MFT’s Joseph A. Fiore Art Center is anticipating its fourth year of summer residencies at Rolling Acres Farm in Jefferson. This year, the Art Center will welcome visual, literary, performing, and for the first time, academic writing residents. A resident gardener will also live on the grounds for the summer. The 2019 residents were thoughtfully selected from a pool of 75 applicants with the help of jurors Sarah Workneh and Carl Little. The academic writing resident was selected by Andrew Marshall and Ellen Griswold.

Six visual artists will be in residence at the Art Center this summer: three from Maine, two from out of state, and one international artist.

Mildred Bachrach describes herself as an artistic pluralist who uses a variety of techniques and materials to explore the concepts of personal and environmental trauma. She has lived on a farm in Detroit, ME for over 40 years and is a member of the Cherokee Nation. J.E. Paterak is an artist with childhood ties to Jefferson, ME whose parents built a cabin on a nearby lake. Paterak will be continuing to build a body of work called Intimate Universe wherein she is striving to draw attention to the “awesomeness and delicacy of what emerges from the soil beneath our feet.” Tessa G. O’Brien from Portland, ME makes paintings that reference light, revel in color and play with architectural space – specifically traditional timber frame structures. While at the Art Center, she will explore the property and surrounding area, recording found compositions and painting them.

Genevieve Cohn is a painter and educator currently living in Boston, MA. Originally from a small town in rural Vermont, Genevieve’s work considers the relationship between women and nature. Eleanor Conover is a painter whose work responds to site-specificity and the human relationship to environmental space. Eleanor was raised in New England and currently resides in Tennessee, where she teaches at the School of Art, University of Tennessee, Knoxville.  Aubrey Chali, from Zambia, explores the realms of human culture and nature with its lavish hues and rich textures, resulting in the creation of mixed media paintings inspired by our natural world.

The literary arts residency, which focuses on poetry this year, was awarded to Maine poet Michelle Menting. Menting’s current project explores the relationship between humans, our built environments, and the natural world and all its beings. During her residency, she will focus on themes of migration, interconnectedness, and adaptation, and how these ideas pertain to wildlife, farming, permaculture, and climate change.

Sara Trunzo is the recipient of the performing arts residency this year. A former organizer, farmer, and non-profit professional Trunzo is now a singer-songwriter illuminating rural stories. She calls Unity, ME home, but lives and works seasonally in Nashville, TN and on tour. Her songs are informed by the landscape, community, and transformation.  

Dr. Sonja Birthisel will be the first academic writing resident at the Art Center. Sonja recently finished graduate school at the University of Maine, where she is currently employed. This summer, she will be working on several papers about climate change and its impacts on Maine agriculture.

This season’s resident gardener will be Laurie McDonnell. From tending urban landscapes to nurturing her own small farm, she has relished the opportunities she has had to partner with the land. She looks forward to cultivating her memoir and critical essay writing practice as she cultivates the gardens at Rolling Acres Farm.

In addition to hosting the residents, the Art Center will be opening a new Fiore Wing to the public this spring. Co-Directors Dewey and Witholt Abaldo are excited about the renovated garage turned art display space that will, for the first time, be able to house the entire collection of Joseph Fiore’s work on site.

The Art Center will also be working with Kerry Altiero from Cafe Miranda to host a wonderful summer evening fundraiser, where guests can expect artful pop-ups and delicious food. This dinner will take place on August 10th at 4:30 PM. Tickets will become available for purchase on this spring.

Learn more about the Joseph A. Fiore Art Center and the Residency Program.