Michelle Lee in ‘Summer of Love’ at Ogunquit Playhouse

The Ogunquit Playhouse has announced that TV and film star Michelle Lee will headline the new Roger Bean musical “Summer of Love,” on stage June 22 through July 16. Lee has starred on Broadway and in feature and television films. She is known for her Emmy-nominated role as Karen Mackenzie in the landmark CBS series “Knots Landing.” “Knots” is the fifth-longest running primetime dramatic series in television history.

Lee came to Broadway and was starring with the Metropolitan Opera’s Cesare Siepe in the musical “Bravo Giovanni” when she was 18. Her breakout came in “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” opposite Robert Morse. Carl Reiner’s cult classic, “The Comic,” with Dick Van Dyke followed. Most recently, she appeared in the film “Along Came Polly” opposite Ben Stiller and Jennifer Aniston.

Lee has earned multiple Tony Award nominations. She opened in New York in “Love, Loss & What I Wore” by Nora and Delia Ephron.

At Ogunquit, she will play the role of Mama, the earth mother of the Golden Gate Park band of hippies. This musical showcases music of the late 1960s by The Mamas and the Papas, Donovan, Janis Joplin, Jefferson Airplane and others, with songs that include “Dream a Little Dream of Me,” “Get Together,” “Piece of My Heart,” “White Rabbit,” “Spinning Wheel” and “Happy Together.”


Loon art auction to raise funds for Bridgton At Guild

A few years ago, the Bridgton Art Guild needed an infusion of cash to help it through lean financial times. The guild distributed wooden fish to regional artists and asked them for their best designs. The fish were sold at auction, raising a quick $10,000.

On July 8, the guild will host a similar auction, this time offering 45 wooden loons bearing the designs of local artists. The money will go toward an ongoing capital campaign. The guild, which operates Gallery 302 in Bridgton, wants to own its own building.

“We want to do more community projects, more classes. We need more space,” said guild member Holly Best. “In the interim, we’ve taken part of the gallery and turned it into classroom space. It’s getting kind of crowded.”

Gallery 302 is open year-round.

The auction is the first of many events scheduled for the next few years that will raise money for the project, Best said. “We need about $300,000 to get a building,” she said.

The loons are on display at Gallery 302, 112 Main St. The auction begins at 5 p.m. July 8.

The Loon Auction kicks off an active summer for the guild. Art in the Park will be July 16 at Highland Lake’s Shorey Park in Bridgton. Art in Bloom and the Camper Show follow.

For information, call 647-2787 or visit gallery302.com.


Celebration to inaugurate city’s new poet laureate

Portland’s new poet laureate, Bruce Spang, will be feted and inaugurated at 7 p.m. Saturday at Mayo Street Arts, 10 Mayo St.

The inauguration will be hosted by poet and theater critic Megan Grumbling. The Maine Gay Men’s Chorus will perform from “Charlie Howard: A Story in Song,” a piece for which Spang has written the libretto. Howard was a 24-year-old gay man who was killed in 1984 when three teenagers threw him from a bridge into the Kenduskeag River in Bangor.

Poets Annie Finch and Russ Sargent, who were both nominated for the laureateship, will also read.

Spang is the author of the collection “To the Promised Land Grocery” (published by Maine’s Moon Pie Press), as well as “The Knot.” His poetry has appeared in journals across the country and internationally.

Spang succeeds Steve Luttrell in the post. Luttrell’s Community Television Network program “Poets’ Cafe” formed the cornerstone of his service to the city in the name of poetry.

The Portland poet laureate position was established in 2007 by the nonprofit organization Maine Poetry Central. The laureate serves a two-year term, and is charged with establishing and nurturing the bonds between poetry and the public. The committee that selects and supports the laureate is made up of volunteers locally involved in literature, education and publishing. 

MECA announces lineup of visiting summer artists

Each summer, the Master of Fine Arts program at Maine College of Art invites guest artists, curators and scholars to participate in the curriculum. This summer, the MFA’s Moth Press is also releasing “Mapping the Intelligence of Artistic Work; An Explorative Guide to Making, Thinking and Writing” by Anne West. Her lecture on July 18 will be followed by a book signing. 

West is an educator, writer and independent curator. She teaches in the Division of Graduate Studies at Rhode Island School of Design, where she supports students across disciplines in conceptualizing and writing their master’s theses.

West describes a technique she calls “mapping through writing” that encourages visual artists to ask strategic questions, approach problems and catalyze creative thinking.

Learn more at meca.edu/annewest.

The summer 2011 MFA Visiting Artists Lecture Series includes:

 June 24: Allan McCollum’s work focuses on the relationship between labor and art, with an emphasis on mass production. 

June 27: Ellie Ga’s projects explore the limits of photographic documentation and span a variety of media, often incorporating her exploratory writing and culminating in performative lectures, videos and installations. 

July 5: Juan Logan’s paintings, drawings, sculptures, installations and videos address the interconnections of race, place and power. 

July 11: Sina Najafi is the editor of Cabinet Magazine. 

July 18: Anne West is a writer, theorist and independent curator. She teaches in the graduate program at RISD. 

July 25: Lee Boroson’s airy sculptures give viewers the chance to experience the ineffable impossibilities of the world.

Aug. 1: Since the early 1970s, Hamish Fulton has been labeled as a sculptor, photographer, conceptual artist and land artist. Fulton, however, characterizes himself as a “walking artist.” 

Aug. 8: Lisi Raskin handcrafts whimsical recreations of  military command centers.

All visiting artists deliver a free public lecture in Osher Hall at 6:30 p.m. 

Nantz Comyns leads young sculptors in library project

Maine artist Nantz Comyns will be at the Sam L. Cohen Children’s Library at the Portland Public Library from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. June 23 for a sculpture workshop for children ages 5 through 12.

The creator of Montgomery Moose, the mascot of the children’s library, Comyns will lead a group of children in creating a new sculpture with a Portland theme to reside in the library. Pre-registration is required.

Comyns specializes in developing creative educational programs and environments for a variety of settings. As a Maine Touring Artist with the Maine Arts Commission, Comyns has presented her “Process of Sculpture” workshops and artist-in-residences statewide. She encourages creative collaboration among children to help them learn about their world.

The sculpture workshop is part of an event series accompanying the Portland Public Library’s children’s summer reading program.

In addition to the sculpture workshop, the library will host weekly events, including a “mad science demonstration with fire and ice” on July 14 and a cartoon workshop with local artist Jay Piscopo on July 21. Each of these events will be at the Main Library. Visit portlandlibrary.com for information. 

Telling Room awarded grant for youth writing program

The Telling Room has received a $14,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts for its yearlong themed writing project with local youth. It will take place during the 2011-12 school year.

The project, “Searching for Maine/Searching for ME,” will culminate in an original, professionally published anthology of student writing distributed locally and nationally, and a community event at the Portland Public Library. When the 2012 anthology is released, it will be the sixth anthology produced by The Telling Room and its students.

The Telling Room has been named the 2011 Imagination Intensive Community by the Maine Alliance for Arts Education, the Maine Department of Education and the Maine Arts Commission.


Arts Commission seeks submissions of essays

The Maine Arts Commission is seeking previously unpublished and insightful critical essays for inclusion in the annual edition of the Maine Arts Magazine, to be printed in August. The deadline for submissions is June 27. An award of $500 will be made to the author whose work is chosen for inclusion in the magazine.

Email questions to [email protected]