“SWANS ISLAND QUARRY” by Howie Motenko.

“SWANS ISLAND QUARRY” by Howie Motenko.


The Maine Arts Commission has announced the opening of a special exhibit in its Art in the Capitol program. “ Painting Islands: Uniting Community with Art” by Maine photographer Howie Motenko is free to the public and on display until June 30 on the second floor of the State House in the Governor’s Reception area.

The “Painting Islands” exhibit explores the photographic technique of light painting on each of Maine’s 15 un- bridged, year-round islands.

“We selected these photographs to showcase Maine’s rich island heritage, and the ways in which the arts can bring communities together,” said Julie Horn, the visual arts program director for the Maine Arts Commission and the curator for Art in the Capitol. “These photos are lush with color and light and bring attention to one of Maine’s provincial regions, which makes them a perfect fit for the Governor’s Reception area.”

Motenko’s mission in the “Painting Islands” project, funded in part by the Maine Arts Commission, was to create participatory art with each island community through the medium of light painting photography. The result is 15 color-saturated, archival pigment prints that represent Maine’s island community’s choices of images that best represent them.

For a full year beginning in June of 2015, Motenko discussed and documented each island. The artistic collaboration began with island residents selecting a subject that resonated most strongly with their community. Next, at dusk, island volunteers “light painted” their self- selected scene with flashlights to complete the artistic collaboration: they illuminated the most significant image of their community while Motenko created a long-exposure photograph of it. The project was designed to create a stronger sense of community for each island.

“ Everyone who takes part in creating an image like this can feel proud,” Motenko said in The Mount Desert Islander. “I know that the people who shine flashlights will remember exactly where they were and what they lit that night.”

Motenko is a resident of Mount Desert Island who has spent the past nine years photographing Acadia National Park. He said that “Travel and landscape photography are in my blood,” and has visited six continents, 30 countries and 26 states. Additional projects have included “Painting Bridges: Uniting Community with Art,” studies of the carriage road bridges at Acadia National Park, and Acadia Photo Safari.

The Art in the Capitol program features rotating exhibits throughout the Capitol Complex and offers an additional venue to expand the audiences for Maine artists or artists working in Maine on Maine-based themes. Exhibitions are self-guided and may be viewed during the building hours where the exhibition is on display. Building hours: Maine Arts Commission Office 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday; State House and Burton M. Cross Buildings 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. To learn more about the Art in the Capitol Program, contact Julie Horn at [email protected] To learn more about the “Painting Islands” project, visit paintingislands.com.

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