Tag Archives: Farm Art

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.

8 holiday gift ideas for the Maine farm lover

What do you get for the people on your list who love Maine farms and food? We’ve added to our list from last year to give you a few ideas to fill your holiday season with local goodness.

  • A CSA share: the gift that keeps on giving all season long. Click here for a list of CSAs near you.
  • A canner, or other kitchen gadget that will help preserve food—so your loved one can enjoy Maine’s bounty year round. Here’s an overview of the products out there.
  • Something to snuggle away the cold winter nights: A Real Maine blanket or maybe a cozy sheepskin or wool from your local fiber farmer.
  • Find farm-centric art, hats, t-shirts, children’s books, and holiday cards made by local artists in our gallery (97 Main Street in Belfast), or in our online store.
  • Banked time: Because sometimes gardening, food prep, or putting up a greenhouse requires more than two hands. Write out a gift certificate to wrap up, and throw in a sprig of thyme for fun.
  • Give good food! A jar of really good farm-made eggnog, a gift certificate to spend at the local butcher shop, a tin of Maine-grown herbal tea… in our experience, food gifts are always appreciated.
  • Looking for something to ship? Many of Maine’s food and farm products last a long time, including jam, maple syrup, beeswax candles, and even seaweed (the last two are even carry-on friendly!).
  • Finally, MFT (and other farm-focused organizations) offer gift memberships.  Give someone the knowledge that they have a hand in growing the future of farming. We’ll send them a copy of our beautiful Maine Farms journal, too!

Most importantly, take time to enjoy this time with family and friends, and make lots of delicious (and local) food during the holidays. Be sure to stock up on all manner of veggies, dairy, meats, etc at your local winter farmers market or local grocer, and give thanks for local bounty, even in the midst of Maine winter!

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

Jefferson.

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 https://www.mainefarmlandtrust.org//jaf-art-center/.

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: https://www.mainefarmlandtrust.org/latest-news/

 

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.

In the Interval Between Snowflakes on view at MFT Gallery

Belfast. In a state like Maine, sometimes the greatest fruits of our labor grow through friendship.

The multi-media exhibit “In the INTERVAL between snowflakes,” on view at Maine Farmland Trust Gallery from November 20 through January 5, is a case in point.

The exhibition (part photography, part sculpture, part poetry) is a result of over 25 years of friendship between artist Bruce McAffee Towl and farmers Barbara and Jason Kafka, of Checkerberry Farm in Parkman, Maine.

“It all started twenty-five years ago,” McAffee Towl recounts, “because Jason held out his hand and in his palm were the seeds for an entire crop of onions, and we said ‘Let’s make a book for the Common Ground Fair!’ That’s what got us started.”

“It was all drawings at first,” McAffee Towl continues. “It was the friendship that allowed the farmers and their crew to feel comfortable, to have someone right there with pencil and paper to record their triumphs and less-than-triumphs.” His nickname soon became The Spector.

Fast forward two and a half decades: McAffee Towl presented the harvest of 25 years of drawings, photography, sculpture and poetry to his community, in the barn adjacent to his home in Dover-Foxcroft, in October of 2016.

“It was an emotionally moving experience,” writes John Harker, now retired but previously Director of Market and Production Development for the Maine Department of Agriculture for 26 years. He and many others felt that this exhibit must be shared around the State, as a way to raise awareness of the work that goes into growing food and simultaneously, as a way to celebrate Maine’s family farms.

Maine Farmland Trust Gallery was a logical first choice. “It was Barbara Kafka from Checkerberry Farm who approached us about Bruce’s exhibit,” says Anna Witholt Abaldo, gallery curator at Maine Farmland Trust. “When I went to see Bruce’s exhibit in early 2017, she was there, and it became immediately apparent that this production was truly a team effort, and important to many.”

The Maine Arts Commission awarded INTERVAL partial funding to be adapted for display at other venues. Betsy Miller Minott, a former farm crew member at Checkerberry, has since been instrumental in converting the exhibit for display at MFT Gallery.

As curator of MFT Gallery, Witholt Abaldo has seen a plethora of artworks and exhibits that speak to farm life. “INTERVAL is unique,” she notes, “because of the decades of heartfelt observation that pour out through the poetry, the photographs, even the hand-hewn bench made from a fallen tree which serves as a seat to view the digital slide show. It is truly a labor of love.”

In McAffee Towl’s own words, the exhibit “celebrates the I N T E R V A L between snowflakes: raising organic fruits and vegetables on a rural Maine farm in the state’s short growing season, and aims to honor all those who ‘bend’ to raise food for many of us.”

The exhibit will be on display from November 20, 2017 through January 5, 2018, and opens with a festive, public reception on Saturday December 2, during the Belfast Holiday Art Walk. The reception will be preceded by Artist/Farmer Talks at 5pm; the reception runs from 5:30-8pm.

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.

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.

September Open Studio Day at Rolling Acres Farm

Join Maine Farmland Trust on Saturday, September 30th  from 11am-3pm, at our Joseph A. Fiore Art Center at Rolling Acres Farm for a family-friendly Open Studio Day. Come meet and view the work of September’s artists Anne Alexander, a sculptor from Windham who creates nature-based work (MFA in Sculpture from Alfred University, NY, 1989) and Jude Valentine, a printmaker and pastel artist hailing from East Machias, (MFA in Visual Art  with a concentration in multi-disciplinary media, Vermont College of Fine Art, Montpelier, VT.)   There will be live music on the lawn, and free coffee, tea and ice cream. Located right on Damariscotta Lake the public is invited to bring a picnic and enjoy the Center’s grounds for the day.

CSA II (Community Supporting Arts)

Maine Farmland Trust Gallery, in partnership with the Harlow Gallery/Kennebec Valley Art Association, presents CSA II – one of three exhibitions of work by 13 Maine artists who have been partnered with CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farms throughout the 2017 growing season.

Meet the artists and farmers at the opening reception on Friday, September 22, from 5-8pm with a gallery talk at 5pm. Maine Farmland Trust is located at 97 Main Street in Belfast; the exhibition is on view from September 22 through November 10, 2017. For more information about Maine Farmland Trust Gallery please visit www.mainefarmlandtrust.org/public-outreach-new/gallery/

Participating artists and farms are: Ingrid Ellison of Camden (paired with Hope’s Edge Farm), Helene Farrar of Manchester (paired with Farmer Kev’s), Dylan Gifford of Kents Hill (paired with Wholesome Holmstead), Karen Merritt of Portland (paired with Crystal Spring Farm), Anna O’Sullivan of Portland (paired with The FarmME), Tim Ouillette of Portland (paired with Hancock Family Farm), Tyson Pease of Gardiner (paired with Tender Soles Farm), Alyssa Phanitdasack of Portland (paired with Sheepscot General Farm and Store), Jessica Rhoades of Thomaston (paired with Whatley Farm), Susan Bartlett Rice of Walpole (paired with Tarbox Farm), Nicholas Runco of Oakland (paired with KVCC CSA), Kris Sader of Orono (paired with Ripley Farm), and Rebecca May Verrill of Portland (paired with Frith Farm).

During CSA II (Community Supporting Arts), participating artists have been visiting their partner farms regularly since January 2017, at the very start of this year’s growing season, creating art inspired by their farmers’ lives, work, and landscape. The resulting body of artwork will be exhibited at three venues in the fall of 2017: at the Maine Farmland Trust Gallery in Belfast September 22 – November 10; at the Harlow Gallery in Hallowell October 27 – December 2; and at Engine in Biddeford November 10 – December 16.

In 2012 Harlow Gallery organized the first Community Supporting Arts (CSA) project to connect Maine’s artist and farming communities, two vibrant and idealistic groups that are key to our state’s unique sense of place. The first CSA project was a huge success and the Harlow Gallery staff and volunteers are thrilled to bring it back for 2017.

All the participating farms are Community Supported Agriculture (CSA farms). A CSA farm sells shares at the beginning of the growing season and then provides fresh, seasonal food on a regular basis to each shareholding household throughout the growing season. CSA II will use the power of art to promote the economic and environmental benefits of organic farming and of buying locally grown food. Our food industry is a critical key to a sustainable economy and the health and well-being of Maine citizens in an age of accelerating climate change.

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.

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.

Front of Fiore Center house

August Open Studio Day at Rolling Acres Farm

Join Maine Farmland Trust on Saturday, August 26th from 11am-3pm, at our Joseph A. Fiore Art Center at Rolling Acres Farm for a family-friendly Open Studio Day. Come meet and view the work of August’s artists-in-residence: Elizabeth Hoy, an abstract painter living in Brooklyn , NY (MFA, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, 2009) and Jessica Klier, from Northampton, MA, who fashions elaborate installations from recycled waste (BA in Expressive Arts and Community Engagement with a Minor in Studio Arts from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA.) There will be live music on the lawn by father and daughter Phil Clement (guitar) and Sophia Buckley-Clement (voice), and free coffee, tea and ice cream. The Gallery at Rolling Acres will be open, currently showing a group exhibit with sixteen painters: Conversations, Studio and Table.

Located right on Damariscotta Lake at 152 Punk Point Road in Jefferson, the Fiore Art Center is a perfect place for a fun family outing – the public is invited to bring a picnic and enjoy the Center’s grounds for the day.

 

Front of Fiore Center house

July Open Studio Day at Rolling Acres Farm

Join Maine Farmland Trust on Saturday, July 29  from 11am-3pm, at our Joseph A. Fiore Art Center at Rolling Acres Farm for a family-friendly Open Studio Day. Come meet and view the work of July’s artists Tanja Kunz, an oil painter living in Bath (MFA, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC) and Josselyn Richards Daniels, a young illustrator and native Mainer from Yarmouth, currently a student at Laguna College of Art and Design, Laguna Beach, CA. There will be live music on the lawn, and free coffee, tea and ice cream. Located right on Damariscotta Lake the public is invited to bring a picnic and enjoy the Center’s grounds for the day.

Summer Stable Show 2017 Artist Talk and Reception

Summer Stable Show 2017 Land and Sea on display July 3rd-September 15th. Artist Talks Friday July 28th at 5pm followed by reception 5:30-8pm during Belfast Fourth Friday Art Walk.

Read the full press release here.

CONVERSATIONS: STUDIO & TABLE

Works by guest artists at the July-August, 2016 Joseph A. Fiore Art Center Artist Residency Program, Studio & Dinner discussions.

Artists: 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, Patricia Wheeler

THE GALLERY AT ROLLING ACRES
The Joseph A. Fiore Art Center at Rolling Acres Farm,
152 Punk Point Rd, Jefferson, Maine 04348

On view July 8th to September 4th 2017, open to the public on Saturdays 12-4pm.

Public Opening Reception: Saturday July 8th 4 – 6 PM