Category Archives: Joseph A. Fiore Art Center

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:

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.

An interview with artist Jess Klier

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 affinity for the arts. Apply here!

FMI or contact Denise DeSpirito, Fiore Arts Center assistant:

When I asked Jessica Klier to describe her work, she took out a small stack of cards and placed them on the floor between us, one by one, as if she were about to predict my future or perhaps invite me to play a game of Memory. Some looked as though they might be flashcards, each featuring a single word: “portals,” “hold,” and  “milkweed.” Another quoted Ecclesiastes 6:9: “Better is the sight of the eyes than the wandering of the desire: this is also vanity and vexation of spirit.” On the final card there was simply a line, about three inches long, with a filled circle at each end. “A tightrope,” Klier explained.

Not long after, she sprung up again to pick a milkweed pod from outside. (Klier’s urge to always be doing something with her hands is readily apparent.) With deftly splayed scissors, she sliced the green bulb down the middle, pried apart the halves and invited me to stroke the silky white fuzz carpeting its interior. “So, this is milkweed,” she said. “And portals,” I ventured, beginning to catch on.

Klier makes elaborate installations from recycled waste and found objects, these days gathering her materials on walks around Rolling Acres Farm. She also draws. Sketches pinned to a studio wall trace the places she likes to spend her time: the hammock, the lake, the nearby botanical garden and the yarn shop in Damariscotta. Here, she met local artist Diane Langley, who now teaches Klier how to spin wool and make paper from abaca (a fiber derived from the banana plant) in exchange for garden work.

A wild mushroom and a dirtied sheet of plastic, perhaps the remnants of a single use shopping bag, are Klier’s two favorite objects found so far during the residency. Both were incorporated into an installation depicting larger-than-life fallopian tubes. The wild mushroom is one half of a set of candleholders in the foreground of the piece and the plastic, now embedded with dried flowers, forms part of the plush uterine wall. “I’m really interested in how many hands have touched a thing,” Klier said.

Klier’s interest in hands manifests in her other major installation, as well. “This shrine over here, this is for my Nana,” Klier explained. “She died and her favorite color was yellow and this is something she used to wear in her hair and actually my great grandmother made these,” she continued, gesturing to the piece. Behind her, widths of knit material suspended midair in soft curves call to mind hammocks or, perhaps, tightropes. A pair of knitting needles embedded midway through one of the swatches suggests phantom hands taking a break from their work. “I’ve been thinking a lot about shrines lately,” Klier said. “Everything is a shrine, even the cups in your cupboard. You like those things enough to put them there. Or what’s next to your bed: a book and a pen that doesn’t work and an old cup of tea. That would be mine.”

Perhaps most revealing about Klier’s work is the way she talks about it, with a touch of anthropomorphism. Sitting at her spinning wheel, showing me how to manipulate wool into yarn, she spoke of how the fibers “all wanted space and then ended up latching on to each other.” Later, showing me the plaster mold she’d made around a tiny knit animal, she explained, “everything is compressing or ripping at each other or being like ‘Hey, I want to hang out with you.’” Weaving together the animate and inanimate, the lost and the found, Klier’s work begs its viewer to soften and enjoy in the small human pleasures of life.

MFT’s Joseph A. Fiore Art Center Announces 2018 Residencies & Jury Panel


Applications for the 2018 artist residencies at the Joseph A. Fiore Art Center at Rolling Acres Farm in Jefferson will open in early December. Over the course of the summer the Center will host six visual art residencies (five for Maine artists, one of which is reserved for an indigenous Maine artist; and one 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. Those interested can find more information and application details online at

This will be the third summer that the Fiore Art Center has offered a residency program. David Dewey and Anna Witholt Abaldo, co-directors at the Center, are excited to be working with yet another excellent jury panel. “Because we are introducing a different writing residency this year, and a completely new performing arts residency, we searched for professionals with experience in these fields who also possess a strong visual arts background,” explains Witholt Abaldo.

Ariel Hall was invited to the panel with an eye on the performing arts residency. Ariel Hall is a multi-disciplinary artist working mainly in performance and installation. She has shown her work at La MaMa, Panoply Performance Lab, the Culture Project, the Center for Maine Contemporary Art, and in the streets of New York City and Sao Paulo, among other locales and venues. Ariel assisted curators at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City for two years, helping them better execute performative and interactive artworks in the museum’s galleries; she also performed and facilitated the production of these artworks. Ariel holds an MA in Performance Studies from NYU. She served as Events Director at the Steel House in Rockland and in recent years as Curator for TEDx, Portland, ME.


Stuart Kestenbaum is the author of four collections of poems, Pilgrimage (Coyote Love Press), House of Thanksgiving (Deerbrook Editions), Prayers and Run-on Sentences (Deerbrook Editions), and Only Now (Deerbrook Editions) and a collection of essays The View From Here (Brynmorgen Press).  He has written and spoken widely on craft making and creativity, and his poems and writing have appeared in numerous small press publications and magazines. He was appointed poet laureate of Maine in 2016.  Kestenbaum was the director of the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in Deer Isle, Maine for 27 years, where he established innovative programs combining craft and writing and craft and new technologies. He is an honorary fellow of the American Craft Council and a recipient of the Distinguished Educator’s Award from the James Renwick Alliance.


Susan C. Larsen, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Dorothea and Leo Rabkin Foundation in Portland, Maine.  She is an art historian and critic who was formerly Professor of Art History at the University of Southern California, Curator of the Permanent Collection at the Whitney Museum of American Art, Chief Curator of The Farnsworth Art Museum, and Collector of Documents for the Smithsonian Institution. She has written on a wide range of American art and artists including the work of:  Charles Biederman; Vija Celmins; David Dewey; Richard Diebenkorn; Charles Duback; Joseph Fiore; Viola Frey; Edward Hopper; Hoon Kwak; John McLaughlin; Leo Rabkin; Italo Scanga; Jon Serl; William Thon; Cy Twombly and many others. She lives with her husband, Lauri Robert Martin, in South Portland, Maine.

During the summer of 2017, six visual artists, one writer/archeologist and one gardener/artist lived and worked together at the Joseph A. Fiore Art Center. The results of their creative residencies were enjoyed by visitors to the Center’s monthly Open Studio Days. Eliza Graumlich (a young writer hailing from Bowdoin College) and Susan Metzger (photographer) interviewed each resident to capture their process and experience at the Fiore Art Center. Interviews and photos can be found online at:


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. It offers exhibitions and public educational events, it 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 Maine Farmland Trust. The late Joseph Fiore was an artist and active environmentalist who, with his wife Mary, generously supported Maine Farmland Trust for many years.

An Interview with Elizabeth Hoy

Interviews & 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 affinity for the arts. Apply here.

FMI or contact Denise DeSpirito, Fiore Arts Center assistant:

Before she published Silent Spring, Rachel Carson wrote about the ocean. Frequenting a quarter-acre salt pond in the Muscongus Bay and tidal zones near the mouth of the Sheepscot River, she accumulated observations that would later inform The Edge of the Sea. Elizabeth Hoy, one of August’s artists-in-residence at the Joseph A. Fiore Art Center, thinks Carson might have ventured up to the Damariscotta area, too. “If we know that she was in one place, we know that she was around,” Hoy extrapolated. “She could have visited this lake.”

Hoy didn’t come to Jefferson planning to follow in Carson’s footsteps. For the past year and a half, she has been painting Superfund sites: locales that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has determined to be among our country’s most contaminated, and in grave need of national aid and intervention. (The EPA was founded in 1970, in response to the environmental fervor generated by Carson’s work.) However, upon arriving in Maine, Hoy started to revisit Carson’s writing. Learning of their proximity, she then began to visit and paint the same shorelines that had inspired Carson’s early research. Despite fifty years of distance, these zones remain largely unchanged.

True to Carson’s tradition, Hoy does most of her work outside, painting with oil and drawing with whatever materials might be at hand: pastel, watercolor or pen. “My paintings and drawings are pretty fast,” she confessed. “I feel like the further away I am from my experience, the more it can start to become something else.” More curated are Hoy’s sculptures, which mimic her paintings in both subject and form. “They’re on the wall and have a framing device,” she explained. “They’re almost like a little diorama or a stage set.” The sculptures are made out of found materials: scraps of fabric purchased at local church sales, carefully selected pieces of beach trash and more.

“What happens,” Hoy explained, “is really terrible but also sort of cool. Little bits of plastic get tossed with the rocks and end up looking like rocks themselves. Even Styrofoam cups look like pieces of shell or something.” She retrieved a fistful of synthetic treasures from the other side of the studio and arranged them delicately on the ground between us: an impossibly round sand dollar, a smooth stone, a necklace-grade piece of shell. “They’re really hard to find because they blend in so well,” she said.

The Superfund site nearest to Hoy’s home is Newtown Creek, a tributary of New York City’s East River that separates Brooklyn from Queens. Despite its designation, the area remains industrial. The riverscape features a recycling plant, petroleum trucks, barges that carry crushed cars and a colony of stray cats. No signs name the creek’s status as protected; Superfund sites are unmarked. Online there is a database that lists site names, but it lacks full street addresses. Hoy uses satellite images on Google Earth to locate sites she hasn’t yet visited, looking for large, empty pieces of land.

I asked Hoy how much explanation she liked to include in her labels given the abstract nature of her work. She tends to give very little context, she said, sometimes providing only the definition of a Superfund site, or a list of materials. She is more interested in seeing what effect her work has on its viewers: “If everybody’s thinking about one thing and you’re not thinking about that, maybe you should start.”

An Interview with Josselyn Richards Daniels

Interview and writing by Eliza Graumlich, photos by Susan Metzger

Applications for the 2018 artist residencies at the Joseph A. Fiore Art Center open early December. 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 affinity for the arts. FMI or contact Denise DeSpirito, Fiore Arts Center assistant:

Josselyn Richards Daniels doesn’t wash her palette very often.  When all of the colors run together, they become a little closer to brown, she says, and a little closer to the dust and dirt that her subjects once inhabited.

Before she draws an insect, Daniels must first kill an insect, gently and without smashing anything. The freezer becomes a low-tech cryonics lab. After the bug thaws slightly, Daniels arranges its appendages, fashioning antennae and legs and elytra (wing casings) into a three dimensional Rorschach test. Limbs are bent to showcase joints. Wings are splayed open. Straight pins—the kind with a plastic bead of teal or magenta or yellow at the top—keep everything in place. When the bug has dried, Daniels removes all but one of the pins. The placement of this final pin is based in tradition and varies by species. For Daniels’ most recent specimen, the carrion beetle, it is the pin on the right side of the thorax that remains.

Of course, these steps are merely preparatory. Her desk has five slim paintbrushes, several shiny tubes of paint and a pencil sharpener, and all have yet to be used. Next, Daniels will tone her canvas with walnut ink and a hacky brush. She will sketch an outline of the beetle with a mechanical pencil and use a proportional divider to confirm scale lengths and widths. Then, there is watercolor, hatching, gouache and hand lettering, preferably in a Roman font.

Daniels began her residency at Rolling Acres Farm with the intention of designing a poster on garden-friendly bugs. However, upon arrival, she started drawing the living things that she found around her: wildflowers in the hay field, lupines out by the road, the aforementioned carrion beetle (found atop a dead snake that she hoped to sketch) and various species of bees. Previously, as a student at Laguna College of Art and Design in Laguna Beach, California, Daniels dedicated 60 hours per week to studying fundamentals and technique. Now, she hopes to build a portfolio.

Biological illustration is different from fine art, Daniels explains, in that the former explores the world while the latter explores the self. However, Daniels’ works seems to stand at a junction of the two genres. Her illustrations, captivating in their realism and handsome in their aesthetic, would be equally appropriate gracing the illustrious back cover of Cook’s Illustrated or the walls of a gallery.

Daniels’ residency in Maine completes a journey begun in her childhood. Her earliest memory of making art comes from a camping trip in Bradbury Mountain State Park when she was five years old. After sighting a barn owl illuminated in the light of the campfire, she asked her family for drawing materials. Though she accepted the pen she was offered, she eschewed the back of an old receipt in favor of birch bark. Later in her childhood, she made fairy houses in the lilac trees behind her Munjoy Hill home and attended a school on Mackworth Island—a piece of land donated to the state in 1946 by Governor Percival Proctor Baxter “as a sanctuary for wild beasts and birds.”

In the fall, Daniels will study Human Ecology at College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, Maine. This program of study—the only one offered by the college—focuses on investigating the relationships between humans and their environments. Daniels says that her primary educational goal for COA is to gain an understanding of environmental sciences, in order to inform her artwork as a natural science illustrator.

An interview with artist Tanja Kunz

interview & writing by Eliza Graumlich, photos by Susan Metzger

Applications for the 2018 artist residencies at the Joseph A. Fiore Art Center open early December. 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. FMI or contact Denise DeSpirito, Fiore Arts Center assistant:

Tanja Kunz says that she likes pretty places. She also likes light, wildflowers and the color green.

Her artwork—botanically-referenced yet abstract paintings and drawings—reads like photosynthesis distilled. Energy emanates from each canvas, as movement, illumination or both.

Kunz’ studio at the Joseph A. Fiore Art Center is a mirror to the surrounding farmland: greens and yellows spotlighted in the July sun have another life indoors, in oil paint. Everything here is radiant. Kunz is unapologetic. Why not paint that which is already lovely? Paraphrasing the American abstract painter Agnes Martin, she queries: “What is wrong with the world? So suspect of beauty!”

The first painting of Kunz’ that caught my eye was from a series depicting Queen Anne’s lace—a flower perhaps more familiar as “wild carrot” or “bird’s nest” or even “bishop’s lace,” depending on where your mother grew up. On canvas, the delicate blooms seem to stretch slightly larger than life, though their size is ultimately ambiguous; the petals grow and shrink with a tilt of the head. Kunz describes this fluctuation as the work’s generosity to the viewer, and a quality of the paint that is impossible to reproduce in a photograph. Behind the flower’s precisely rendered umbels, broad streaks of light flood into an otherwise muted background. Here, there is a breeze. There is juxtaposition of focus and gesture, and a tension between abstraction and representation.

Also of note are Kunz’ field studies. They too feature Queen Anne’s lace, but this time acrylic on paper and monotone. Despite the limited color palate, they remain luminous, drawing the eye even from their placement in the corner of the room. Imagine cyanotypes but without the cyan. Each work is an exercise in form and line. Kunz says that her field studies are a way of returning to a subject with a different language. She thinks of everything she has ever painted as one large work in progress. A circle, not a line.

Unlike many artists, quick to intertwine explanations of their work with references to their own biographies, Kunz is decidedly private. She is interested in traditional and herbal medicine. She studied cell structure through painting to earn her MFA. She has lived in New Mexico and Texas and, now, Maine. This is all. What she has to say, she says through her art.

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 To RSVP to this event, please email

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

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

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: 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).