January 12

'The Collaborative Portrait Projects: Farmers’ Edition' on display at UMA’s Danforth Gallery

The exhibit features 10 portraits of Maine organic farmers created by 200 students.

From staff reports

AUGUSTA — “The Collaborative Portrait Projects: Farmers’ Edition,” an exhibit produced collaboratively by 200 students from 10 area schools, opens Thursday in the University of Maine at Augusta’s Danforth Gallery.

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Jason Morgan, an art teacher at Cony High School in Augusta, assembles one of the “Farmers Edition” portraits at the Danforth Gallery at the University of Maine at Augusta.

Courtesy photo

The art project began last fall with 10 local school art classes, which began working on collaborative portraits depicting Maine organic farmers. The portraits start with a photograph of the farmer that is enlarged to a 4-by-4-foot square. The photo is then divided into a grid of 36 8-inch squares. Each square is given to a student to create their own interpretation using various multimedia techniques. The squares are then put back together to create the final portrait.

The result, which will be displayed in the Danforth Gallery, is 10 large-scale portraits by students across the state.

“When it gets assembled up on the board, a magic happens. The individual pieces come together to form more than the sum of their parts,” Susan Bickford, adjunct art professor at UMA, said in a press release. “The project allows students to experience the transformative power of assembly and offers an opportunity to incorporate civic lessons into art techniques and vice versa.”

An opening reception will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday in the gallery located in Jewett Hall. At the time, the students will unveil the portraits and local farmers will hold a farmers market.

The exhibition runs through Feb. 21. The gallery is open from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Friday. For more information, go to uma.edu/portraits.

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