singing to garlic: MAINE’S FARMER MUSICIANS BY CARRIE BRAMAN PHOTOGRAPHS BY MOLLY HALEY
“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.