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.

 

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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.

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