OPENING PERFORMANCE + FARMERS’ MARKET
Thursday, January 16, 2014 from 5-7pm
Charles Danforth Gallery at the University of Maine at Augusta
Farmers from 10 Maine organic farms, 10 area art teacher and over 200 of their students will gather to assemble 10 large scale collaborative portraits. There is magic in collaboration which this project makes palpable: a collaborative community project led by Susan Bickford with support from the Harlow Gallery. Photographs by Allison McKeen. This project was inspired by the Harlow Gallery’s 2012 project CSA: Community Supporting Agriculture. Generously supported by the UMA Art Area, The Harlow Gallery, The Oak Grove Foundation, UMA Presidential Mini Grant, Artist + Craftsman Supply, A. C. Moore with special thanks to Tanys Rothrock.
The Collaborative Portrait Project: Farmers’ Edition opens January 16 at the Danforth Gallery in Jewett Hall on Campus at the University of Maine at Augusta (UMA), with a reception and farmers market from 5 – 7 pm. The event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.
On display will be ten large-scale portraits of local organic farmers produced collaboratively by students from nine area high schools and one elementary school, the result of a community arts project led by UMA adjunct Art Professor Susan Bickford. Those in attendance will have the opportunity to witness the magic of community-based art in practice as each portrait is assembled on site. The Collaborative Portrait Project: Farmers’ Edition will be on view from January 16 to February 21, 2014.
Participating Teachers, Schools:
This past fall, students in ten art classes throughout central Maine worked on group-created collaborative art portraits depicting some local heroes: local farmers growing healthy organic food for their communities. Each portrait started with a photograph of the subject by Gardiner photographer Allison McKeen, which was enlarged to 4 foot x 4 foot square and then divided into a grid of thirty-six eight inch squares. Each square is given to an individual student to create their own artistic interpretation using various multimedia techniques. “When [the portrait] gets assembled up on the board, a magic happens. The individual pieces come together to form more than the sum of their parts,” said project leader Susan Bickford, “The project allows students to experience the transformative power of assembly and offers an opportunity to incorporate civic lessons into art techniques and vice versa.“
“This is only one example of the ways in which UMA art faculty are reaching out to public schools. Our professors have also supported high school art exhibitions at UMA, developed an after school program in Gardiner, and have worked with Winthrop schools to bring students into a working art studio space,” said Gregory Fahy, Dean of UMA’s College of Arts and Sciences. “In an era where public school art budgets are declining, it is critically important for university faculty to help public schools provide valuable arts education for all Maine students. UMA is committed to doing this,” he added.