Farm-grown art in Belfast

Jan 04, 2013
Partner artists Kim Christensen and Jamie Ribisi-Braley were matched with Wholesome Holmstead in Winthrop, primarily a meat/dairy operation, for “CSA: Community Supporting Arts.” Their collaborative mixed media “Cover Crop” integrates photography and fiber arts and is inspired by the wealth of textures the artists discovered on the farm.

Belfast — A farming-inspired art project undertaken by the Harlow Gallery in Hallowell is traveling this winter and has landed at the Maine Farmland Trust Gallery. The original show, “CSA: Community Supporting Arts,” opened to great acclaim last fall. A satellite show featuring work by seven of the original 14 artists will be on display at Maine Farmland Trust Gallery, 97 Main St., through Feb. 27, while the other seven artists will have their work exhibited at the University of Maine’s Hutchinson Center on Route 3.

“CSA: Community Supporting Arts” is a project of the Kennebec Local Foods Initiative and the Kennebec Valley Art Association, which owns and operates the Harlow Gallery in Hallowell. The premise of the project was a simple one: connect 14 Maine artists with 13 central Maine farmers who have Community Supported Agriculture operations. Over the course of the 2012 growing season, the artists and farmers were asked to “get to know each other” — a euphemism when matching the fertile ground of farms with the creative spark of artists. The results are as rich as a Jersey cow’s milk.

The artist/farm pairs in the show at Maine Farmland Trust Gallery are: Kate Barnes of Oakland, partnered with Grassland Organic Farm in Skowhegan; Maina Handmaker, partnered with Milkweed Farm in Brunswick; Kim Christensen and Jamie Ribisi-Braley, partnered with Wholesome Holmstead in Winthrop; Aleana Chaplin of Gardiner, partnered with Winterberry Farm in Belgrade; Tyler Gulden of Walpole, partnered with Morning Dew Farm in Newcastle; and Scott Minzy of Pittston, partnered with Long Meadow Farm in West Gardiner.

Maine’s artist and farming communities are vibrant, idealistic groups, both key to our state’s unique sense of place. CSAs are a grassroots response to the growing social and environmental problems of the modern industrial food system, and this local foods movement is transforming relationships between people, food and farms. Maine’s now boasts more than 160 CSAs involving more than 6,500 families. In joining a CSA, people make a financial commitment to the farm by investing in a share of the produce at the beginning of the growing season. Typically, each CSA member gets a weekly delivery of produce from early summer through the end of harvest.

“CSA: Community Supporting Arts” has been made possible by grant funding from the Maine Community Foundation, the Maine Arts Commission and from the Davis Family Foundation. For the past five years, Maine Farmland Trust Gallery has been using art as a vehicle to educate and impassion the public about farming in Maine. The gallery is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, visit mainefarmlandtrust.org.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115 or dernest@courierpublicationsllc.com.

“Coolidge Effect,” a linocut on Stonehenge paper (edition of 50) by Scott Minzy, is part of the CSA-inspired show at Maine Farmland Trust Gallery.
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