Category Archives: Gallery

Rain Begins the Day by Jodi Paloni

Jodi Paloni was the literary resident at the Joseph A. Fiore Art Center throughout the month of July, into August. She worked on completing a novel and also wrote weekly reflections on her time at the residency.

 

Big rains have come. They fall in sheet-like vertical lines that cross the field following paths rendered by wind. Tree branches undulate, gentling the picture, and then suddenly the wind is given to change, leaves turned inside out. Leaves on the maples that flank the yard, liaisons between domesticity and all the wilding beyond the fence­–––five gentle turkey hens, a hawk swooping its prey, coyote kits yipping in the night, and even the gardener wearing her straw hat who wades through the field, brushing palms over the surface of hay grasses and wildflowers as if giving a blessing or taking one, even she becomes the wild of the field. Beyond all of that, the dead continue to sleep among weasels slinking the rock wall, loons chorus their lament, and above, as always, there’s the sky, today, a dirty white.

On the desk, a manuscript in paper, completed, while incomplete, soaks up the damp, when yesterday, pages quivered and flapped in breezes that skimmed across them. The writer allows her characters to rest, to settle into their narrative, reliving their matrices of push and complacency, which is a kind of push, too. She’ll let them examine their agency, see what fits, what is fitting, what squeezes them or lays them out bare beyond the reader’s capacity, but she’ll not let them rest for too long. Time, which was once a playmate, has shifted and now bullies the house, which is only to say how cherished this house has been, and these trees and the field, the cerulean ribbon of lake in the distance.

The middle fruits come in steadily like the end days of July–––string beans of chromium oxide and indigo, cadmium summer squash, and tomatoes with medium violet skins and terre verte flesh. The last lettuces taste sharp in the mouth. The house knows what all this means, but doesn’t speak it, until it does speak it, and turns suddenly as sour as the rough and bitter leaves. Thoughts run ahead to crisper airs and tubers–––carrots, beets, potatoes–––and among these thoughts there’s a stew. The house struggles to find peace while pushed and pulled by roots and shoots timetables, June weeds turned to seed, and planet energies, mercurial. The Internet is slow. Glue turns paper soft. It’s a good day for problem-solving the humidity, for private query, for the felt sense brush stroking of a self-portrait.

Yesterday, residents traveled a near road or two to the archives of the painter this place is named for and viewed more of the tangibles made manifest by his hand, as far as any one person’s eye can turn sight into vision and ask the consumer to see all that was felt or at least to try. Some are moved by the clatter of narrative and color, others by the peace they might take from a line reminiscent of a relatable figure. All are moved by a collection of stones arranged in an old printers box set on the table under the sky light, a scrim of barn dust and splinter of hay making it holy. It’s an artifact, a childlike thing, like this summer month of days with few boundaries, where the inner wilding as been allowed a sliver moon howl swelling towards eclipse. There’s nothing as sacred as emptiness in the quiet after a howl. There’s nothing as sacred as paying attention to what makes us and to what we make.

Here’s one thing the writer now knows for certain, what she has always suspected. Process isn’t solely for the artist; it’s for embedding process into the physical plane–––the canvas, the rice paper, the vellum, the page, the clear glass jars of liquid plant pigment on the pantry shelf–––for what travels over time and through space are the material vestiges of process impermanence.

Take heart, the writer will say to herself and the others, a departure looming.

The field has witnessed your arrival. It has allowed you, has taken you in, as it also swallows the rain, lifts up the birdsong afterwards.

Take heart. You have become immune to describable form, but your having resided here will be held within the forever of this field.

 

 

Jodi Paloni, July 2018

Popular “Summer Stable Show” at MFT Gallery

MFT’s Gallery’s annual Summer Stable Show is a favorite with returning art-lovers and summer visitors alike. This is the gallery’s largest, most vibrant group show that showcases twenty-two Maine artists this year, whose work connects to agriculture, nature or environment. This year includes first time exhibitors Sara Gagan and Susan Sidwell.

The first floor features a large, dynamic, abstract mixed-media piece from a series on rhythms in nature, by Belfast’s Kathryn Shagas; beautiful bright photographs of local landscapes printed on aluminum by Sarah Szwajkos; and a colorful collection of small paintings entitled “Artifacts” by Portland’s Christopher O’Connor. Contemplative figurative works by sculptor Elizabeth Ostrander create a synergy with the beautiful large goddess image, “Oracle,” an intricate scherenschnitt paper cut created by MJ Viano Crowe. The evocative paintings of Sheep Jones, another Belfast artist, contribute strong color, content, and design in her series of “Bulb Narrative” and “Fish Walker.” Sara Gagan’s images of animals are a delightful and inventive use of oils and collage elements. John Arden Knight’s large acrylic paintings of water lilies and milkweed are bold and vibrant, while Leslie Harris and Leslie Anderson present wonderful atmospheric paintings of landscapes and figures. Jude Valentine’s series of small brilliant pastels depict the many views and moods from Great Cranberry Island to Acadia. Paintings by Leslie Bowman, Julie Cyr, and Sharon Yates round out this collection with varied natural subject matter, such as a charming chick, engaging peas in a pod, and rich tulip still lifes.

The second floor displays the photographs of Terry Hire, Lynn Karlin, and Jim Nyce, all with very different subject matter, mood, and use of color.  Lou Schellenberg impresses with oil paintings of strong, imposing landscapes and sky with vigorous compositions. DiTa Ondek’s paintings of laundry fluttering on a clothesline in the wind create a colorful sense of energetic movement, while Kathleen Perelka’s lovely use of light and color accentuate a cultivated farm landscape. Robin Rier’s oil paintings incorporate vivid colors in tranquil scenes of flowers, peeling paint and old fence posts. The bug and rosehip mandala paper cut prints of Susan Sidwell draw you in for a closer look with their intricate design work.

The Summer Stable Show 2018 runs from June 4th through August 31st, with artist talks Friday July 27th at 5pm, followed by a reception and the town-wide Belfast Art Walk from 5:30-8pm.

Image above:

A Perfect Day, Leslie Harris, oil on linen panel, 20 x 16 in.

Let's grow a bright future for farming in Maine, together.

Call for Farmers/Artists/Artisans/Writers To Participate

HOMELAND

A multimedia exhibit exploring our collective and diverse relationship to home/land.

MFT Gallery invites farmers, artists, artisans and writers living in Maine, from diverse social-economic, ethnic and cultural backgrounds, to create art, craft or poetry which reflects on their unique relationship to home/land.

We are particularly interested in works that speak to a deep relationship which comes from cultivating the land, or a longing for connection with the land. For example, we invite work by farmers/artists which expresses the relationship with the land they cultivate; we invite work by farmers/artists who have been separated from home/land in some way and are cultivating a new relationship to the land they are on; we invite work by those who are longing for a renewed relationship to home/land.

Maine Farmland Trust will host the exhibit at its Gallery in Belfast from November 12, 2018 through March 1, 2019. This exhibit is promoted and curated in collaboration with GEDAKINA and several other organizations.

Depending on the number of participants, up to three pieces per artist/writer will be exhibited. If there are more submissions than gallery space, final selections will be made by a panel. The objective is to have all who submitted work included.

 

THE SCHEDULE FOR SUBMISSIONS IS AS FOLLOWS:

By July 15, 2018: Contact Anna Witholt Abaldo, MFT Gallery Curator (anna@mainefarmlandtrust.org), phone 338-6575 X 112) to let us know your intent to participate, stating medium/type of work.

By August 15, 2018: Submit up to 5 digital images of proposed work to Anna Witholt Abaldo (anna@mainefarmlandtrust.org).  For each image, please include title, media, and dimensions. Photos can be of work in progress. Please add a brief artist statement/bio to accompany exhibited works.

September 15, 2018: Notification to participants confirming how many pieces will be included.

November 5-6, 2018: Works must be delivered to Maine Farmland Trust Gallery.

November 5-9, 2018: Exhibit will be hung.

November 12, 2018: Exhibit opens.

November 16, 2018, from 5-7pm: Artist reception with artist talks by those who wish to speak about their work, at 5pm. There can be room for song and poetry reading as well.

March 1, 2019: Exhibit comes down and works are available for pick-up.

Any questions about exhibition and submission details can be directed to Anna Witholt Abaldo, phone 338-6575 X 112)

Let's grow a bright future for farming in Maine, together.

Susan Bickford presents 4th annual outdoor performance (stillness)18 at Joseph A. Fiore Art Center

Saturday June 16, at 4pm, a gathering of artists across disciplines will present a participatory outdoor performance, celebrating connection to nature and invoking a deepening sense of place. Movers, vocalists, musicians, writers, visual artists, foragers, an astrologer and a cook are among the players who were part of the retreat at the Fiore Art Center for four days preparing the celebration. The public is invited to share an afternoon “in gratitude for the season of summer, of light, land, water and all of the beings inhabiting this place,” says artist Susan Bickford, who staged the first multidisciplinary performance of this kind at the reversing falls by her home in Newcastle, in 2015.

 

“The new location is a meditation on stillness in and of itself. In contrast to the reversing falls on the Sheepscot River (where the current comes to a standstill only for a moment), these fields and lake are often still,” says Bickford. “Here there is less waiting for stillness to arrive and more intentionally slowing ourselves down to match the pace of a caterpillar, the rhythm of a walnut tree. If we are lucky, we catch a glimpse of the slow train in our peripheral vision, take a deep breath and slide into a window seat. When we synch ourselves to the pulse of this place it expands our ability to notice whole worlds of wonder. If it sounds magical, it’s because simply, it is.”

 

Bickford has gathered twenty collaborators, including Andrea Goodman and Anna Dembska (vocalists), Susan Osberg (dancer) and Susan Smith (visual art), each of whom has participated in the event in previous years.

 

Participants include: Susan Bickford, Andrea Goodman, Anna Dembska, Susan Osberg, Zoe Mason, Rachel Alexandrou, Annabel O’Neill, Susan Smith, Kristin Dillon, Stan Levitsky, Cody Maroon, Luke Myers, Brianna Daley, Dakota Douglass, Matea Mills-Andruk, Fletcher Boote, Heather Lyon, Mary Jean Crowe, Robin Lane, and Anna Witholt Abaldo.

 

Public participation includes a slow walk across the land, a lakeside performance, a seasonal feast, and a fire. Tickets can be purchased online or on the day of the event, at 152 Punk Point Road, Jefferson, ME.

 

(stillness) 18 is generously supported by MFT’s Joseph A. Fiore Art Center, The Power Company, Damariscotta River Association, The Midcoast Conservancy and the Sheepscot General Store.

 

***

 

Bickford is a lecturer at the University of Maine at Augusta as well as Director of the Danforth Gallery. Bickfords’ approach to art is a deep ecological one. A Certified Nature Therapy Guide, Susan Bickford also holds an MFA from Maine College of Art and a BFA from Rhode Island School of Design. Winner of the 2017 Maine Arts Commission Individual Artist Fellowship in Media and Performance, Susan Bickford has been making interdisciplinary collaborative retreats/performances in nature since 2001. These performances also result in a video installation which is shown in traditional art spaces. The (stillness) project is an annual event that first began in 2015, migrating through sites along the waterways of Midcoast Maine.

Let's grow a bright future for farming in Maine, together.

MFT Announces 2018 Joseph A. Fiore Art Center Residency Awards

Early this April, a jury panel consisting of Stuart Kestenbaum, Susan Larsen and Ariel Hall awarded eight recipients with a 4-6 week residency at MFT’s Fiore Art Center at Rolling Acres Farm in Jefferson.

In its third year, the Center received 66 applications for its summer arts residency program. The categories included visual arts, literary arts and performing arts. This year one residency placement was reserved for an indigenous artist and one for an international or out-of-state artist.

About the Artists in Residency

Thu Vu, from Vietnam, was awarded the international visual arts residency. Vu first came to Maine from Hanoi Fine Arts College in 1998 as an exchange student; she attended Maine College of Art in Portland. Vu creates light sculptures made out of paper and natural materials. Her work has been exhibited throughout Asia, Europe and the USA.

Light Sculpture by Thu Kim Vu

Clif Travers was awarded the visual arts residency for a Maine indigenous artist. Travers grew up in the mountains near Sugarloaf. One of his current bodies of work, The Medicine Cabinets, grew from three years of interviews with people around the country. Travers asked each person: “What would you consider to be a social malady that could be easily cured by regular folk?” The resulting “cabinets” are all connected to nature and show the malady, as well as the imagined cure.

Medicine Cabinet by Clif Travers

The remaining four visual arts residencies were awarded to:

Carol Douglas: Douglas grew up on a farm and describes herself as a plein-air landscape painter whose primary interest lies in the relationship between humans and their environment.

“Finger Lakes Vineyard” by Carol Douglas

Michel Droge: Droge is an abstract painter—her work reflects a poetic connection to the land, climate change research and the philosophy of the sublime.

“Breathing Lessons” by Michel Droge

Estefani Mercedes: Mercedes is an activist artist with deep connections to Maine. She is interested in local Brooksville archives that connect to the Argentine dictatorship. Through radical justice, film photography and copyright law, she hopes to restore missing violent histories and silenced voices by building publicly accessible archives.

Untitled by Estefani Mercedes

Maxwell Nolin: Nolin is a young emerging portrait painter who most recently made a living as an organic vegetable farmer. His portraits often feature fellow farmers; however, he writes, “I have yet to fully immerse my subjects in the natural landscape. This seems to be where my interest lies and where my work is heading.”

“Toot and Roger Raw” by Maxwell Nolin

Literary Arts and Performing Arts Residents

The Fiore Art Center’s literary arts residency was awarded to Maine writer, Jodi Paloni. Paloni is currently working on her second book, a novel-in-stories, which takes place in the sixties and seventies on a farm similar to the Center’s Rolling Acres Farm, and tracks three Maine women from their girlhood to contemporary midlife.

Jodi Paloni

The performing arts residency was allocated to Heather Lyon. Lyon was born on a farm in Maine. Her art practice is site responsive and she plans to create new performance work at the Fiore Art Center, “responding to this unique place where the connections between art and farming can be explored and lived.”

View “MILK” by Heather Lyon here.

Heather Lyon

Resident Gardiner: Rachel Alexandrou

Each year, the Center hires a seasonal resident gardener, who lives on the farm for five months and grows food for the residents. “We’ve been lucky to find gardeners who also have their own creative practice, and enjoy being immersed in our residency program setting,” says Anna Witholt Abaldo, co-director of the Fiore Art Center. This year’s gardener will be Rachel Alexandrou, from Alna. Her organic gardening experience spans a decade, and she is currently completing her bachelor’s degree in sustainable horticulture at UMaine, Orono, with a minor in studio art.

“Kale in Decay” by Rachel Alexandrou

Those interested can find more information on application details, summer visitor hours and open studio dates here.

About the Joseph A. Fiore Art Center at Rolling Acres Farm

The mission of the Joseph A. Fiore Art Center at Rolling Acres Farm is to actively connect the creative worlds of farming and art making. The Center’s purpose is to continue and evolve the dialogue between human and environment within the context of our current culture and time. The Center offers exhibitions and public educational events, engages in research and development of new farming practices and hosts residencies for artists on a working farm in Jefferson, Maine. The Fiore Art Center is a program of MFT. The late Joseph Fiore was an artist and active environmentalist who, with his wife Mary, generously supported MFT for many years.

Let's grow a bright future for farming in Maine, together.

Summer Stable Show 2018

Belfast. Maine Farmland Trust Gallery’s annual Summer Stable Show is a favorite with returning art-lovers and summer visitors alike. The gallery’s largest, most vibrant group show, showcases twenty-two Maine artists this year, whose work connects to agriculture, nature or environment, including first time exhibitors Sara Gagan and Susan Sidwell.

The first floor of the gallery features a large, dynamic, abstract mixed-media piece from a series on rhythms in nature, by Belfast’s Kathryn Shagas; beautiful bright photographs of local landscapes printed on aluminum by Sarah Szwajkos; and a colorful collection of small paintings entitled “Artifacts” by Portland’s Christopher O’Connor. Contemplative figurative works by sculptor Elizabeth Ostrander create a synergy with the beautiful large goddess image “Oracle,” an intricate scherenschnitt paper cut created by MJ Viano Crowe. The evocative paintings of Sheep Jones, another Belfast artist, contribute strong color, content, and design in her series of “Bulb Narrative” and “Fish Walker.” Sara Gagan’s images of animals are a delightful and inventive use of oils and collage elements. John Arden Knight’s large acrylic paintings of water lilies and milkweed are bold and vibrant, while Leslie Harris and Leslie Anderson present wonderful atmospheric paintings of landscapes and figures. Jude Valentine’s series of small brilliant pastels depict the many views and moods from Great Cranberry Island to Acadia. Paintings by Leslie Bowman, Julie Cyr, and Sharon Yates round out this collection with such varied natural subject matter as a charming chick, engaging peas in a pod, and rich tulip still lifes.

The second floor displays the photographs of Terry Hire, Lynn Karlin, and Jim Nyce, all with very different mood, use of color, and subject matter.  Lou Schellenberg impresses with oil paintings of strong, imposing landscapes and sky with vigorous compositions. DiTa Ondek’s paintings of laundry fluttering on a clothesline in the wind create a colorful sense of energetic movement, while Kathleen Perelka’s lovely use of light and color accentuate a cultivated farm landscape. Robin Rier’s oil paintings incorporate vivid colors in tranquil scenes of flowers, peeling paint and old fence posts. The bug and rosehip mandala paper cut prints of Susan Sidwell draw you in for a closer look with their intricate design work.

The Summer Stable Show 2018 runs from June 4th through August 31st, with artist talks Friday July 27th at 5 pm, followed by a reception and the town-wide Belfast Art Walk from 5:30-8 pm.

Maine Farmland Trust Gallery, located at 97 Main Street, Belfast, is open Monday through Friday from 9am-4pm, and Saturdays 10am -2pm through the summer. More information can be found at www.mainefarmlandtrustgallery.org.

Maine Farmland Trust is a statewide, member-powered nonprofit working to protect farmland, support farmers, and advance farming. Maine Farmland Trust created its gallery to celebrate agriculture through art, and to inspire and inform the public about farming in Maine. For more information on the Trust visit www.mainefarmlandtrust.org.

Let's grow a bright future for farming in Maine, together.

An interview with artist Anne Alexander

Interview & writing by Eliza Graumlich;  Photos by Susan Metzger

Applications for the 2018 artist residencies at the Joseph A. Fiore Art Center are open. There will be six visual art residencies (5 for Maine artists, 1 of which is reserved for an indigenous Maine artist; 1 for an out-of-state or international artist), one performing arts residency, and one writing residency. There will also be a seasonal position for a resident gardener with an affinity for the arts. Apply here!

FMI or contact Denise DeSpirito, Fiore Arts Center assistant: denise@mainefarmlandtrust.org.

To enter Anne Alexander’s studio is to catch a glimpse of the world through Goldilocks’ eyes: everything is too big or too small. When I visited her workspace in mid-September, located within a converted barn at the Joseph A. Fiore Art Center, it was filled with seashells and seedpods and squash and radishes, each item displayed beside a duplicate magnitudes larger. These larger renditions were made of clay and slightly abstracted, sometimes in form and sometimes due solely to their size. Swollen, they adopted new qualities: they were rounder, softer, more human and occasionally erotic. A seedpod morphed into what looked like worms; a radish to a baby’s bottom. The smaller forms seemed somehow too small: the radish, for instance, was shriveled with age and exposure.

Scale is central to Alexander’s work. “You know how, when you walk in the woods, sometimes you feel very small?” she asked. She hopes that her pieces—organic forms carved out of clay, wood and stone—will leave viewers with a similar sensation, affecting them on both an emotional and kinesthetic level. “Hopefully after seeing my work [people] might look at a tree branch in a different way, or look at a tiny little plant pod and imagine it on a larger scale.”

Alexander led me to the second room of her Jefferson studio. Originally, this is where farm implements were repaired. Today, Alexander uses the left behind vice to clutch the pieces of alabaster that she carves. “When I first came in here I was really feeling the presence of someone who used to work in the shop,” she confessed. “It was comforting. I felt like somebody was happy that I was working here.” One day, as she was hammering, a shiny drill bit rolled into view. “It felt like I was being given gifts.”

 

Given the surreal nature of her art and her equally fantastic experiences in the studio, it is no surprise that Alexander refers to this part of Maine as “fairytale land.” Her roots here are deep: her father grew up in nearby Damariscotta and attended Lincoln Academy, just like his own father, and his mother before him. Alexander herself spent childhood summers along the Damariscotta River. Today she lives in Windham. “I have a cousin that lives in Bremen and we’d go to Waldoboro or South Bristol, but I’d never come down this road, the 213,” Alexander admitted. “It’s so beautiful. It’s no wonder so many artists live here.”

The earliest inspirations for Alexander’s work, in fact, can be attributed to one of these artists. As a child, Alexander and her family visited the Cushing home of famed sculptor Bernard Langlais. There, she remembers climbing so high onto a sculpture (a wooden elephant or maybe a lion—she can’t recall) that she could see Langlais himself, in his adjacent outdoor studio. “I remember waving to him over the fence and seeing him with his tools and his crazy hair, working,” she recalled. “He was very happy.” This experience, she said, “sparked something” in her. Since, Langlais’ work has been a guiding inspiration for her own, particularly due to its public nature, use of natural materials and scale.

Like Langlais, Alexander often carves in public. “People say ‘Oh, I don’t have the patience for that,’ and I think, ‘It’s not patience for me. It’s that I just want to get back to it. I want to stop all the other stuff in my life and just get back to [my work].” While this notion is romantic, it was also readily apparent upon meeting Alexander in her studio. Midway through our conversation, she spotted part of a large cedar sculpture that needed fixing and worked at it for the duration of the visit.

8 holiday gift ideas for the Maine farm lover

What do you get for the people on your list who love Maine farms and food? We’ve added to our list from last year to give you a few ideas to fill your holiday season with local goodness.

  • A CSA share: the gift that keeps on giving all season long. Click here for a list of CSAs near you.
  • A canner, or other kitchen gadget that will help preserve food—so your loved one can enjoy Maine’s bounty year round. Here’s an overview of the products out there.
  • Something to snuggle away the cold winter nights: A Real Maine blanket or maybe a cozy sheepskin or wool from your local fiber farmer.
  • Find farm-centric art, hats, t-shirts, children’s books, and holiday cards made by local artists in our gallery (97 Main Street in Belfast), or in our online store.
  • Banked time: Because sometimes gardening, food prep, or putting up a greenhouse requires more than two hands. Write out a gift certificate to wrap up, and throw in a sprig of thyme for fun.
  • Give good food! A jar of really good farm-made eggnog, a gift certificate to spend at the local butcher shop, a tin of Maine-grown herbal tea… in our experience, food gifts are always appreciated.
  • Looking for something to ship? Many of Maine’s food and farm products last a long time, including jam, maple syrup, beeswax candles, and even seaweed (the last two are even carry-on friendly!).
  • Finally, MFT (and other farm-focused organizations) offer gift memberships.  Give someone the knowledge that they have a hand in growing the future of farming. We’ll send them a copy of our beautiful Maine Farms journal, too!

Most importantly, take time to enjoy this time with family and friends, and make lots of delicious (and local) food during the holidays. Be sure to stock up on all manner of veggies, dairy, meats, etc at your local winter farmers market or local grocer, and give thanks for local bounty, even in the midst of Maine winter!

In the Interval Between Snowflakes on view at MFT Gallery

Belfast. In a state like Maine, sometimes the greatest fruits of our labor grow through friendship.

The multi-media exhibit “In the INTERVAL between snowflakes,” on view at Maine Farmland Trust Gallery from November 20 through January 5, is a case in point.

The exhibition (part photography, part sculpture, part poetry) is a result of over 25 years of friendship between artist Bruce McAffee Towl and farmers Barbara and Jason Kafka, of Checkerberry Farm in Parkman, Maine.

“It all started twenty-five years ago,” McAffee Towl recounts, “because Jason held out his hand and in his palm were the seeds for an entire crop of onions, and we said ‘Let’s make a book for the Common Ground Fair!’ That’s what got us started.”

“It was all drawings at first,” McAffee Towl continues. “It was the friendship that allowed the farmers and their crew to feel comfortable, to have someone right there with pencil and paper to record their triumphs and less-than-triumphs.” His nickname soon became The Spector.

Fast forward two and a half decades: McAffee Towl presented the harvest of 25 years of drawings, photography, sculpture and poetry to his community, in the barn adjacent to his home in Dover-Foxcroft, in October of 2016.

“It was an emotionally moving experience,” writes John Harker, now retired but previously Director of Market and Production Development for the Maine Department of Agriculture for 26 years. He and many others felt that this exhibit must be shared around the State, as a way to raise awareness of the work that goes into growing food and simultaneously, as a way to celebrate Maine’s family farms.

Maine Farmland Trust Gallery was a logical first choice. “It was Barbara Kafka from Checkerberry Farm who approached us about Bruce’s exhibit,” says Anna Witholt Abaldo, gallery curator at Maine Farmland Trust. “When I went to see Bruce’s exhibit in early 2017, she was there, and it became immediately apparent that this production was truly a team effort, and important to many.”

The Maine Arts Commission awarded INTERVAL partial funding to be adapted for display at other venues. Betsy Miller Minott, a former farm crew member at Checkerberry, has since been instrumental in converting the exhibit for display at MFT Gallery.

As curator of MFT Gallery, Witholt Abaldo has seen a plethora of artworks and exhibits that speak to farm life. “INTERVAL is unique,” she notes, “because of the decades of heartfelt observation that pour out through the poetry, the photographs, even the hand-hewn bench made from a fallen tree which serves as a seat to view the digital slide show. It is truly a labor of love.”

In McAffee Towl’s own words, the exhibit “celebrates the I N T E R V A L between snowflakes: raising organic fruits and vegetables on a rural Maine farm in the state’s short growing season, and aims to honor all those who ‘bend’ to raise food for many of us.”

The exhibit will be on display from November 20, 2017 through January 5, 2018, and opens with a festive, public reception on Saturday December 2, during the Belfast Holiday Art Walk. The reception will be preceded by Artist/Farmer Talks at 5pm; the reception runs from 5:30-8pm.

Maine Farmland Trust Gallery, located at 97 Main Street, Belfast, is open Monday through Friday from 9am-4pm. More information can be found at www.mainefarmlandtrustgallery.org.

Maine Farmland Trust is a statewide, member-powered nonprofit working to protect farmland, support farmers, and advance farming. Maine Farmland Trust created its gallery to celebrate agriculture through art, and to inspire and inform the public about farming in Maine. For more information on the Trust visit www.mainefarmlandtrust.org.

CSA II (Community Supporting Arts)

Maine Farmland Trust Gallery, in partnership with the Harlow Gallery/Kennebec Valley Art Association, presents CSA II – one of three exhibitions of work by 13 Maine artists who have been partnered with CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farms throughout the 2017 growing season.

Meet the artists and farmers at the opening reception on Friday, September 22, from 5-8pm with a gallery talk at 5pm. Maine Farmland Trust is located at 97 Main Street in Belfast; the exhibition is on view from September 22 through November 10, 2017. For more information about Maine Farmland Trust Gallery please visit www.mainefarmlandtrust.org/public-outreach-new/gallery/

Participating artists and farms are: Ingrid Ellison of Camden (paired with Hope’s Edge Farm), Helene Farrar of Manchester (paired with Farmer Kev’s), Dylan Gifford of Kents Hill (paired with Wholesome Holmstead), Karen Merritt of Portland (paired with Crystal Spring Farm), Anna O’Sullivan of Portland (paired with The FarmME), Tim Ouillette of Portland (paired with Hancock Family Farm), Tyson Pease of Gardiner (paired with Tender Soles Farm), Alyssa Phanitdasack of Portland (paired with Sheepscot General Farm and Store), Jessica Rhoades of Thomaston (paired with Whatley Farm), Susan Bartlett Rice of Walpole (paired with Tarbox Farm), Nicholas Runco of Oakland (paired with KVCC CSA), Kris Sader of Orono (paired with Ripley Farm), and Rebecca May Verrill of Portland (paired with Frith Farm).

During CSA II (Community Supporting Arts), participating artists have been visiting their partner farms regularly since January 2017, at the very start of this year’s growing season, creating art inspired by their farmers’ lives, work, and landscape. The resulting body of artwork will be exhibited at three venues in the fall of 2017: at the Maine Farmland Trust Gallery in Belfast September 22 – November 10; at the Harlow Gallery in Hallowell October 27 – December 2; and at Engine in Biddeford November 10 – December 16.

In 2012 Harlow Gallery organized the first Community Supporting Arts (CSA) project to connect Maine’s artist and farming communities, two vibrant and idealistic groups that are key to our state’s unique sense of place. The first CSA project was a huge success and the Harlow Gallery staff and volunteers are thrilled to bring it back for 2017.

All the participating farms are Community Supported Agriculture (CSA farms). A CSA farm sells shares at the beginning of the growing season and then provides fresh, seasonal food on a regular basis to each shareholding household throughout the growing season. CSA II will use the power of art to promote the economic and environmental benefits of organic farming and of buying locally grown food. Our food industry is a critical key to a sustainable economy and the health and well-being of Maine citizens in an age of accelerating climate change.

Maine Farmland Trust Gallery, located at 97 Main Street, Belfast, is open Monday through Friday from 9am-4pm. More information can be found at www.mainefarmlandtrustgallery.org.

Maine Farmland Trust is a statewide, member-powered nonprofit working to protect farmland, support farmers, and advance farming. Maine Farmland Trust created its gallery to celebrate agriculture through art, and to inspire and inform the public about farming in Maine. For more information on the Trust visit www.mainefarmlandtrust.org.