blessed to be able to do a studio visit. Teri, Peter’s wife, joined us as well as Leo, my seven-month-old son.
Maine’s creative economy is an important driver in many coastal communities which, according to the “Waypoints: Livelihoods” publication, have an average self-employed rate of 23%. Therefore, since the shutdown in late March, we have been doing several things earnestly: listening to artists, providing resources to support the self-employed, and sharing stories. Sharing stories is a powerful means of sharing solutions and strengthening connections. This has been at the core of Archipelago’s mentoring program for the last seven years as artists have shared their inspirations, failures, solutions, business models, and networks.
If we had lost sight of our sense of community during the digital age, perhaps a silver lining of the COVID-19 pandemic may be that we are once again finding value in these connections. It’s ironic that this is happening during a time of forced or self-imposed social distancing, and yet our state’s artists and makers are just one example of a community of people stepping up to fulfill important needs during this uncertain time.
Having lived in midcoast Maine for more than 40 years, it is quite possible that you know Joe and Mary Devenney, full-time artists living in Jefferson. Maybe you had Mary as your art teacher or saw Joe’s name credited for a photograph in a New England magazine. Or perhaps, you haven’t met them in person, but you have a sense of them through their pottery. Those that know them, know how love surrounds them—a love for their art, love for each other, and a love for life. Thus, I wanted to the know their story—the whole story—the story that brought them to be the artists and couple they are today.
Overall, I’ve found midcoast Maine’s custom wood workers: furniture makers, wood turners, spoon and oyster platter carvers, etc., to be quite singular people. For me however, Christina Vincent stood out even before I met her in person. As the proud daughter of a projects man, from concrete footings to framework to cabinetry, I came-of-age around the rebuilding of the house my sister and I grew up in. Thus, coming across Christina’s work, it was like stumbling upon my staunch childhood persona come to adulthood. I’d never recognized that sentiment in myself before; however, seeing Christina’s beautifully designed and executed pieces, the expert woodwork of a woman, made me want to do a little touchdown dance.
Archipelago introduces its new fall and winter gallery show, “Maine Life.” This show exhibits art that reflects life in Maine and adds beautiful craft and design elements to our living spaces, and features splashes of color, rich landscape scenes, textiles, and stained glass home decor.
Join Archipelago to celebrate Maine’s high season with an opening reception for the new summer gallery show, “King Tide,” on Friday, August 2nd, 2019. “King Tide,” showcases the work of four Maine women.
In an intimate conversation with art historian and critic Daniel Kany, Henry Isaacs will discuss his process, techniques, inspiration, and greatest influences, as well as Kany’s new book, “Travel Notes: Paintings by Henry Isaacs.”
Join Archipelago to celebrate spring and the return of color, foliage, cheerful light, and warmth at the opening reception for its new gallery show, “Spring Tide,” on Friday, June 7th. The Island Institute’s store and gallery will host a special artists’ reception, from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., during Rockland’s First Friday Art Walk.
If you spend enough time in Rockland, Maine, you may have seen a woman of medium stature walking up and down Main Street, tending the pollinator garden by the harbor, or sipping a cappuccino at Rock City Coffee. She is artist, gardener, educator, and Rockland resident, Susan Beebe. This past winter, I asked Susan if I could interview her at her “studio” space. While her true studio space is outdoors and she knew I wouldn’t get an authentic view into her working space during one of Maine’s coldest months, she agreed, and we spent a little time talking about art and midcoast Maine.