Unity College has acquired six works from The Rock Paintings collection by well-known avant-garde artist Joseph Fiore (1975-1987). The artwork was gifted to the college by Maine Farmland Trust and had been provided to MFT by the Falcon Foundation, a vehicle created by Fiore’s estate.

“These works by acclaimed artist Joseph Fiore will be frequently accessed by students and inspire them to achieve a sophisticated appreciation of art,” said Unity College President Stephen Mulkey.

Art in all of its forms occupies an important place at Unity College, he added. Students are inspired to pursue careers in service to natural world and sustainability often because of their emotional connections to the planet.

“This donation is so special because it brings daily reminders to our community of this artist’s amazing ability to convey the subtleties, beauty and grandeur of the natural world,” he said, calling the work a good fit for the college and the interests of its students.

Contemporary of Lois Dodd and Alex Katz and a well-known avant-garde artist during the 1960s, Fiore divided his life between New York City and Jefferson. While he is most known for his abstract compositions, his key inspiration was always the natural world. Melik Peter Khoury, Unity College Executive Vice President and Liaison to the Board, credited the works, and the MFT gift of them, with a generosity of spirit, saying “Our entire community is thankful and delighted to receive this donation.”

During his lifetime, Fiore was an avid supporter of Maine Farmland Trust. Fiore’s family created a foundation after the artist died and, due to the existing relationship with Maine Farmland Trust, the foundation gave a large collection of Fiore’s Rock Paintings, also known as the Geological Works, to MFT to re-distribute among organizations throughout Maine that appreciate Maine’s geology and natural environment. Unity College has been selected as one of the first recipients and will take possession of this gift in the fall of this year.

Unity College Professor of Art Ben Potter said it was a rare pleasure to walk into a room and pick out which paintings the college might want. Maine Farmland Trust’s Anna Abaldo, Gallery Curator at the Firehouse Gallery in Damariscotta, said the gift is “a perfect fit.” A major exhibit of Fiore’s Rock Paintings will open Saturday, June 28, and continue through the summer at the Firehouse Gallery. The gift to Unity College will be transferred after a special closing reception in September.

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