Category Archives: Joseph A. Fiore Art Center

Maine Farmland Trust artist residency program promotes agriculture through visual arts

Rolling Acres Farm in Jefferson now serves as Maine Farmland Trust’s Joseph A. Fiore Art Center, where four artists each spent a month last summer completing an art residency.

By Lauren Abbate, BDN Staff

Posted Feb. 14, 2017

With a rich farming history, 130 acres of rolling fields and forest, a renovated farmhouse, and a stellar location on Damariscotta Lake in Jefferson, Rolling Acres Farm is just the type of land Maine Farmland Trust made its mission to save.

Maine Farmland Trust (MFT) sought to purchase the farm several years ago with the intent of putting a conservation easement on the land and selling it to a farmer at a lower price.

But during the buying process, the grant that would have allowed MFT to lower the selling price fell through, meaning they would not be able to sell it to a farmer for an affordable price.

“I fell in love with the place,” Anna Abaldo, curator of the MFT’s Belfast gallery, said. “We didn’t want to sell out by selling to a developer.”

Instead of putting the farm back on the market at a high selling price, MFT and the Falcon Foundation, of Damariscotta, teamed up to devise another way Rolling Acres Farm could embody the ideals of conserving farmland and promote Maine’s agrarian heritage: through art.

In the hands of MFT, Rolling Acres Farm was reborn as the Joseph A. Fiore Art Center in 2015. The farm now serves as the home for MFT’s artist residency program, which hosts selected artists during the summer with the goal of having them create artwork that captures farm’s landscape.

The Falcon Foundation is the trustee of Jefferson artist Joseph A. Fiore’s work and has contributed the funding for the artist residencies, as well as pieces of Fiore’s art that are on display at the center. Albado and Falcon Foundation director David Dewey serve as co-directors of the Joseph A. Fiore Art Center.

“The whole idea is to connect the creative worlds of art and farming,” Abaldo said. “Farmers are makers, and artists are makers, and they seem to have a lot of shared passion for our rural environments and heritage here in Maine.”

This past summer the center hosted its first round of artists, including Susan Smith, of Dover-Foxcroft; J. Thomas R. Higgins, of Readfield; Robert Pollien, of Mount Desert Island; and Therese L. Provenzano, of Wallagrass.

The work each artist created during their month spent at Rolling Acres Farm is on display at the Maine Farmland Trust Gallery in Belfast. The exhibition, In Dialogue with Nature, will run until March 24. An artist reception is planned for March 17.

Higgins, a landscape painter, felt at home at the environment provided by Rolling Acres Farm. Growing up in rural Pennsylvania before embarking on a career as an art professor, Higgins said the integration of agricultural scenery into his artwork is an act of promoting the preservation of such landscapes.

“For me it’s a matter mostly of preservation,” Higgins said. “I would like to think that in response to such subject matter, that people would further appreciate the aesthetic of the land.”

For Smith, the opportunity to take part in the MFT residency program aligned perfectly with her mission as an artist to create pieces of art that convey a social message or issue important to her, as preserving Maine’s agricultural landscape is.

“I think that so many times, we think of art being a separate entity, and there are so many ways whether it be science or farming, that art gives an opportunity for people to be exposed to, or enter into, some kind of issue,” Smith said. “[Art] is an entry point that can really be more universal and subtle.”

Smith said her artwork is site specific, meaning that she lets the environment she works in direct her creative process. Knowing that MFT’s mission is to reclaim farmland, leading up to her residency in August, Smith collected dirt samples from empty farms she passed in her travels. However, she had no idea how she would incorporate the soil into her art during the residency.

Until the farm inspired her.

The soil took shape in Smith’s artwork in a variety of ways. She incorporated it with paint, and used it as one of her mediums. Then she mixed some of the samples into an old garden bed in front of the farmhouse’s kitchen window. Most striking was her placement of the samples in muslin bowls she had formed and dyed with rusty bolts found in the farm’s barn.

“As far as my art, [it] is not about pretty picture it’s really about the political or social issues,” Smith said. “To be able to incorporate art with dirt and farming was a really great opportunity for me.”

Pollien, who like Higgins is a landscape painter, appreciated the untouched agricultural scenery offered by the farm. He likened an artist’s careful observation of land to how a farmer views the same landscape.

“For myself, as an artist who is interested in the land over a long time frame, in a long observation, I don’t paint any man made structures,” Pollien said. “In that way [art] is a lot like farming in that you have to look long and deep and appreciate what it brings to you.”

Fifteen years ago, Provenzano moved from Manhattan to her family’s homestead along the Canadian border in Wallagrass, and since has been inspired by Maine’s landscapes and farms. The opportunity to spend an entire month submersed in a new farmscape excited her.

“Repeated familiarity of my own homestead can somewhat put blinders on. A farm environment at Rolling Acres provided a welcomed continuum for my work,” Provenzano wrote in an email message.

The time spent at the farm also surprised Provenzano, as she went into the the residency thinking she would incorporate her own collection of sycthes into her artwork, but discovered that digesting the authentic landscape at Rolling Acres Farm took precedence over her initial idea.

MFT intends to bring the farm back to a working status to promote greater cross fertilization of art and farming. The second round of artist residencies will be held this summer, with March 1 marking the application deadline. Paired with the artist residency, will be an opening for a resident gardener, to begin working the land, growing a selection of vegetables and poultry. A writing residency at the farm will also be offered, as MFT is seeking a writer who can chronicle the history of the farm.

After a successful first round of resident artists, Albado is hopeful that the Joseph A. Fiore Art Center will serve as an added voice in helping promote agricultural connections.

“The artists that come here are influenced by the visual beauty of the land,” Abaldo said. “The farming itself needs those voices to speak out and bring people in. There’s a deep agrarian connection that needs to be nourished.”

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.

___

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/ .

Down East Magazine Artist Profile of Fiore Center Artist Thérèse L. Provenzano

Thérèse L. Provenzano will be one of the August artist-in-residence at Maine Farmland Trust’s new Joseph A. Fiore Art Center at Rolling Acres Farm. Her piece Buckwheat No. 8 Cutouts has been selected for the prestigious Art of Giving Gala and she selected Maine Farmland Trust to benefit from the sale of her artwork.

From her artist profile:

“Down East Magazine: Why did you choose Maine Farmland Trust to benefit from the sale of your work?

Provenzano: The reason is twofold. It is about supporting the farmer and the artist. The preservation of farmland is critical to secure farming in Maine. Maine Farmland Trust is a member-powered nonprofit organization that protects and preserves Maine farmland, supports farmers, and advances the future of farming. I wanted to become involved in some small or big way in making a connection between art and agriculture.”

Read the full article on the Down East Magazine website.

Maine Farmland Trust announces Joseph A. Fiore Art Center A New Artist Residency Program in Jefferson, ME

Jefferson. Maine Farmland Trust, a statewide organization that protects farmland, supports farmers, and advances farming, recently partnered with the Falcon Foundation in Damariscotta to create an artist residency program on a protected farm.

 

The Joseph A. Fiore Art Center at Rolling Acres Farm in Jefferson will be launching its first residency for Maine-based visual artists in the summer of 2016. The program aims to connect the creative world of farming and art making, and evolve the dialogue between human and environment within the context of our current culture and time.

 

Falcon Foundation, a charitable foundation that holds the estate of the late artist Joseph Fiore (1925-2008), is generously supporting the establishment of the art center and residency program. Joseph Fiore was an artist and active environmentalist who, with his wife Mary, actively supported Maine Farmland Trust for many years.

 

David Dewey, former student and friend of Fiore and curator of the artist’s estate, will function as the Center’s Co-Director (Fine Arts Program), alongside Anna Witholt Abaldo (Co-Director, Center Operations), curator at Maine Farmland Trust Gallery since 2009.

 

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.

Four Maine artists granted first month-long residency during summer

 

For this first pilot year, the application process was open only to artists living in Maine.

 

“We were excited and pleasantly surprised to receive close to 25 applications in this first round,” said Anna Abaldo. “The jury was impressed with the high quality of the work.”

 

Of the 23 eligible applicants, four artists were selected by a jury consisting of renowned New York/Maine artist Lois Dodd and Rockland’s Caldbeck Gallery owner Cynthia Hyde.

 

The July artists in residence will be Robert Pollien, MFA (University of Pennsylvania), from Mount Desert, whose submissions included landscape drawings and oil paintings; and J. Thomas R. Higgins, MFA (University of Wisconsin) from Readfield, a plein air landscape painter who works in oils.

 

The August artists in residence will be Thérèse Provenzano, MFA, (Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts) from Wallagrass, whose submissions consisted of works in charcoal and pastel on paper; and Susan Smith, MFA/IPh (University of Maine, Orono) from Dover Foxcroft, who creates site-specific projects that address the environment, through the use of sustainable methods and materials.

 

At the end of each residency, the Art Center will host a family-friendly Artist Studio Day & Open House at the Fiore Art Center in Jefferson – a great opportunity for the public to see the new art center, visit the art studios and talk with the artists and center staff. The 2016 summer dates are Saturday July 30 and Sunday August 28, from 11am-3pm; both days will feature live music outside 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 artist residencies, please visit:

https://www.mainefarmlandtrust.org/public-outreach-new/jaf-art-center/

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