Category Archives: Joseph A. Fiore Art Center

Back field and Fiore House

Sarah Loftus presents the history of Rolling Acres Farm in Jefferson

Sarah Loftus spent six weeks this summer as the Historical Writing Resident at the Joseph A. Fiore Art Center researching the history of Rolling Acres Farm and writing the “farm’s story.” She will present her research and the history of the farm Wednesday, October 25 at 6:30 pm at the Fiore Art Center in Jefferson. The historical writing residency was funded in part by a Maine Arts Commission Arts and Humanities Grant.

Loftus holds an M.A. in Archaeology from the University College London, London, UK, and a Ph.D. in Anthropology from Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY. “I journeyed to Maine two years ago to apprentice on a vegetable farm near the New Hampshire border,” she wrote in the application which won her the residency, “and I am still here, all sore muscles and stained hands soaked in New England soil.”

During her six weeks living at Rolling Acres Farm, Loftus frequented the Jefferson Historical Society and the Wiscasset Court House; she interviewed past owners of the farm on Punk Point Road and met with neighbors; she dug through countless books on the region’s history and rummaged through the rusty tools under the barn looking for clues to the farming activities of former inhabitants.

Loftus remarked at the close of her residency that it was interesting how one can see the story of America reflected back in the fields of Rolling Acres. What she found most striking, however, was how the local community treasures and embraces their history. “Everyone was so willing to share their stories with me, even though I’m someone coming in from the outside.”

“I think Sarah’s research is not only of benefit to us and our program – we hope it’s also a gift to the community,” says Anna Witholt Abaldo, Director of the Fiore Art Center. “Knowing the details of a place, past and present, enriches one’s sense of place and in turn, one’s connection to that place.”

Rolling Acres Farm is home to the Joseph A. Fiore Art Center, a program of Maine Farmland Trust that actively connects the creative worlds of farming and art making. The Center offers exhibitions and public educational events, supports research and development of ecologically sustainable farming practices, and hosts residencies for artists on a working farm. MFT is also working to establish a food forest at Rolling Acres Farm, which will provide nutritious food to area food pantries through MFT’s Veggies For All program.

The facility is handicap accessible. FMI visit https://www.mainefarmlandtrust.org/public-outreach-new/jaf-art-center/. To RSVP to this event, please email denise@mainefarmlandtrust.org.

Conversations: Studio and Table

First exhibit at the Gallery at Rolling Acres, Fiore Art Center

Jefferson. The Joseph A. Fiore Art Center will host its first ever gallery exhibit, opening on July 8th, with a public reception from 4-6pm. Conversations: Studio and Table is curated by David Dewey, co-director of the Fiore Art Center, curator of the estate of Joseph A. Fiore with the Falcon Foundation, and an esteemed watercolorist represented in Maine and New York.

The exhibit features the work of sixteen prominent artists, most of whom live or spend summers in Maine: Richard Abbott, Sam Cady, Kimberly Callas, Lois Dodd, Nancy Glassman, Cynthia Hyde, Frances Hynes, Jim Kinnealey, Dennis Pinette, Carol Rowan, Susan Stephenson, Susan Van Campen, Tim Van Campen, Mary Jean Viano Crowe and Patricia Wheeler. All of these artists were invited to be a guest at the Fiore Art Center’s 2016 residency farm-to-table dinners and studio visits.

“2016 was a very exciting first step for our artist residency program at Rolling Ares Farm,” says Dewey. “Having distinguished artists join us for weekly studio visits and delightful farm-to-table dinners was a valuable experience for our artists-in-residence, as well as an important contribution to the Fiore Art Center’s residency program,” he explains. The exhibit, Conversations: Studio and Table was a natural outcome, as conversations begun in the studios turned into lively discussions around the table, touching on art, agriculture, the relationship between humans and environment, observation, intention, how art can be a voice for awareness, and so on.

As a program of Maine Farmland Trust, the Fiore Art Center aims to attract artists for whom the relationship between human and environment is an important element in their work. Naturally, many of the artists invited to the table resonate with that theme, and often, this resonance is apparent in the art they create. Take Kimberly Callas’ sculpture Honey-eyed, for instance: a digitally constructed, 3D-printed mask made from PLA filament (a corn-based plastic), coated with yellow and black iron oxide pigments in a solution of acrylic and beeswax.

Callas, who teaches sculpture at Monmouth University in New Jersey, explained that she wanted to explore working with 3D printing and train herself in that medium, as it is gaining ground in the arts, sciences and construction. “Creating masks gives me a way to integrate patterns of nature with the human form,” says Callas. “I ask myself: ‘Where is our ecological self, and how can we express that part of ourselves more?’ Sometimes when you speak from behind a mask, you can speak more truthfully and open up that ecological voice.”

Lois Dodd’s work, in contrast, is a small landscape titled Will’s Cabin. “It’s a modest piece,” observes Dewey. “It shows the little white building artist Will Barnet would stay in when he would come up to be with his daughter, Ona Barnet, at the Rock Gardens Inn near Bath – a place of great natural beauty.” Barnet spent his summers “on retreat” there, while Dodd would be teaching painting workshops. Dewey chose this particular piece “because it marks the long relationship between Lois and Will: they became good friends, ever since she was a student of his at Cooper Union (NYC).”

The work by the sixteen veteran artists in Conversations: Studio and Table represents a high water mark of the mission of the Joseph A. Fiore Art Center at Rolling Acres Farm: excellence in ideas, creative vision and environmental awareness.

Conversations: Studio and Table will be on exhibit from July 8 through September 4, 2017. The Gallery at Rolling Acres is located at 152 Punk Point Road in Jefferson and is open on Saturdays throughout the summer, from 12-4, or by appointment. In addition to the exhibit, there will be Open Studio Days at the Center on the last Saturday of each month, showcasing the work of each month’s artists-in-residence. July’s Open Studio Day will take place on the 29th, from 11-3. For more information please visit https://www.mainefarmlandtrust.org/public-outreach-new/jaf-art-center/

Summer at the Fiore Art Center

Art image: Joseph A. Fiore, Homage to Juan Gris, Oil on Canvas, 40 x 36 inches, 2002.

This summer, the Fiore Art Center, located on 152 Punk Point Road in Jefferson, will open its gallery for visitors starting June 3rd; our summer hours are Saturday from noon to 4pm. Nellie Sweet, the resident gardener and an artist herself, will be on site to offer guided tours.

In June, visitors to Fiore Art Center can enjoy a broad collection of works by Joseph A. Fiore (1925-2008), an avant-garde NY/ME artist and active environmentalist for whom the Center was named. Starting July 8th the Center will feature an exhibit titled Conversations, comprised of works by guest artists who visited the Center for studio visits and dinner during the 2016 residency sessions.

Our festive Open Studio Days will again be held at the end of each residency: Saturday July 29, August 26 and September 30, from 11am-3pm. All are welcome to come meet the artists, tour the studios, and enjoy complimentary coffee, ice cream and music at the Center’s lakeside grounds.

For more information about the Center, please visit https://www.mainefarmlandtrust.org/public-outreach-new/jaf-art-center/

Maine Farmland Trust completes donation of Fiore art to close to fifty Maine non-profits

Several years ago, MFT found itself in the unique position of having been given over one hundred pieces of valuable artwork by the late artist and conservationist Joseph A. Fiore (1925-2008) – for the sole purpose of re-gifting these pieces to educational and environmental organizations throughout Maine. The paintings and drawings were part of Fiore’s “Geological Works,” also known as the “Rock Paintings,” and were collectively valued at approximately $1.3 million.

During his lifetime, Joseph Fiore was an avid supporter of Maine Farmland Trust. A former Black Mountain College student and teacher, Fiore was a well-known avant-garde artist during the 1960s. An artist friend and contemporary of Lois Dodd and Alex Katz, Fiore divided his life between New York City and Jefferson, Maine. While Fiore is best known for his abstract compositions, his key inspiration was always the natural world – and this is where his heart lay.

Fiore’s family created a foundation after he passed in 2008.  From 2012 onward, the Falcon Foundation donated many of Fiore’s landscape works to MFT—owing to the artist’s longstanding commitment to the Trust and the fact that MFT runs a gallery that combines art and environment, paralleling the artist’s own passions.

Recently, Maine Farmland Trust completed the re-gifting of the Rock Paintings, which now reside with fifty non-profits throughout the state of Maine, and beyond. Among the recipients are such organizations as Bates College, Colby College, College of the Atlantic, St. Joseph’s College, Unity College, Bay Chamber Concerts, DaPonte String Quartet, American Farmland Trust, Blue Hill Heritage Trust, Cape Elizabeth Land Trust, Damariscotta River Association, Island Heritage Trust, Midcoast Conservancy, Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, Penobscot East Resource Center, Wolfe’s Neck Farm, Kieve-Wavus Education Inc., Hurricane Island Center for Science & Leadership, Haystack, Gibbs Library, Skidompha Library, Vose Library, and many more Maine non-profits doing important work.

A full list of recipients can be found on MFT’s website: https://www.mainefarmlandtrust.org/public-outreach-new/jaf-art-center/fiore-art-trail/. This page actually offers a “Fiore Art Trail,” giving an overview of all the places in Maine where Fiore’s art can be found, along with opening times of organizations which offer public access. There is even a day trip suggestion complete with locations of delicious eateries along the way.

MFT itself has two locations where Fiore’s art can be seen – in this case, not only Rock Paintings, but also landscapes and abstract works: MFT Gallery, 97 Main Street, Belfast (open M-F, 9-4); and the Joseph A. Fiore Art Center, 152 Punk Point Rd, Jefferson (open to the public June – September, on Saturdays from 12-4).

Front of Fiore Center house

Maine Farmland Trust Announces 2017 Residency Awards: for the Joseph A. Fiore Art Center at Rolling Acres Farm, Jefferson

Tanja Kunz
Richard Daniels
Elizabeth Hoy
Jessica Klier
Anne Alexander
Jude Valentine

After a successful first artist residency program in 2016, the Joseph A. Fiore Art Center announced its expansion from four to six visual artist residencies for the summer of 2017. In addition, the Center added a new residency for a writer to research the farm’s history and write its story – a project for which MFT received a Maine Arts Commission Arts and Humanities Grant. A position for a seasonal resident gardener was also created for 2017– a first step in reviving farming activity at Rolling Acres as MFT works to design and implement a food bank food forest at the Center.

The Fiore Art Center at Rolling Acres Farm is a program of Maine Farmland Trust that actively connects the creative worlds of farming and art making. The Center offers exhibitions and public educational events, supports research and development of ecologically sustainable farming practices, and hosts residencies for artists on a working farm. MFT is also working to establish a food forest at Rolling Acres Farm, which will provide nutritious food to area food pantries through MFT’s Veggies For All program.

Nellie Sweet will be the Center’s first resident gardener, and will cultivate a kitchen garden for the residents and Center events. “We are so fortunate to have found someone who is both an experienced gardener, and a creative person who seeks to connect deeply with the land through her writing and photography,” says Anna Witholt Abaldo, co-director of the Fiore Art Center.

A team of two professional jurors was responsible for the selection of this year’s visual artists: Bevin Engman, Professor of Art at Colby College, and Sam Cady, distinguished artist and teacher whose work is currently on exhibit at the Center for Maine Contemporary Art in Rockland.

“When considering applicants, the jury primarily looks at the quality of an artist’s work, but we also ask them to weigh the match between each artist’s approach and the Fiore Art Center’s mission,” explains Abaldo. “We are interested in attracting and supporting artists for whom the environment is an important element in their work.”

 While the jury noted quite a number of promising submissions among the pool of twenty applicants – some established, others emerging artists – the following six were awarded a residency at the Fiore Art Center.

 In July, the artists in residence will be Tanja Kunz, an oil painter living in Bath (MFA, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC) and Josselyn Richards Daniels, a young illustrator and native Mainer from Yarmouth, currently a student at Laguna College of Art and Design, Laguna Beach, CA.

In August, Rolling Acres Farm welcomes Elizabeth Hoy, an abstract painter living in Brooklyn , NY (MFA, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, 2009) and Jessica Klier, from Northampton, MA, who fashions elaborate installations from recycled waste (BA in Expressive Arts and Community Engagement with a Minor in Studio Arts from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA).

For the month of September, the residents will be Anne Alexander, a sculptor from Windham who creates nature-based work (MFA in Sculpture from Alfred University, NY, 1989) and Jude Valentine, a printmaker and pastel artist hailing from East Machias, (MFA in Visual Art  with a concentration in multi-disciplinary media, Vermont College of Fine Art, Montpelier, VT).

David Dewey, co-director of the Fiore Art Center and responsible for the Center’s fine arts program, notes his enthusiasm: “I am very excited about the wide variety of this year’s artists in residence.”

The historical writing residency was awarded to Sarah Loftus, who holds an M.A. in Archaeology from the University College London, London, UK, and a Ph.D. in Anthropology from the Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY. “I journeyed to Maine two years ago to apprentice on a vegetable farm near the New Hampshire border, and I am still here, all sore muscles and stained hands soaked in New England soil,” writes Loftus.

“We invite any local residents who might have interesting information to contribute about Rolling Acres Farm to get in touch with us,” says Witholt Abaldo. Loftus will be presenting her final story in September – an event which will take place at the farm, and will be open to the public.

At the end of each residency, there will be a family-friendly Open Studio Day at the Fiore Art Center on 152 Punk Point Road, Jefferson – a great opportunity for the public to visit the art center, meet the artists and see the work created during their residency. This summer’s dates are Saturday July 29, August 26 and September 30, from 11am-3pm.  All days there will be live music outdoors on the lawn and free coffee, tea and ice cream. Bring a picnic and enjoy the Center’s magnificent grounds.

For more information on the Joseph A. Fiore Art Center and residencies, please visit

https://www.mainefarmlandtrust.org/public-outreach-new/jaf-art-center/ or contact Anna Witholt Abaldo at 207-338-6575 or anna@mainefarmlandtrust.org.

In Dialogue with Nature

Belfast. In the summer of 2016, four artists spent a month living and creating at Rolling Acres Farm in Jefferson. More precisely: a month of observing and noting, walking and musing, painting and drawing, collecting and interacting with the soil, the water, the weeds, woods and sky.

These four artists, all from Maine, were the very first artists-in-residence at Maine Farmland Trust’s Joseph A. Fiore Art Center, an initiative started last year in collaboration with the Falcon Foundation in Damariscotta, which holds the works of late artist and environmentalist Joseph A. Fiore (1925-2008).

The Joseph A. Fiore Art Center at Rolling Acres Farm aims to actively connect the creative worlds of farming and art making by way of exhibitions and public educational events, through research and development of new farming practices and by hosting residencies for artists on a working farm.

David Dewey, trustee and curator of the Falcon Foundation and co-director of the Fiore Art Center believes that an artist residency is an important creative interlude from the demands of life, which allows artists time to refresh their creative batteries and develop their art work with a clear mind. “We all need a break at times; the residency program can be a valuable period of critical artistic growth that both the artist and the public can benefit from.”

The four 2016 artists-in-residence Thomas R. Higgins*, Robert Pollien*, Thérèse Provenzano and Susan Smith are now exhibiting the work created during their month at Rolling Acres Farm at the Maine Farmland Trust Gallery in Belfast. The exhibition, titled In Dialogue with Nature, is on display until March 24th, with artist talks and a closing reception on Friday March 17, at 5pm. (*Higgins appears courtesy of Greenhut Gallery, Pollien appears courtesy of Dowling-Walsh Gallery.)

The artists each had their own unique approach and experience. Higgins, a landscape painter who worked mostly in oils, followed by some drawing, shared: “Having the unobstructed freedom to come and go as I please has resulted in the opportunity to focus on subject matter not explored in recent years, and the chance to get to know a few locations intimately.” Pollien, also a landscape painter, said: “The month was very productive and I find that the intensity of the residency has carried over nicely. The time spent working and thinking deeply about painting continues to be of lasting value.”

Provenzano, pastel painter, spent many a day right outside the glass doors of her barn studio. “My residency at Rolling Acres Farm provided a new lay of land to digest, en plein air.  The sky read imposing, vast or aloof. Rain and clouds made their presence known. Reaching and digesting the land, alone and unencumbered […], took precedence.”

The vibrant greens and lively brush strokes of Higgins’ paintings; the reverent stillness which Pollien is able to evoke with his coastal views and clouds; Provenzano’s meditation on the S-curved farm road meandering down to Damariscotta Lake – each speak to a different aspect and experience of the fields, water and sky at Rolling Acres Farm.

Smith took a different approach entirely. Her site-specific art practice lies somewhere between the archeological, ideological, experimental and ephemeral. She collected rusty old bits of farm equipment, branches, soil and plant materials, and created intricate eco-prints by tightly wrapping these different ingredients into cloth “bundles,” then steaming them. Her work wants to be touched, and speaks straight to the soul of buried history, sleeping memory, and connection to land that longs to be known.

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In Dialogue with Nature is currently on display until March 24th, with artist talks and a closing reception on Friday March 17 at 5pm. New work by MFT Gallery artists Julie Cyr, Dahlov Ipcar, Sheep Jones, Christopher O’Connor and Lou Schellenberg on the second floor.

 

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.

The Joseph A. Fiore Art Center at Rolling Acres Farm, located at 152 Punk Point Rd, Jefferson, is accepting applications for 2017 residencies until March 1st. More information can be found at https://www.mainefarmlandtrust.org/public-outreach-new/jaf-art-center/.

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

The Joseph A. Fiore Painting Prize application is now open

The Joseph A. Fiore Art Center at Rolling Acres Farm was created in partnership with the Falcon Foundation who is committed to bringing the
artwork of Joseph A. Fiore to the public. The Falcon Foundation is a generous supporter of artists in their early years of creative development through their Joseph A. Fiore Painting Prize. Learn more about the Falcon Foundation on their website and this exciting opportunity for young artists here: http://firehousefalconcenter.com/fiore-prize.html

Artist Thérèse Provenzano selects MFT as charity for “Art of Giving”

 

Maine Farmland Trust Gallery artist Thérèse Provenzano has been selected as one of the four winners of the 3rd Annual Art of Giving Gala by Down East Magazine.  The event celebrates the Maine arts community and supports four charities each year. MFT is honored to be the charity of choice for Thérèse Provenzano, who will also be an artist-in-residence at MFT’s new Joseph A. Fiore Art Center at Rolling Acres later this summer. The Gala event will take place Thursday, September 1 at The Landing at Pine Point, Scarborough.

Be sure to get your tickets!

Where agriculture and art intersect: The Jospeh A. Fiore Art Center

“It all started with a vision of what this place could be: a place where agriculture and art could intersect and cross-pollinate. It’s wonderful to see it coming to life – to see the impact of this place on the artists that live and work here, and the sensibility to the environment that develops in their work as they immerse themselves in a month of working intensively in nature.”

-Anna Witholt Abaldo, Co-Director of the Joseph A. Fiore Art Center

Historically, artists have celebrated the beauty and richness of the American landscape. The newly established Joseph A. Fiore Art Center at Rolling Acres Farm in Jefferson aims to continue and evolve the dialogue between human and environment within the context of our current culture and time through exhibitions and public educational events, and by hosting residencies for artists.

This summer, the Center hosted its first four artists-in-residence. At the end of each month-long residency, the artists open their studios and the farm to the public for an Open Studio Day. Visitors can tour the beautifully renovated farmhouse and barn, where the artists in residence live  and work for a month. The walls are adorned with at least two dozen works by the Center’s namesake, the late Joseph A. Fiore. The collection gives viewers a great sense of the breadth of his work, and many of the paintings on display were created at Fiore’s summer home in Jefferson.

For it’s inaugural year, the Center opened the residency to artists living and working in Maine. The July artists were Robert Pollien from Mount Desert, whose submissions included landscape drawings and oil paintings; and J. Thomas R. Higgins from Readfield, a plein air landscape painter who works in oils. The August artists are Thérèse Provenzano, MFA, from Wallagrass, whose submissions consisted of works in charcoal and pastel on paper; and Susan Smith from Dover Foxcroft, who creates site-specific projects that address the environment, through the use of sustainable methods and materials.

In addition to Fiore’s work, “Visitors will have an opportunity to view the works of art that were produced at the Fiore Art Center; to see the influence of the environment on the artists’ work – the environment of Rolling Acres Farm in particular, and of Maine, in general,” says co-director David Dewey. “We want to create a celebratory atmosphere around the artists’ work. We have ice cream, music, the whole nine yards. The last Open Studio was like a big environmental family picnic.”

The Open Studios are also a chance for the current artists-in-residence to introduce their work to the public, and wrap up their residency. At Rolling Acres, “I am in heaven,” said current artist-in-residence, Thérèse Provenzano. It’s a hard place for residents to leave, and a place that we’re excited to share with the surrounding community.

The next Open Studio Day is coming up this Sunday, August 28th, 11-3 PM at 152 Punk Point Rd. in Jefferson. Come meet the current artists, enjoy live music on the lawn, free coffee, tea, and ice cream, and spend the afternoon at the Center’s beautiful grounds on the shores of Damariscotta Lake.

 

August 28th Open Studio Day at Rolling Acres

Jefferson. The Joseph A. Fiore Art Center at Rolling Acres Farm is hosting its second Open Studio Day this summer on Sunday August 28, from 11am-3pm, at 152 Punk Point Road, Jefferson (just off Rt. 213).

The first Open Studio Day in July was a great success – visitors from near and far enjoyed touring the grounds of the new Art Center and talking with the two Artists-In-Residence. “We had ice cream, music – it was like a big environmental family picnic,” said David Dewey, Co-Director of the Fiore Art Center.

This month, artists Susan Smith from Dover-Foxcroft, and Thérèse Provenzano from Wallagrass, ME will open the doors of their studios to the public and be available for dialogue about their work. Everyone is invited to bring a picnic and bathing suit and enjoy free coffee, tea, and ice cream from Stone Fox Creamery. This family-friendly event will also feature live music on the lawn from 12-2pm, by Jamie Wood of Rockland.

Maine Farmland Trust, a statewide organization that protects farmland, supports farmers, and advances farming, recently partnered with the Falcon Foundation in Damariscotta to create this artist residency program. Rolling Acres Farm sits on 130 acres on scenic Damariscotta Lake. Maine Farmland Trust purchased the Rolling Acres property to make sure this beautiful and productive land will be permanently protected and always available for farming.  MFT hopes that Rolling Acres will once again become a vibrant farm, so that art and agriculture can truly interweave and cross-pollinate.

For more information on the Joseph A. Fiore Art Center and artist residencies, please visit https://www.mainefarmlandtrust.org/public-outreach-new/jaf-art-center/ .