Tag Archives: Art in Agriculture

Maine Agriculture: Views from the Past

Photos from the Eastern Illustrating & Publishing Co. Collection Captions by Maine Historian William H. Bunting Exhibit Produced by the Penobscot Marine Museum
Opening Reception on Friday, January 28, 2011 from 5-7pm The show will be on display until March 21st. The MFT Gallery is open Monday through Friday 8am to 4pm.

Maine Farmland Trust Gallery Hosts Exhibit of Long-Ago Farm Life

A new exhibit in Belfast will explore a bygone age of Maine’s agriculture in photography dating from 75 to 100 years ago. “Maine Agriculture: Views From the Past” will be on display in the Maine Farmland Trust Gallery, 97 Main St., Belfast, from January 26 through March 21. An opening reception will be held Friday, January 28, 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.  The exhibit and reception are free to the public.   Included in the show are images of potato and dairy farming, the poultry industry, corn husking, canning operations, farm houses, fields, farm animals and farm people. Renowned Maine historian William H. Bunting conducted research for the exhibit and wrote the captions. The black-and-white images, shot originally on glass-plate negatives, are part of the Eastern Illustrating & Publishing Company collection owned by Penobscot Marine Museum. The show is funded by a grant from the NLT Foundation.   “A century ago, agriculture was a highly visible component of the Maine landscape and a central element of its culture and economy,” says historian Bunting. “Today it is nearly invisible in some parts of the state and its impact, while still significant, is recognized by few. This exhibit reminds us of the underpinning role that agriculture can play in a still-rural state like Maine.”   Maine Farmland Trust is a statewide non-profit organization working to permanently preserve and protect Maine’s agricultural lands, and to keep Maine’s farms farming. Maine Farmland Trust created its gallery to celebrate art in agriculture, and to inspire and inform visitors regarding the vibrancy of farming in Maine.

For more information visit www.mainefarmlandtrust.org.   Located on US Rte. 1 in Searsport, ME, between Camden, Bangor, and Mt. Desert Island, Penobscot Marine Museum is Maine’s oldest maritime museum and home to outstanding collections of marine art and artifacts, small craft, ship models and historic photography. Its campus – including four ship captains’ homes, two boat houses, a town hall, a carriage house and other buildings – recreates a bustling coastal village during the Age of Sail. Exhibits are currently closed for the season, but special activities and presentations are scheduled year-round.

For information about the Eastern Illustrating photo collection, or for information about the museum, visit www.PenobscotMarineMuseum.org or call 207-548-2529.



a visual poem about the keepers of our  land
June 4 – July 13

A group show featuring paintings, sculptures, photographs, collagraph prints and multimedia books

Seven Maine artists from Portland to Eastport are participating in this show, as well as 13 students and their art teacher from the Mount View Elementary school in Thorndike.

 The dictionary defines “guardian” as a keeper – a person who guards, protects or preserves.

“Guardians aims to create a visual statement about the real and imagined keepers  of our land,” says Anna Abaldo, Gallery Coordinator for Maine Farmland Trust.  “It’s been very exciting reigning in the different artists for this show, and  picking the particular artworks to create a poetic suggestion about “guardians”  of the land – the art in this exhibit represents both mythical, archetypal  figures from folklore and our collective imagination, and every day farmers as  being those incarnated “guardians” in this lifetime. Guardians is really an  attempt to honor our farmers, the immensely important work they do which often  goes unseen or gets taken for granted, and the intimate way they are connected  to their land and the animals they care for.”

To achieve the desired effect of a visual and poetic narrative, Abaldo has placed vastly different pieces of artwork in a small space, each commenting on the central theme from a particular angle. Visitors will “meet” the late Scott Nearing up close, as photographed by Lynn Karlin, and can then turn to contemplate the richly symbolic paintings of artists Judith Olson and Christina DeHoff. Everyday moments on the farm are captured aesthetically by photographers Georges Nashan and Dina Petrillo, as they frame the daily rituals of those who tend to the crops and creatures. Elizabeth Fraser, a daily painter from the Portland area, has taken her easel and paints to farms and farmers’ markets; her small canvases filled with confident brush strokes leap off the wall with vibrant portraits of farmers at work. Elizabeth Ostrander’s sculptures, on the other hand, speak of a world of myth and dreamtime, where the connection between human and nature is palpable, if not indisputable – almost as if the people themselves were the very fruit sprung from the vines.


Learning to be guardians are the students from Mount View Elementary. Under the wing of their art teacher Kelly Desrosiers, the students researched the interplay of sun, soil, water, air, plants and animals and created multimedia Earthbooks reflecting what they learned. Thirteen of these books will be on display as part of the exhibit at Maine Farmland Trust Gallery, as well as a digital video documenting this inspiring interdisciplinary project. Desrosiers firmly believes in teaching the joyful process of creation as a way of observing and understanding the magnificent natural world. She sees an analogy between the generative process of art and that of nature itself. She comments: “We are growing a new crop of stewards in our children, who will create our future, hopefully with deep appreciation for nature and their own role as co-creators.”


Maine Farmland Trust Gallery Exhibit
October 21st – November 30  


small works holiday show

Inch by Inch, Row by Row 2013 Small Works Holiday Show

Please join us for our next gallery show:


Inch by Inch, Row by Row
2013 Small Works Holiday Show

with paintings, pastels, photography, jewelry, scarves & more by:

Opening Reception Friday November 15, 5:30-8pm, to
accommodate early holiday shopping;

Festive Belfast Art Walk “Christmas Art Spectacle” Friday December 6, 5:30-8pm.
The show will be on display from November 15 – January 7, 2014

The Faces of Farms: Guard Donkeys

Throughout 2015, photographer Catherine Frost will be traveling to Maine farms all across the state, visiting those with their own special livestock. From alpaca to water buffalo to turkeys and rare breeds of horses, each month will feature new faces. The best will be featured in a show at the Maine Farmland Trust Gallery in January and February of 2016.

Animal instincts drill to the core of natural history. One of the strongest, and essential in the preservation of life, is protection. Protection of ourselves, protection of our brood, and protection of our tribe.

On a bitterly cold day last winter, I was shooting at North Star Sheep Farm where their donkeys serve as guards to their 1,000+ head of Hampshire and Suffolk sheep. Unknown to me at the time was that one of the jennies was about 9 months pregnant. While her jack kept a close eye on me, she stayed safe in the background.

In the spring, Brooks arrived. The jen stayed close – after all, she carried him, just one foal to carry on the family name, for twelve months.

I was also there when the family was relocated to guard a different flock at the farm’s homestead field. There were already several donkeys tending these sheep and it was established as “their” tribe. Any new animal, regardless of age or adorableness, was suspect – even if it was one of their own kind.

Some of the donkeys were curious, some agitated, some excited to see a fresh face. Brooks navigated the situation the best he knew how – dodging the aggression, moving toward those who were welcoming, intuiting his way through this new crowd. It was quite like watching a new pup enter a dog park, or a new employee taking their cube for the first time. Equal parts submitting to the establishment matched with standing his own ground.

In the end, all accepted Brooks – the newest member who will be trained by his elders how to protect himself, the flock and the tribe.

It isn’t always this easy, either with animals or humans. Imagine the world if we could just crack the nut that reveals acceptance and realize when we do, it only makes for a more unified tribe.

Visit Catherine’s website to see more Guard Donkey photos.

MFT “Stable Show” Showcases 18 Artists

BELFAST — Since its 2013 expansion, the downtown Maine Farmland Trust Gallery has used the term Stable Artists to refer to a growing group of artists who collaborate with the trust year-round in support of its mission of supporting farmers and protecting farmland. This year’s “Summer Stable Show” will open with a Fourth Friday Art Walk reception Aug. 28 from 5:30 to 8 p.m.

The “Summer Stable Show” will run through Sept. 25 and boasts a wide variety of media, from oil paintings to pastels; and photography to mixed media collage, even jewelry. More than a dozen established stable artists will be participating in this year’s show including Leslie Anderson, Laurie Lofman Bellmore, Leslie Harris, Terry Hire, Dahlov Ipcar, Margaret LaFarge, Christopher O’Connor, Abbie Read, Robin Rier, Margaret Rizzio, Charlotte Sawtelle, Jude Valentine and Sarah Wilde.

In addition, the “Stable Show” includes a few guest artists: Judy Belasco, courtesy of Courthouse Gallery Fine Art in Ellsworth; and Jo M. Orise and Daniel Paulding, two emerging artists showing at MFT for the first time. Finally, there will be artwork by two other stable artists, donated to the MFT in full: one piece by Lou Schellenberg (a donation by the artist herself); and several pieces by Sheep Jones (a donation by a generous patron).

Two painters will be highlighted in the 2015 “Summer Stable Show.” Oil painter Robin Rier lives on the coast in Jonesport. She has studied with several renowned plein air painters such as Sharon Yates, Colin Page and Robert Beck; and her work has been featured at juried outdoor shows as well as galleries throughout the state of Maine. Working on location “is an invigorating and spiritual experience for me,” she said.

Leslie Anderson, who divides her time between the city of Portland and the more rural Sedgewick, will show a body of work inspired by her husband’s flower farm. Whether outdoors or in her studio, Anderson’s artistic concerns are the same: juxtaposing light and dark; and layering sumptuous color.

The opening reception also will include book signings by two authors who have recently published books about farming in Maine. “Get Back, Stay Back: 2nd Generation Back-to-the-Landers” by Joseph Conway captures the vibrancy of the children of the back to the land movement who, like their parents, have chosen to put down roots as farmers and homesteaders in rural Maine. Peter Felsenthal’s “New Growth” celebrates Maine’s small, organic farms with in-depth profiles and lush photographs of six Midcoast farms. Both authors will be on hand to sell and sign their books.

Maine Farmland Trust Gallery, located at 97 Main St., is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., staying open to 8 p.m. for Fourth Friday Art Walks through September. For more information, visit 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 art in agriculture; and to inspire and inform the public about farming in Maine. For more information on MFT, visit mainefarmlandtrust.org.

The Faces of Farms: Nubian Goats of Tide Mill Creamery

Throughout 2015, photographer Catherine Frost will be traveling to Maine farms all across the state, visiting those with their own special livestock. From alpaca to water buffalo to turkeys and rare breeds of horses, each month will feature new faces. The best will be featured in a show at the Maine Farmland Trust Gallery in January and February of 2016.

Nubian Goats of Tide Mill Creamery

Goats. They’re a challenge to photograph, for sure. But I love the reason why. They exist where fearless meets curious.

The protective cover of the herd like a comforting blanket settling on a bed. It allows an open heart to bravely taste whatever is in front of them (a sweat-salty t-shirt or chewy red wellies coated with poo, they don’t seem to care as long as they can get a piece of it) or follow a complete stranger’s lead. In the safety of many, they are free to be one.

I had a hard time getting a wide-angle shot because each time I tried to move from the herd, by the time I was turned around and on the ground, there they were – all oblong ears and silly goat grins. “Watcha’ doin’?” they asked, eyes wide and unblinking. “Sitting in dung,” I say.

I wonder, as the mirror of the lens shows them their cock-headed reflection, if they have feeling in their heart or a thought in their head. I’m going to say “yes.” And I am going to assume they are as happy and carefree as they appear, eating sapling leaves, giving the occasional buck to a brother, feeling fresh after a good milking and just hanging comfortably with the herd. At peace.

See more photos at Folio Marketing & Creative.

The Faces of Farms: Alpaca in the Raw

The Faces of Farms

Throughout 2015, photographer Catherine Frost will be traveling to Maine farms all across the state, visiting those with their own special livestock. From alpaca to water buffalo to turkeys and rare breeds of horses, each month will feature new faces. The best will be featured in a show at the Maine Farmland Trust Gallery in January and February of 2016.

Alpaca in the Raw at Black Woods Farm in Cherryfield

Despite their relatively calm nature, alpaca don’t really like to be touched. So sinking your hand into the back of one and rolling your fingers around in the raw fiber is something special.

The process of getting it from the animal’s body to the body of a person in the form of a sweater on their back, a hat on their head or slippers on their feet is not easy. The shearing, the dying, the spinning, the knitting – it’s an age-old art form and just another example of how farm animals serve us.

We literally take the fiber from their back and put it onto our own – leaving them to look downright weird. These living Q-tips with jutting lower teeth, all ill-proportioned and lanky, have seemingly walked off the pages of a Dr. Seuss book. But just look at those eyes. Doubled-down deep brown marbles, juicy and glistening with curiosity.

And the coat. Some wear dark chocolate locks. Some butterscotch curly cues. Some plain vanilla, but shaken up with soft shaggy shards. Each is so filled with their own earthy flavor, the fiber needn’t be dyed. It’s perfect, as is.

See Catherine’s full post HERE.

In the MFT Gallery: 25 Artists, 100 Small Works

BELFAST — Maine Farmland Trust Gallery’s annual “Small Works” holiday show will feature many new artists from all over the state this year. The show will be on display Friday, Nov. 20, through Jan. 4. The public is invited to attend the Holiday Art Walk gallery reception Friday, Dec. 4, from 5:30 to 8 p.m.

“Small Works” is a cheerful collection of landscapes, figurative work and more abstracted imagery related to Maine’s rural culture. It ranges from Kathleen Perelka’s vibrant pastel landscapes to Kathryn Shagas’ dynamic horse drawings; and from Terry Hire’s elegant close-up plant photography to Axel Stohlberg’s simple and bold found object sculptures.

Viewers can expect to see new work by Katherine Churchill, Julie Crane, Julie Cyr, Lisa Dellwo, Maureen Egan, Lindsay Hancock, Terry Hire, Elizabeth Hope, Sheep Jones, Margaret LaFarge, James Macdonald, Leslie Moore, Petrea Noyes, DiTa Ondek, Elizabeth Ostrander, Daniel Paulding, Kathy Perelka, Robin Rier, Charlotte Sawtelle, Kathryn Shagas, Meg Shields, Erin Smith, Axel Stohlberg, Mary Louise Town Jaqua, Jude Valentine and others.

Maine Farmland Trust Gallery, 97 Main St., Belfast, is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., as well as into the evening for the Holiday Art Walk. For more information, visit mainefarmlandtrustgallery.org.

Image: Kathy Perelka

Faces of Farms: Animal Portraits at Maine Farmland Trust Gallery

Belfast. During the months of January, February and March, MFT Gallery will be exhibiting two different collections of farm animal portraiture.

On the ground floor, visitors can enjoy a whimsical collage of photo prints, submitted by Maine Farmland Trust’s members and followers: personal snapshots of favorite farm animals by farmers and farm lovers all around the state.

On the second floor, MFT Gallery will be showing Catherine Frost’s “Faces of Farms,” a collection of professional portraits of farm animals.

Throughout 2015, Catherine traveled to Maine farms all across the state, visiting those with unique livestock. From Cherryfield to Freeport and Nubian goats to Norwegian Fjords, each photo session featured unique faces of farms, seen through a lens of deep appreciation and respect for the animals. Frost produced a monthly photoblog which was shared through Maine Farmland Trust’s social media throughout 2015. Selected favorites are featured in this exhibit.

Frost is an avid animal, outdoor and photography lover. Her vocation is to provide creative and marketing services to small, socially responsible companies that are lead by passionate entrepreneurs. She has worked with several Maine farmers including North Star Sheep Farm (Windham), Balfour Farm (Pittsfield), Aurora Mills and Farm (Linneus) and Norumbega Farm (New Gloucester).

Her home is in Freeport, where she lives with her dog, Daisy.

Faces of Farms will run from Friday January 8 through Friday March 25 with an artist reception (open to the public) on Friday March 11 from 5:30-7:30pm. To See Catherine’s photo blog, visit: http://www.folio-marketing.com/faces-of-farms/

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

Pictured: Belted Galloways at Mitchell Ledge Farm