Meserve’s life and legacy subject of memorial exhibit

From 4 to 6 p.m. Saturday, Gleason Fine Art, 540 Congress St., Portland, will host a memorial exhibition and reception for Round Pond sculptor Don Justin Meserve, who died in November.

The exhibition, “Don Justin Meserve — Sculptor,” will run through June 25. Proceeds from the sale of his work will support sculpture education.

Meserve’s legacy includes decades of mentoring young sculptors. His home and studios on Back Shore Road in Round Pond were open to artists seeking guidance, wisdom and space to work. Meserve’s last student was also his physician, Dr. Ed Kitfield of Edgecomb, who helped Meserve through the final stages of the cancer that took his life.

Meserve’s career spanned a half-century. His degrees were in industrial design, but his faculty positions were in art departments that ranged from a tiny all-female college to the Rhode Island School of Design. He was a respected restoration expert whose work included projects at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., and a private collector’s mansion in Newport, R.I.

In Portland, after repairing the great rose window on St. Luke’s Cathedral, he was hired to become de facto project manager and master mason for all restoration repairs there.

Meserve loved classical forms, as illustrated by his “Little Dancer” torso, sculpted in 2009. A self-described “animist,” Meserve admired the monastic and ecclesiastic life, nearly joining a Greek Orthodox order. He accepted many liturgical commissions, and was especially proud of his “Stations of the Cross” that were shown at both the National Cathedral and the American Bible Society. Meserve’s “Stations” now are permanently installed in the Emmanuel Chapel of St. Luke’s Cathedral in Portland.

Meserve showed with Gleason for more than 15 years.

A memorial service honoring his life will begin at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at the Cathedral Church of St. Luke in Portland. The Emmanuel Chapel will be open for viewing the “Stations” at 2 p.m. The reception at Gleason will follow at 4 p.m.


PORTopera director Vaughn to get honorary USM degree

PORTopera artistic director Dona D. Vaughn is among those who will receive honorary degrees from the University of Southern Maine during commencement exercises Saturday at the Cumberland County Civic Center.

USM will present three honorary doctor of humane letters degrees and three Distinguished Achievement Awards at its 131st commencement.

Vaughn is being recognized for her contributions to the cultural vitality of the region and her career in performance, directing, teaching and encouraging new talent. She graduated from Brevard College, and holds a bachelor of arts degree in music from Wesleyan and a master of arts degree in theater from Hunter College.

She began her career performing on Broadway, soon becoming a producer, dramaturge and director. She also serves as the artistic director of opera programs at the Manhattan School of Music.


Three new plays by teens among readings in festival

Portland Stage Company presents the 22nd annual Little Festival of the Unexpected Tuesday to Saturday. Little Festival is dedicated to public readings of new American plays.

Three playwrights are in residence at Portland Stage throughout the week, developing their scripts with input from actors, directors and audience members.

This year’s Little Festival also features readings of three short scripts written by area high school students.

All readings are open to the public, with a $10 suggested donation.

Festival events will be in the Studio Theater, Portland Stage’s 75-seat second stage, at 25A Forest Ave. For reservations, call 774-0465.

This year’s plays include “Dickens Dream” adapted by Andrew Harris from the writing of Charles Dickens; “The Awake” by Ken Urban; and “Ash” by William Donnelly.

Student plays are “Crazy With You” by Simone Spalding of Windham High School; “The Last Worker” by Ian Armony of Waterville High School; and “Tasting Tears” by Josephine Cooper of Thornton Academy.


Maine pastel artist Gamache joins group’s Master Circle

Claudette Gamache, an artist from Phippsburg, has achieved Master Circle status with the International Association of Pastel Societies.

She will receive a gold medallion at a conference in Albuquerque, N.M., on June 6.

The International Association of Pastel Societies has 70 member societies around the world.

The Master Circle was created to honor artists whose work has been accepted or who have received awards in the societies’ juried shows.

Including Gamache, there are now 58 artist members of the Master Circle.


Acorn Shakespeare troupe performing Bard in the park

The Acorn Shakespeare Ensemble offers audiences the opportunity to experience Shakespeare in the park on weekends through May 22 with the second annual Riverbank Shakespeare Festival at Riverbank Park on Main Street.

The festival’s centerpieces are two late-period romances, “Antony and Cleopatra” and “Cymbeline.” The Young Actors Shakespeare Conservatory also will present “The Comedy of Errors.”

Here is the schedule of performances: “The Comedy of Errors,” 2 p.m. today and May 15; “Cymbeline,” 6 p.m. today and Friday, and 2 p.m. May 22; and “Antony and Cleopatra,” 2 p.m. Saturday, 6 p.m. May 15, May 20 and May 22, and 2 p.m. May 21.

The three shows have been abridged and are free, with a suggested donation of $10.

Audience members are encouraged to bring lawn chairs or blankets and picnic during the performances. No reservations are necessary.

In case of inclement weather, check Acorn’s website (acorn-productions.org) or call 854-0065.


Maine crafts group honors Vesery as 2011 master artist

The Maine Crafts Association, a statewide nonprofit organization promoting the work of the state’s craft artists for more than 25 years, has named Jacques Vesery of Damariscotta as its 2011 Master Craft Artist.

Vesery is a nationally known craftsman with an extensive career in making, educating and innovating in craft. He is being honored for his craftsmanship, inspired design and the singular voice demonstrated by his body of work.

Vesery’s carved wood sculptures can be found in numerous collections, including the Detroit Institute of Art, the Contemporary Art Museum of Honolulu, Yale University Art Gallery and the Carnegie Museum. He is a 2000 Maine Arts Commission Fellow and winner of numerous sculpture competitions. He has been included in more than 20 publications, and has work in “100 Artists of New England” released this year.

Vesery will receive his award Saturday at a reception at the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in Deer Isle.

The event includes a silent auction of craft work, and the awarding of a unique Master Craft Artist pin made specially for Vesery by Maine jeweler John Wise.

To learn more, visit mainecrafts.org or jacquesvesery.com.


Theater at Monmouth plans spring social and fundraiser

The Theater at Monmouth will hold its third annual spring social and fundraiser, “Play On,” at Joyce’s, 192 Water St., from 2 to 5 p.m. May 22. The event offers previews of the upcoming summer and fall shows.

The season previews will be provided by David Greenham, Dennis A. Price, Jeri Pitcher, Bill Van Horn, Liz Helitzer, Steph Garrett and Ryan Simpson.

Music will be provided by Marcia Gallagher and Tino Liakas.

Reservations are $40 per person. Go to theateratmonmouth.org or call 933-9999.


Jurors award honors to artists in annual show

The Kennebec Valley Art Association announced the awards for Art2011, the annual juried art show, on view at the Harlow Gallery, 160 Water St., through May 28.

The show draws artists to Hallo- well from all over the state, and includes 57 pieces of artwork representing 43 Maine artists.

This year’s jurors where Veronique Plesch and Margaret Libby, professors in the art department at Colby College in Waterville.

Prizes where awarded at the opening on Friday:

Best in show was awarded to Gwen Sylvester of Rockland; second prize to Linda Nichols Phillips of North Monmouth; third prize to Sarah Helen Harvey of Freeport; Margaret Libby’s juror’s choice to Robin Brooks of Topsham and Veronique Plesch’s juror’s choice to Chris Augusta of Waldoboro.

Honorable mentions were awarded to Cynthia Ahlstrin of Winthrop, Carolyn Anderson of Littleton, Sherry Ballou of Buxton, Nancy Bixer of Hallowell, Brian Braley of Manchester, Kate Buehner of Gardiner, Janet Favor of Gardiner, Sheri Parenteau of Swanville and Lesia Sochor of Brooks.


Maine Performs brochure, website reach outside state

Performing arts organizations, events and venues in Maine are part of the new Maine Performs brochure and a companion website, Maineperforms.com.

The resources were created by the Maine Office of Tourism in collaboration with the Maine Arts Commission and participating organizations.

The goal is to highlight and promote Maine’s performing arts traditions.

“As a business, we do a very good job at promoting ourselves within Maine, but creating awareness in audiences from out of state is more difficult and costly,” Monica Kelly of Bay Chamber Concerts said in a news release. “The creation of the Maine Performs group gives us the platform to promote our organization in a way that will effectively reach outside the state.”

The 15-page guide provides information about more than 20 theaters, arts centers, festivals and organizations producing music, dance, film and stage productions.

Maineperforms.com brings visitors to the performing arts page of the Office of Tourism website, where the guide can be downloaded, and Web links are provided for each listing from the guide.

The brochure also is available at visitor information centers, performing arts organizations and venues throughout the state.


Harbor Light Stage taking ‘Love Song’ to new venue

Harbor Light Stage will produce the play “Love Song” by John Kolvenbach in the Music Hall Loft, 131 Congress St.

It will be the first theater production in the new performance space, and the first main-stage play the company has presented on the New Hampshire side of the Piscataqua River.

The nonprofit theater company, founded in 2006 by Kent Stephens, is known for staging its productions in unique locations, including a restored 19th-century barn, the ceremonial room of a Masonic lodge, the vaulted great room of a private seaside club and in several of the historic properties of Strawbery Banke Museum.

“Love Song” was nominated in 2007 by London theater critics for the Olivier Award for best new comedy. The production runs Friday through May 29.

For details, visit harborlightstage. org or call 439-5769.