Indian basketmakers win major awards, best in show

Three Maine Indian basketmakers won major awards at the 53rd annual Heard Museum Guild Indian Fair & Market in Phoenix. Jeremy Frey of Indian Township won the coveted Best of Show Award for a piece titled “Pointy Urchin.” Frey also won best of category overall and first place in the Traditional Basket division.

Another Passamaquoddy artist, Eric J. Otter Bacon, won second place in the Traditional Basket division for his “Golden Eagle/Landlock Salmon Birch Basket.” Bacon works frequently in birch bark as well as with brown ash.

Theresa Secord of Waterville, a Penobscot basketmaker, took home an honorable mention award for a traditional Penobscot acorn basket made from red cedar, sweetgrass and brown ash splints.

Frey, who was awarded an unrestricted $50,000 grant from the Los Angeles-based United States Artists in December, took a moment to reflect on his newest honor: “It’s overwhelming. There are a lot of really talented artists here.”

This year’s juried competition winners were honored at an awards dinner and silent auction on March 4.


MECA’s Art Honors event will take place May 19

Maine College of Art will hold the 15th annual Art Honors celebration to recognize leaders in Maine’s creative sector on May 19.

This year, MECA presents the Award for Entrepreneurship in the Arts to businesswoman Roxanne Quimby, the Award for Leadership in Art Philanthropy to longtime arts supporters Betsy Evans Hunt and Christopher Hunt, and the Award for Leadership in Art Education to Janet Manyan, a painting faculty member in the Continuing Studies program.

The awards will be presented in the college’s Porteous Building at 522 Congress St. The evening begins with a 5:30 p.m. reception and ceremony followed by a dinner served in studios throughout the college, as well as in the Joanne Waxman Library. Thesis artwork by graduating students in the undergraduate and graduate programs will be on display.

Tables of eight at $1,500 and individual tickets at $150 are available by calling 775-5098.

Past honorees have included David Driskell, Bernarda Shahn, Beverly Hallam, Will Barnet, Neil Welliver, Alex Katz, Robert Indiana, Alison Hildreth, Angela Adams and Pandora Lacasse, among others. 

Portland Museum of Art receives $285,000 in grants

The Portland Museum of Art has been awarded two grants totaling $285,000 to support the Winslow Homer Studio Campaign from the Henry Luce Foundation. A grant of $200,000 is in support of the museum’s September 2012 exhibition and catalog “Weatherbeaten: The Late Paintings of Winslow Homer,” curated by chief curator Thomas Denenberg.

As part of its American Art Renewal Fund initiative, the Luce Foundation has also approved a grant of $85,000 to support the chief curator’s position. The “Weatherbeaten” exhibition will celebrate the opening of the Winslow Homer Studio in 2012, and the Luce Foundation is currently spotlighting the studio restoration project on its website for March:

“Weatherbeaten,” on view in fall 2012, will feature 40 major oil paintings and watercolors painted during Homer’s tenure in his studio on Prouts Neck.

The PMA purchased the studio from Homer’s heirs in 2006. The museum is engaged in a campaign to raise $10.5 million to preserve and interpret this National Historic Landmark. 

Music conservatory names Shiman as new director

The Portland Conservatory of Music has announced the selection of Stephen Shiman as executive director. Shiman recently moved to Maine after serving for 22 years as director of the Newark School for the Arts, a nonprofit school with 600 students, 55 employees and an annual budget of $1.25 million.

Shiman holds bachelor of science and master of science degrees from the Juilliard School, and has served as a trustee of the National Guild of Community Schools of the Arts. In addition to his music administration abilities, Shiman is a performing oboist and instructor.  

One of his goals is building a closer relationship between the conservatory and the community through programming and collaborations. 

Santoro’s ‘Back Cove’ at Borealis opens April 1

John Santoro will show recent paintings and drawings in a show titled “In the Neighborhood of the Back Cove,” on view April 1 to May 31 at Borealis Bistro, 182 Ocean Ave.

A reception will be held from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. April 7. The show celebrates Portland’s Back Cove. 

Public library to host Edible Book Festival April 1

The Portland Public Library has announced its Edible Book Festival, where community members and library patrons are invited to create a piece of edible art referencing a book. Edible art submissions can look like a book, pun on a title of a book, resemble a character or scene or just have something to do with a book. The only criteria are that all submissions must be edible and based on a book.

Children’s books, mystery novels, fiction, nonfiction, biographies, short stories, poetry and cookbooks will be on display and created from all types of food, from veggies to colorful frosting.

The Edible Book Festival will be April 1 during the First Friday Art Walk in the Rines Auditorium at the library. Edible books will be on view from 5 to 7 p.m., during which time the public can vote for a favorite.

People can register for the Edible Book Festival by e-mailing [email protected] or calling Sandy at 871-1700, Ext. 758. Registration is free and participants are asked to drop off their works of art between 3 and 4:45 p.m. April 1. 

Rines/Thompson Fund gives $3,000 to MECA’s FY-In

Maine College of Art announced a gift of $3,000 from the Rines/Thompson Fund of the Maine Community Foundation to support the direct costs of the community-based FY-In (First Year In-volve/In-fuse/In-spire) for all first-year students at MECA.

Annually, more than 100 first-year students at MECA participate in a common freshman experience with a community partner. The initial partner was Cultivating Community. Two new partners, Space Gallery and The Telling Room, were added in 2010. The program requires all first-year students to collectively read, write, plan, research, make art, discuss, critique and reflect. 

Free ’10-Minute’ design clinic Wednesday at Bard Coffee

The Portland Society of Architects will sponsor “10-Minute Architect,” a free design clinic, from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Wednesday at Bard Coffee, 185 Middle St. The clinic is offered to homeowners and business owners who are considering when and how to use an architect for a project or want design guidance.

The Portland Society of Architects has held seven of these sessions. There will be more than two dozen Maine-based architects available for consultation at the design clinic.

The PSA is a relatively new organization, founded in 2006, with the mission of promoting design excellence in Greater Portland. Current members include architects, builders and engineers from more than 40 firms in and around Portland.

Preregistration is encouraged, but walk-ins are welcome. To sign up and for more information, visit


Bank of America donates $8,000 to Maine State Ballet

Maine State Ballet recently received an $8,000 award from the Bank of America Charitable Foundation to support the orchestra and choral groups that perform during the ballet’s annual performances of “The Nutcracker.”

“The Nutcracker” is performed in late November through early December at Merrill Auditorium. The bank has previously awarded funding to Maine State Ballet for its Backstage at Nutcracker shows for schoolchildren.


Bowman named as new L/A Arts executive director

L/A Arts, Lewiston-Auburn’s local arts agency, has announced that Odelle Bowman will serve as its new executive director. She begins her duties on Tuesday.

Bowman, a Lewiston resident, has been executive director of A Company of Girls, an award-winning after-school program. The Portland nonprofit received the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities Coming Up Taller Award, recognizing it as one of the top 10 after-school programs in the United States. She is a member of the Governor’s Commission on the Status of Women.

A professional actor and director, storyteller and arts educator, Bowman is co-producer and founder of the Cassandra Project, a women’s performing arts festival in Portland. She produced and founded the Maine Women and Girls Film Festival, and for six years was director of the Maine Humanities program “Girls Going Places,” bringing the arts and humanities to youth incarcerated at Long Creek Development Center.

In 2002, she was one of three women honored with the Maine Women’s Fund Award, given to women and girls who, by their accomplishments, serve as role models and inspirations and who advance the well-being of women in Maine.

Bowman believes in the power of the arts to transform, strengthen and foster positive growth in communities. “Lewiston-Auburn is at a crossroads and poised for growth. We are a community that has many hidden treasures and new ones to develop,” she said in a statement. “As we look to the future and hope to draw new community members and businesses to our area, ‘quality of life’ must be considered. A quality of life that includes a cultural life filled with the arts, good schools that have enriching curriculum and opportunities for quality community interaction are what people are seeking.”

Bowman succeeds Jim Handy, who has served as interim director since the fall.


Haltof announces launch of new website for his work

Mark Haltof, a contemporary Maine artist, has launched a new website, Haltof has been inspired by the beauty of Maine for more than 30 years. The website includes an overview of his work, including paintings and drawings completed during the past decade.

Haltof has exhibited in galleries across the country, and his work is part of the Elizabeth Noyce Collection at the Portland Museum of Art.  


Chappell among 75 women in Connecticut art exhibit

Kennebunk artist Kate Cheney Chappell was one of 75 women artists selected for an exhibition that closes today at the New Britain Museum of American Art in Connecticut. Exhibition curators chose 80 works of art from more 600 by women (including Mary Cassatt, Louise Nevelson and Lee Krasner) in the permanent collection of the museum.

Chappell’s “Explosion of Amphibian Deformities,” a monotype and graphite work depicting mutant frogs, was one of those chosen. The museum acquired the piece after Chappell’s 2008 solo exhibition in the New/Now Gallery. Chappell participated in a daylong symposium at the museum in January.

Her talk focused on how her relationship to the environment has informed her work and life since she moved to Maine in 1968.


Playhouse names McDaniel as new associate producer

The Ogunquit Playhouse has announced the appointment of Jayme McDaniel to the position of associate producer. McDaniel directed and choreographed “Singin’ in the Rain” in 2009, for which he received an IRNE nomination, and in 2001 appeared in “42nd Street.”

Until recently, McDaniel was associate artistic director at the Ordway in St. Paul, Minn. As associate producer, McDaniel will oversee all theatrical operations for the 79-year-old company. Responsibilities will include casting, production coordination, and hiring of stage managers, company management, music directors and technical crew.

McDaniel has experience as a director and choreographer for many regional theaters as well as on Broadway.