Tag Archives: Art in Agriculture

HOMELAND: A multimedia exhibit exploring our collective and diverse relationship to home/land

HOMELAND

Through an open call, MFT Gallery invited farmers, artists, artisans and writers living in Maine, from diverse social-economic, ethnic and cultural backgrounds, to create art, craft or poetry which reflects on their unique relationship to home/land.

MFT Gallery asked that the works submitted “speak to a deep relationship which comes from cultivating the land, or a longing for connection with the land.” Art and poetry selected for the final exhibition includes work by farmers/artists which expresses the relationship with the land they cultivate; work by farmers/artists who have been separated from home/land in some way and are cultivating a new relationship to the land they are on; and work by those who are longing for a renewed relationship to home/land.

The second floor of the gallery will be hosting a documentary photo exhibit by Ann Pollard-Ranco, titled “Cultivating Mother Corn”.  Mother Corn documents the recent recovery of women-led traditional indigenous agriculture along the Sandy River in Starks, Maine, where Abenaki and other Wabanaki people sustainably grew food for thousands of years.

MFT will host the exhibit at its Gallery in Belfast from November 12, 2018 through March 1, 2019. This exhibit is promoted and curated in collaboration with GEDAKINA. Gedakina’s mission is to strengthen and revitalize the cultural knowledge and identity of Native American youth and families from across New England, and to conserve traditional homelands and places of historical, ecological and spiritual significance.

In addition, Kathy Pollard and Ann Pollard-Ranco from GEDAKINA will be speaking at the Belfast Free Library on Tuesday November 6th at 6:30pm, to share their story of the recent recovery of women-led traditional indigenous agriculture along the Sandy River in Starks, Maine. All events are open to the public.

September Open Studio Day at Joseph A. Fiore Art Center at Rolling Acres Farm

Artists in summer residence at Fiore Art Center share their work with the public. Studios open for viewing and visiting with the artists. Fiore Art Center and exhibit open for viewing, grounds open for walking. Live music and free ice cream.

Featured Artists:

Clif Travers: Travers grew up in the mountains near Sugarloaf. One of his current bodies of work, The Medicine Cabinets, grew from three years of interviews with people around the country. Travers asked each person: “What would you consider to be a social malady that could be easily cured by regular folk?” The resulting “cabinets” are all connected to nature and show the malady, as well as the imagined cure.

Carol Douglas: Douglas grew up on a farm and describes herself as a plein-air landscape painter whose primary interest lies in the relationship between humans and their environment.

Heather Lyon: Lyon was born on a farm in Maine. Her art practice is site responsive and she plans to create new performance work at the Fiore Art Center, “responding to this unique place where the connections between art and farming can be explored and lived.”

Rachel Alexandrou: Rachel is from Alna. Her organic gardening experience spans a decade, and she is currently completing her bachelor’s degree in sustainable horticulture at UMaine, Orono, with a minor in studio art.

Back field and Fiore House

August Joseph A. Fiore Art Center at Rolling Acres Open Studio Day

Artists, writer and gardener in summer residence at Fiore Art Center share their work with the public. Studios open for viewing and visiting with the artists. Fiore Art Center and exhibit open for viewing, grounds open for walking. Live music and free ice cream.

July Open Studio Day at the Fiore Art Center

Every summer the Joseph A. Fiore Art Center hosts artists-in-residence for the months of July, August and September. At the end of each month, the artists open up their studios to the public. On July 29th, the first Open Studio Day of the summer took place. It was an absolutely gorgeous day in Jefferson and more than 75 people attended.

Thu Vu, the international resident from Vietnam, had a studio full of ink drawings on rice paper for installation commissions in Vietnam. She also shared some of the food-related paper sculptures she had been working on throughout the month, inspired by her time in the kitchen with fellow residents and all the fresh veggies grown by the resident gardener.

Maxwell Nolin, shared some of his portraits and sketches with guests and discussed his previous life as a farmer in midcoast Maine. One portrait which continuously piqued the attention of visitors was that of farmer, friend and mentor Polly Shyka (Villageside Farm, Freedom). During his residency, Nolin worked on a large portrait of his grandfather, as well as a self portrait.

Jodi Paloni, who spent the residency completing her first novel, held several readings in the living room throughout the afternoon. During one reading, Paloni shared how some characters were influenced by the people and experiences at the Fiore Art Center, and read some excerpts from her novel; for the second reading, she read one of her lyric essays –a process of weekly reflection –  which can be read here.

Resident gardener Rachel Alexandrou led three garden tours with  light question and answer sessions about the interesting vegetable varieties she has been growing for the residents, including crimson clover, a unique and stunning cover crop, and dark purple tomatoes (Brad’s Atomic Grape Tomato from Baker Creek Seeds).

The next Open Studio Day will be held on Sunday, August 26th from noon-3pm. Later that day, the Art Center will also be hosting MFT’s third annual Agrarian Acts, a celebration of art through music. This year’s lineup features Syblline, Sugarbush, and Sara Trunzo. The Open Studio Day is free; buy your tickets for Agrarian Acts HERE.

Thu Vu

Max Nolin

Jodi Paloni

Rachel Alexandrou

Front of Fiore Center house

July Joseph A. Fiore Art Center at Rolling Acres Farm Open Studio Day

Artists, writer and gardener in summer residence at Fiore Art Center share their work with the public. Studios open for viewing and visiting with the artists. Fiore Art Center and exhibit open for viewing, grounds open for walking. Live music and free ice cream.

Wild and Scenic

Wild & Scenic Film festival in Ellsworth

Join us for the first Wild and Scenic Film Festival in Downeast Maine! The Wild & Scenic Film Festival is the largest film festival of its kind. It will leave you feeling inspired and motivated to make a difference in your community and the world.

There will be food and drinks, a raffle, and information from participating hosts at 7pm; we’ll start showing the films just after sunset around 8pm.

 

Co-hosted by Downeast Salmon Federation, Downeast Institute, Downeast Audubon, Schoodic Institute, Frenchman Bay Conservancy, Great Pond Mountain Conservation Trust, Blue Hill Heritage Trust, Maine Coast Heritage Trust, and MFT.

Sponsored in part by: Downeast Fisheries Partnership, Downeast Conservation Network, and Hawkes & Quirk, LLC. Additional national sponsorship provided by: Peak Design, EarthJustice, Barefoot Wine and Bubbly, Klean Kanteen, CLIF Bar, and Sierra Nevada Brewing Company.

This is a FREE community event! Learn more about the films at https://www.wildandscenicfilmfestival.org/.

Popular “Summer Stable Show” at MFT Gallery

MFT’s Gallery’s annual Summer Stable Show is a favorite with returning art-lovers and summer visitors alike. This is the gallery’s largest, most vibrant group show that showcases twenty-two Maine artists this year, whose work connects to agriculture, nature or environment. This year includes first time exhibitors Sara Gagan and Susan Sidwell.

The first floor features a large, dynamic, abstract mixed-media piece from a series on rhythms in nature, by Belfast’s Kathryn Shagas; beautiful bright photographs of local landscapes printed on aluminum by Sarah Szwajkos; and a colorful collection of small paintings entitled “Artifacts” by Portland’s Christopher O’Connor. Contemplative figurative works by sculptor Elizabeth Ostrander create a synergy with the beautiful large goddess image, “Oracle,” an intricate scherenschnitt paper cut created by MJ Viano Crowe. The evocative paintings of Sheep Jones, another Belfast artist, contribute strong color, content, and design in her series of “Bulb Narrative” and “Fish Walker.” Sara Gagan’s images of animals are a delightful and inventive use of oils and collage elements. John Arden Knight’s large acrylic paintings of water lilies and milkweed are bold and vibrant, while Leslie Harris and Leslie Anderson present wonderful atmospheric paintings of landscapes and figures. Jude Valentine’s series of small brilliant pastels depict the many views and moods from Great Cranberry Island to Acadia. Paintings by Leslie Bowman, Julie Cyr, and Sharon Yates round out this collection with varied natural subject matter, such as a charming chick, engaging peas in a pod, and rich tulip still lifes.

The second floor displays the photographs of Terry Hire, Lynn Karlin, and Jim Nyce, all with very different subject matter, mood, and use of color.  Lou Schellenberg impresses with oil paintings of strong, imposing landscapes and sky with vigorous compositions. DiTa Ondek’s paintings of laundry fluttering on a clothesline in the wind create a colorful sense of energetic movement, while Kathleen Perelka’s lovely use of light and color accentuate a cultivated farm landscape. Robin Rier’s oil paintings incorporate vivid colors in tranquil scenes of flowers, peeling paint and old fence posts. The bug and rosehip mandala paper cut prints of Susan Sidwell draw you in for a closer look with their intricate design work.

The Summer Stable Show 2018 runs from June 4th through August 31st, with artist talks Friday July 27th at 5pm, followed by a reception and the town-wide Belfast Art Walk from 5:30-8pm.

Image above:

A Perfect Day, Leslie Harris, oil on linen panel, 20 x 16 in.

Let's grow a bright future for farming in Maine, together.

Nature Observed: The Landscapes of Joseph A. Fiore

A selection of work by Joseph A. Fiore (1925-2008) from the most recent gift to Maine Farmland Trust, including pastel drawings, watercolors and oil paintings.

Exhibit runs Monday June 2- September 29
The Fiore Art Center is open for visitors Saturday 12-4pm, June through September.

Art Talk & Reception: Saturday June 30, 3-5pm at the Fiore Art Center

‘Growing Local’ screening on Earth Day in Bethel

Come celebrate Earth Day at the Gem Theater! There will be a Potluck at 3:30pm, followed by showings at 4:30pm of farm-friendly films including:

  • ‘Growing Local’: While “buying local” is on the rise, the stories in Growing Local make clear that small farms and access to locally produced food is not a sure thing. These three poignant stories help us understand the interconnected fates of Maine’s small farms, consumers and the local food movement. Growing Local was directed and produced by Bridget Besaw of Seedlight Pictures.
  • ‘Farms of Western Maine: Moon Dance Farm’, which was created by junior high students at The Eddy School.
  • Alan Day Community Garden will show a short film about their Youth Leadership Program.
  • Center For an Ecology Based Economy (CEBE) in Norway will show a short film about their food festival.

After these films, we will have Q&A with representatives of all of those organizations, including MFT’s Chris Franklin.

 

MFT Announces 2018 Joseph A. Fiore Art Center Residency Awards

Early this April, a jury panel consisting of Stuart Kestenbaum, Susan Larsen and Ariel Hall awarded eight recipients with a 4-6 week residency at MFT’s Fiore Art Center at Rolling Acres Farm in Jefferson.

In its third year, the Center received 66 applications for its summer arts residency program. The categories included visual arts, literary arts and performing arts. This year one residency placement was reserved for an indigenous artist and one for an international or out-of-state artist.

About the Artists in Residency

Thu Vu, from Vietnam, was awarded the international visual arts residency. Vu first came to Maine from Hanoi Fine Arts College in 1998 as an exchange student; she attended Maine College of Art in Portland. Vu creates light sculptures made out of paper and natural materials. Her work has been exhibited throughout Asia, Europe and the USA.

Light Sculpture by Thu Kim Vu

The remaining five visual arts residencies were awarded to:

Carol Douglas: Douglas grew up on a farm and describes herself as a plein-air landscape painter whose primary interest lies in the relationship between humans and their environment.

“Finger Lakes Vineyard” by Carol Douglas

Clif Travers grew up in the mountains near Sugarloaf. One of his current bodies of work, The Medicine Cabinets, grew from three years of interviews with people around the country. Travers asked each person: “What would you consider to be a social malady that could be easily cured by regular folk?” The resulting “cabinets” are all connected to nature and show the malady, as well as the imagined cure.

Medicine Cabinet by Clif Travers

Michel Droge: Droge is an abstract painter—her work reflects a poetic connection to the land, climate change research and the philosophy of the sublime.

“Breathing Lessons” by Michel Droge

Estefani Mercedes: Mercedes is an activist artist with deep connections to Maine. She is interested in local Brooksville archives that connect to the Argentine dictatorship. Through radical justice, film photography and copyright law, she hopes to restore missing violent histories and silenced voices by building publicly accessible archives.

Untitled by Estefani Mercedes

Maxwell Nolin: Nolin is a young emerging portrait painter who most recently made a living as an organic vegetable farmer. His portraits often feature fellow farmers; however, he writes, “I have yet to fully immerse my subjects in the natural landscape. This seems to be where my interest lies and where my work is heading.”

“Toot and Roger Raw” by Maxwell Nolin

Literary Arts and Performing Arts Residents

The Fiore Art Center’s literary arts residency was awarded to Maine writer, Jodi Paloni. Paloni is currently working on her second book, a novel-in-stories, which takes place in the sixties and seventies on a farm similar to the Center’s Rolling Acres Farm, and tracks three Maine women from their girlhood to contemporary midlife.

Jodi Paloni

The performing arts residency was allocated to Heather Lyon. Lyon was born on a farm in Maine. Her art practice is site responsive and she plans to create new performance work at the Fiore Art Center, “responding to this unique place where the connections between art and farming can be explored and lived.”

View “MILK” by Heather Lyon here.

Heather Lyon

Resident Gardiner: Rachel Alexandrou

Each year, the Center hires a seasonal resident gardener, who lives on the farm for five months and grows food for the residents. “We’ve been lucky to find gardeners who also have their own creative practice, and enjoy being immersed in our residency program setting,” says Anna Witholt Abaldo, co-director of the Fiore Art Center. This year’s gardener will be Rachel Alexandrou, from Alna. Her organic gardening experience spans a decade, and she is currently completing her bachelor’s degree in sustainable horticulture at UMaine, Orono, with a minor in studio art.

“Kale in Decay” by Rachel Alexandrou

Those interested can find more information on application details, summer visitor hours and open studio dates here.

About the Joseph A. Fiore Art Center at Rolling Acres Farm

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. The Center offers exhibitions and public educational events, 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 MFT. The late Joseph Fiore was an artist and active environmentalist who, with his wife Mary, generously supported MFT for many years.

Let's grow a bright future for farming in Maine, together.