Haystack School of Crafts receives $125,000 arts grant

Haystack Mountain School of Crafts has received $125,000 from the Save America’s Treasures program, made in collaboration with the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

The $125,000 grant is part of $14.3 million in competitive federal grants announced Wednesday. Haystack is the only organization in Maine to receive a grant, and one of 61 across the country. They are intended to conserve nationally significant cultural and historic sites, buildings, objects, documents and collections.

The Haystack campus, designed by Edward Larrabee Barnes, has influenced generations of American architects. Built from local materials with little impact on the natural landscape, the school features walkways and structures that float above the ground on concrete piers. Funds will be used to replace the rotted carrying timbers, supporting posts and piers, as well as to repair roofs and windows.

“The grant not only provides needed funds for our upcoming capital projects at the campus, it also recognizes the importance of the buildings,” said Haystack director Stuart Kestenbaum. “Haystack’s architecture has influenced generations of architects as well as the artists who work in our studios. This grant helps ensure that we can continue to maintain and improve these outstanding buildings.”


Shakespeare Festival auditions for ‘Twelfth Night’

Freeport Shakespeare Festival will hold auditions for “Twelfth Night” from 6 to 10 p.m. March 11 and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 12. Equity Actors should call for an appointment; nonunion actors will be seen on a first-come, first-served basis as time permits. Candidates should prepare a two-minute or shorter monologue, preferably from “Twelfth Night.” Performances will take place Aug. 2-12 at L.L.Bean Discovery Park. Call 865-9299 for information.


Scott Levy stepping down as theater artistic director

Scott Levy is stepping down as producing artistic director of Penobscot Theatre Company in June. Levy, whose background includes work as a director, actor and producer, is leaving to become the producing artistic director of the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center Theatre Company. This marks Levy’s sixth season at Penobscot Theatre.

“We are sorry to see Scott go, but we feel fortunate to have had his talent, passion, and vision for the past six years,” board president Bob Kelly said in a prepared statement.

“He has been very active in the community and has worked tirelessly to make Penobscot Theatre a more prominent player in the region. Under his guidance, Penobscot Theatre has become an even greater part of the downtown Bangor community, playing a significant role in helping to shape the future economic and cultural development of the area.”

For his work at Penobscot Theatre, Levy has received the community revitalization award from Maine Preservation, the organizational impact award from the Bangor CVB and Fusion Bangor’s Horizon Award. He has been named to MaineBiz’s NEXT list as one of the top 10 people shaping the future of Maine’s economy.


Fenix Theatre selects two plays for Deering Oaks venue

Fenix Theatre Company, which stages free Shakespeare plays in the summer at Deering Oaks park, this year will run two classics in repertory for five weeks in July and August.

“Waiting for Godot” by Samuel Beckett will be performed Friday evenings, and Shakespeare’s “Love’s Labor’s Lost” will run Thursday and Saturdays from July 14 to Aug. 13.

Auditions will be 2 to 6 p.m. March 19 at Lucid Stage, 29 Baxter Blvd., Portland. All roles are available and paid. For information, visit

VoxPhotographs exhibiting more than 30 photographers

Heather Frederick, director of VoxPhotographs of Portland and Belfast, has announced that the work of more than 30 fine-art photographers is showcased at and available for viewing in person by appointment.

“For the past three years I’ve fostered exclusive relationships with a dozen artists, working with them to build careers, genuine bodies of work and national recognition. I’ve also become deeply committed to growing the collector base for the fine art photography community in Maine and the expanded gallery is a direct result of that growing commitment,” she said.

VoxPhotographs can be viewed at For appointments call 323-1214.


Biathlon spectators to be offered entertainment, arts

The Maine Arts Commission is working with organizers of the 2011 Biathlon World Cup in Presque Isle and Fort Kent to provide entertainment and cultural offerings for spectators during their two-week stay in Maine. Festivities include live music, exhibitions of Maine art and much more. More than 35,000 visitors, including 3,000 members of the European press, will be in Aroostook County for the competition, which continues through this week.

In Presque Isle, the Maine Crafts Association helped coordinate programming with the members of the Biathlon Committee, the Wintergreen Arts Center, the Aroostook Centre Mall, the Winterfest Downtown Festival and the Presque Isle Downtown Revitalization Committee. Support from the Maine Arts Commission allowed artisans Thom Cote, Brian Theriault and Laney Lloyd to bring Maine’s traditions alive though demonstrations of carving, traditional snowshoe making and weaving.

In Fort Kent, the events will run for five days beginning Wednesday. The 10th Mountain Ski Club has been given funding to support artists at the Lions Pavilion, the University of Maine at Fort Kent, the venue at Lonesome Pines, the area high school and the Ice Castle venue.

Support from the Maine Arts Commission will allow for extended programming of artists like Pete Kilpatrick and Dark Hollow Bottling Company. It will also bring the Acadian Singers and local singing sensation Melanie Saucier to the festival to perform traditional songs associated with the St. John Valley. The funds will also help traditional arts exhibitions by local artists. 

State Museum Friends launch annual series of programs

The Friends of the Maine State Museum launches its annual series of talks and programs, “Highlights at the Maine State Museum,” with a talk by nautical archaeologist Warren Riess and conservator Molly Carlson at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the museum in Augusta. The presentation is free.

Riess will begin the presentation, “The Incredible Story of the 1710 Wreck of the Nottingham Galley and the Recovery and Conservation of its Artifacts,” with his research about the shipwreck and experience diving at the wreck site off Boon Island near York’s Cape Neddick. During that time, Riess and his crew retrieved nine of the Nottingham Galley’s cannons.

Carlson will pick up the story to tell about the Nottingham Galley artifacts that came to her conservation lab, where she worked to conserve the ship’s cannon-firing supplies, including wadding and a powder bag, that survived underwater for nearly 300 years.

Riess and Carlson’s presentation also will cover the more grisly aspects of the Nottingham Galley’s story. The 15-man crew survived the wreck, but the ship and supplies were lost. Marooned on tiny Boon Island for 24 days during winter and faced with starvation, cold and extreme privation, the survivors cannibalized one of their fellow crew members who had died of exposure.

The museum is exhibiting one cannon, along with wadding, a powder bag, tampion, cannonball, grenade, and wooden fuse from the Nottingham Galley. The exhibit will be available for viewing at the conclusion of the evening’s presentation.

Riess, of Bristol, is the University of Maine’s research associate professor of history and marine sciences at the Darling Center in Walpole. He is known as director of the archaeological investigation of the Ronson ship, an 18th-century British merchantman discovered in Manhattan. He has also done archaeological work on the Revolutionary War’s Penobscot Expedition, and written and researched extensively on the 17th-century English galleon Angel Gabriel.

Carlson has more than 20 years of conservation experience working with wet archaeological objects from both freshwater and marine sites. Since 2001, she has been involved in a number of conservation and emergency disaster response projects as sole proprietor of Head Tide Archaeological Conservation Laboratory in Wiscasset.

The museum is in the State House Complex off State Street. For information, call 287-2301 or visit


Chocolate Church inviting exhibition proposals

The Chocolate Church Arts Center invites Maine visual artists to submit proposals for invitational exhibition openings in 2012. Each proposal must include images from the artist’s body of work; six images are required. The deadline is March 31.

All proposals will be reviewed by a committee of jurors, including Marlene Ekola Gerberick, a Maine artist who has exhibited across the United States and Finland; and Kristin Malin, a Maine artist affiliated with the Caldbeck Gallery in Rockland. For information and submission guidelines, call 442-8455 or visit


‘Pride and Prejudice,’ ‘Winter Cabaret’ are Project’s picks

The Theater Project’s Professional Repertory Season continues with “Winter Cabaret” and “Pride and Prejudice.”

“Winter Cabaret” will run Friday and Feb. 13, 17 and 19. “Pride and Prejudice” will be performed Thursday, Saturday, Feb. 18 and 20. All tickets are by donation, with a suggested price of $18. For tickets and information, call 729-8584 or visit The Theater Project is located at 14 School St. in Brunswick.


Bates professor writing book with aid of Warhol grant

Myron Beasley, Bates College assistant professor of African-American studies and American cultural studies, knows a lot about how artists in the African Diaspora explore and represent death, loss and politics. With the help of a grant from The Creative Capital — Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant Program, Beasley will soon make that knowledge more widely available through a new book he’s completing.

According to the Warhol Foundation, the grant of more than $35,000 is “designed to encourage and reward writing about contemporary art that is rigorous, passionate, eloquent and precise, as well as to create a broader audience for arts writing.”

“The jury appreciated Professor Beasley’s rigor and passion, and his ability to bring ‘to life’ these rites around death,” said Pradeep Dalal, director of grants and services for The Creative Capital — Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant Program. “They felt that he is really inside the culture he is investigating, and they were interested in the way he wants to write the book ‘as one that sits at the intersection of art writing, ethnography, and travelogue.’ “