Maine Farmland Trust announces art residencies

May 13, 2017
The late Joseph Fiore was an artist and active environmentalist who, with his wife Mary, generously supported Maine Farmland Trust for many years. This is the second summer the Joseph A. Fiore Art Center at Rolling Acres Farm in Jefferson has resident artists.

Jefferson — After a successful first artist residency program in 2016, the Joseph A. Fiore Art Center announced its expansion from four to six visual artist residencies for the summer of 2017. The Fiore Art Center at Rolling Acres Farm is a program of the Belfast-based Maine Farmland Trust that actively connects the creative worlds of farming and art making.

In addition, the center added a new residency for a writer to research the farm’s history and write its story, a project for which Maine Farmland Trust received a Maine Arts Commission Arts and Humanities Grant. A position for a seasonal resident gardener also was created for 2017, a first step in reviving farming activity at Rolling Acres as MFT works to design and implement a food bank food forest at the Center.

Nellie Sweet of Lincolnville will be the center’s first resident gardener and will cultivate a kitchen garden for the residents and center events.

“We are so fortunate to have found someone who is both an experienced gardener, and a creative person who seeks to connect deeply with the land through her writing and photography,” said Anna Witholt Abaldo, co-director of the Fiore Art Center.

A team of two professional jurors was responsible for the selection of this year’s visual artists: Bevin Engman, professor of art at Colby College; and Friendship’s Sam Cady, a distinguished artist and teacher whose work is currently on exhibit at the Center for Maine Contemporary Art in Rockland.

While the jury noted quite a number of promising submissions among the pool of 20 applicants — some established, others emerging artists — the following six were awarded a residency at the Fiore Art Center.

In July, the artists in residence will be Tanja Kunz, an oil painter from in Bath; and Josselyn Richards Daniels, a young illustrator and native Mainer from Yarmouth who currently is a student at the Laguna College of Art and Design in California.

In August, Rolling Acres Farm will welcome Elizabeth Hoy, an abstract painter who lives in Brooklyn, N.Y.; and Jessica Klier from Northampton, Mass., who fashions elaborate installations from recycled waste.

For the month of September, the residents will be Anne Alexander, a sculptor from Windham who creates nature-based work; and Jude Valentine, a printmaker and pastel artist hailing from East Machias.

“I am very excited about the wide variety of this year’s artists in residence,” said

David Dewey, co-director of the Fiore Art Center and responsible for its fine arts program.

The historical writing residency was awarded to Sarah Loftus, who holds an MA in Archaeology from the United Kingdom’s University College London; and a doctorate in anthropology from Syracuse University. Local residents who might have interesting information to contribute about Rolling Acres Farm are encouraged to get in touch with MFT. Loftus will be presenting her final story in September, an event that will take place at the farm and will be open to the public.

At the end of each residency, there will be a family-friendly Open Studio Day at the Fiore Art Center, 152 Punk Point Road, offering an opportunity for the public to visit the art center, meet the artists and see the work created during their residencies. This summer’s dates are Saturdays, July 29; Aug. 26; and Sept. 30, all from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. There will be live music outdoors on the lawn and free coffee, tea and ice cream. Visitors are invited to bring a picnic and enjoy the center’s grounds.

For more information on the Joseph A. Fiore Art Center and residencies, visit mainefarmlandtrust.org or contact Witholt Abaldo at 338-6575 or anna@mainefarmlandtrust.org. Maine Farmland Trust is a statewide, member-powered nonprofit working to protect farmland, support farmers and advance farming.

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

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