Maine glass expert creates period windows for MFA

The work of Maine stained glass conservator Robin Neely is part of the Brown Pearl period room of the new $345 million Art of the Americas wing at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. The museum commissioned Neely to re-create leaded glass windows for the Colonial-era room, originally from the circa 1704 Boxford, Mass., home of farmer Cornelius Brown and his wife, Susannah. The unique period rooms interpret domestic life in the founding years of America and display MFA’s collection of North American 17th- and early 18th-century silver, portraits, textiles and furniture.

To reproduce the Colonial windows, Neely conducted research on original, untouched antique windows she found in several museums in New England. Crown glass, the type commonly available in 1700, was spun while still molten into large round platters up to 48 inches in diameter. The centrifugal force of the spinning leaves distinctive curved striations in the glass. Neely cut the glass platters into smaller diamond shapes and fabricated the windows to accurately reproduce the fragile antique originals.

Neely, a stained glass conservator and consultant, specializes in projects for historic museums, churches and public institutions. In addition to creating the Colonial-era leaded windows for the MFA’s Brown Pearl room, Neely also served as a consultant to the museum to help prepare several Tiffany and La Farge stained glass windows for installation into the new addition.


Haystack offers workshops in arts for Maine residents

Haystack Mountain School of Crafts has announced a series of winter programs designed for Maine residents. The programs will be offered at Haystack’s Center for Community Programs in Deer Isle village.

The one- and two-day workshops are supported by grants from the Maine Community Foundation’s Hancock County Fund, the Quimby Family Foundation and by Haystack’s Maine Programs Endowment.

The cost for each workshop is $35 per person, and participants will be selected by lottery.

Workshops include a poetry seminar by Wesley McNair, “Lovers of the Lost,” Jan. 28-29; drawing and mixed media by Barbara Putnam, Feb. 18-20; and artist’s books by Rebecca Goodale, March 25-26.

The deadline for applications is Jan. 10. Visit www.haystack-mtn.org or call 348-2306.


Biddeford, Eastport get $50,000 creative grants

The Maine Arts Commission has announced that two communities in Maine will receive $50,000 grants for community revitalization.

The grants support dialogue and partnership between municipalities, business and the cultural sector regarding economic development, and are the first to be awarded through the Maine Arts Commission’s new Creative Communities = Economic Development grant.

The grants have been delivered to consortiums of arts organizations in Biddeford and Eastport.

The City Theater, Engine, Heart of Biddeford and University of New England will use the CCED funding for the promotion of economic development centered on the arts in downtown Biddeford.

Specific goals include property development for artists’ living and work areas, establishment of an arts district, promotion of artists as creative economy workers, historic preservation with the projected outcomes of arts-related programming and Web presence, an increase in overall livability, growth in arts and tourism, an increased tax base, local economic development and a significant amount of collaboration with city government.

Funding also went to Eastport’s Tides Institute and Museum of Art. The collaborating parties charged with implementing economic revitalization in this area include Tides Institute, the city of Eastport, the Eastport Historic Review Board, the Eastport Downtown Committee, the Sunrise County Economic Council, Shead High School, Peavey Library, the Waponahki Museum committee, the Eastport Arts Center, the Border Historical Society and the Eastport Area Chamber of Commerce.

They will use the grant to focus on cross-border work with Canada, the establishment of a cultural council, the creation of a brand for Eastport, the expansion of public art in the town, and the promotion of an art boat and creative workspaces.


Maine State hires manager for costume rental business

Maine State Music Theatre has hired a manager to oversee its costume rental business. Amy Mussman comes to Brunswick from the Washington National Opera in Washington, D.C., where she worked as costume stock coordinator. As the manager of the Maine State costume rental business, Mussman will expand the business to include the rental of props and scenic backgrounds.

Mussman received a bachelor’s degree in theater from Kansas State University and spent her college years studying light, costume and set design. She is the author of “The Prop Master,” which is used as a college text to teach comprehensive theatrical prop management, and is a contributing writer for Stage Directions magazine.

“We work with talented dedicated artists and craftsmen all the time, but every now and again someone stands out, grabs your attention and you know you want to keep them around. Amy is a star and we’re so fortunate she’s agreed to join MSMT’s team,” the theater’s executive director, Steve Peterson, said in a statement.

Mussman previously worked as props master at MSMT. She has also worked as costume designer for Allenberry Playhouse and Forestburgh Playhouse, and as an instructor and director for the Delaware Theater Company’s summer youth theater camp. 

Bowdoin Music Festival announces student contest

The Bowdoin International Music Festival has announced its fourth annual competition for student composers.

Committed to the creation and performance of contemporary classical music, the Bowdoin festival has funded residencies and commissioned works from major composers since its founding in 1964. In 2008, the festival initiated a competition to encourage student composers through the provision of prize money and production of one new work each summer, in addition to works chosen from among the festival’s composition students.

The competition is open to all student composers based in the U.S. who are under 35. A prize of $500 will be awarded to the winning composer, and the selected work will be premiered at the Bowdoin International Music Festival’s 2011 Gamper Festival of Contemporary Music, July 28-31.

The 2011 competition is for works for solo viola or viola with a second instrument including guitar, violin, viola, cello, double bass, flute, clarinet, percussion, harp or piano. For more information and guidelines, visit www.bowdoinfestival.org.


Playwright returns Jan. 6 to teach third master class

Award-winning playwright John Cariani, author of “Almost, Maine” and “Last Gas,” will return to Opera House Arts in Stonington Jan. 6-10 to teach a third playwriting master class, “Dramatic Storytelling & 10-Minute Play Festival.”

The five-day playwriting intensive workshop and festival includes four additional phases between February and September, when several of the 10-minute plays will be produced at the Opera House.

The workshop is suitable for writers of all levels of experience, from beginners to experts, and is scheduled to accommodate both local residents and nonresidents.

Registration deadline is Dec. 27.

The workshop will focus on the art of dramatic storytelling and writing 10-minute plays. Participants will read dozens of 10-minute plays to learn about the form.

Workshop activities include writing monologues and dialogue, and wordless plays that rely exclusively on what’s seen; writing scenes inspired by existing narratives (songs and stories); using inspirational items (poems, paintings, found objects and ideas) to focus and make sense of the writing; learning ways to put story structure (narrative, climax and resolution) to work in the service of the stories each individual participant wants to tell; and learning how to read and constructively critique the writing of others.

Participants will manufacture a lot of raw text during the five-day intensive, which can then be used during the following months to complete a 10-minute play for production.

During Phase 2, participants will have the winter months in which to work independently on their plays. In the spring, participants will reconvene in Phase 3 to share and present invited readings of their work. In Phase 4, the plays will again be reworked in preparation for Phase 5: the second annual 10-minute play festival at the Opera House, with all the works fully staged.

Registration is limited and is available at www.operahousearts.org or by calling 367-2788. The workshop fee is $375 and includes five lunches; limited scholarships are available.

A discounted registration fee of $350 is available for those who register with payment by cash or check by Dec. 25. Two slots in the workshop are reserved for high school scholarship students.


Maine Photography Show takes entries through Feb. 1

Registration is open through Feb. 1 for the sixth annual Maine Photography Show.

Each year since its first call for entries in 2005, the show has attracted talented Maine photographers looking for a comprehensive statewide venue that was judged by a nationally respected jurist. Each year, the show has grown and improved; the last show, juried by John Paul Caponigro, exhibited 101 pieces from more than 750 entered.

The judge for the upcoming show is Jay Stock, a widely decorated photographer and member of the Photographic Hall of Fame.

The 2011 show has four categories: black and white, color, student (ages 18 and younger) and “Working People.” More than $1,000 worth of prizes will be awarded.

The show opens April 16 at Boothbay Region Art Foundation gallery, 1 Townsend Ave., Boothbay Harbor. For information and entry rules, visit www.mainephotographyshow.com.