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Belfast connection with Portland Museum of Art ‘Haystack’ exhibit

Jul 12, 2019

BELFAST/PORTLAND — A current special exhibit at the Portland Museum of Art has deep connections with Belfast and Waldo County.

“In the Vanguard: Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, 1950-1969” is an exhibit that displays art and artifacts from the first two decades of the influential arts and crafts institution that began in Liberty and Montville. The exhibit also documents the school’s history for that time.

Diana Greewold and Rachael Arauz, co-curators for the exhibit, learned in the course of their research that many historical records from the early years of Haystack Mountain are housed in the archives of the Belfast Free Library. In fact, printed artifacts from the Belfast Free Library are now on display at the Portland Museum of Art as part of the exhibit.

The Portland Museum of Art received major funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) in support of this exhibit — the first time the museum has ever had support from the NEH for an exhibit. The museum states that this support from the NEH “demonstrates the tremendous importance of sharing Haystack’s story and impact for the first time.”

An announcement for the exhibit also says that this display “offers audiences the first exhibition dedicated to the history of the school and the founders, teachers, and students who helped change the course of American Art at midcentury.”

Even without the local connections, the exhibit is tremendous on its own merits. There are pieces on display that would stand out in any museum in the world—a visit to the museum is highly recommended. The exhibit can be seen through September 8.

A published catalog of the exhibit filled with historical background (In the Vanguard: Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, 1950-1969, edited by Diana Greenwold and Rachael Arauz), is available at the Belfast Free Library.

For further details about the exhibit, see

For more information, contact the Belfast Free Library at 338-3884.

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