Opening Date: Friday, February 18, 5-8 pm – Free and open to the public
Gallery Talk: Thursday, February 24, 2011, 7-8:30pm — $3 suggested donation
Exhibition on View: February 16-26, 2011 – free and open to the public
In February the Harlow Gallery in Hallowell will present Mosaic, an exhibition featuring work by the artists of Spindleworks. Located in Brunswick, Maine, Spindleworks is an art center providing studio and gallery space to 41 artists. The program is one of many arms of Independence Association, an agency whose mission is to assist children and adults with disabilities in achieving full and inclusive lives in their chosen community.
The public is invited to the show’s opening on Friday, February 18 from 5-8 pm. This event is free and open to all; refreshments will be provided by Sweetland Retreat of Manchester. The exhibition will run from February 16-26 at the Harlow Gallery, at 160 Water Street in downtown Hallowell, Maine. There will be a gallery talk on Thursday, February 24th at 7pm (with a $3 suggested donation to benefit both nonprofit arts groups!). Call 207-622-3813 for more information, or visit us at www.harlowgallery.org.
Nestled in historic downtown Brunswick for over 30 years, Spindleworks is an art center providing studio and gallery space to 41 artists. The program is one of many arms of Independence Association, an agency whose mission is to assist children and adults with disabilities in achieving full and inclusive lives in their chosen community. Local artist and writer Nan Ross — the founding director of Spindleworks — started with the knowledge that art could provide a voice to historically stereotyped and unheard members of the community. With a belief in their abilities rather than disabilities, Nan taught weaving, spinning and rug hooking skills. She brought in dancers and poets to work with the artists, and she published their words. The program began with just six artists to whom she gave responsibility, choice, and opportunities to build their skills, and explore their talents, and express themselves freely. Funded primarily through state and federal dollars, Spindleworks is technically a Community Support Program, but to the artists, it is so much more.
Almost 35 years after its start, Spindleworks has grown not only in the number of artists, but the scope of their artistic expression. Weaving still remains a strong component to the program, and Spindleworks is known for fine scarves, rugs and other woven goods, as well as embroideries. In addition, the center which is housed in the historic Jordan Double House built in 1846, has drawing, painting, sculpture and ceramic studios, and a new media lab. Keeping with the spirit of its origins, the Spindleworks program includes regular collaboration with local artists through workshops, studio visits, and a monthly “lunch with an artist” series. Finished work is displayed throughout the house, and in the onsite store and Whatnot Gallery.
The amount of creative talent under the roof at Spindleworks leaves most guests wide-eyed. First time visitors often feel overwhelmed and in awe of the array of abilities and colorful voices which take shape through the plethora of mediums. Through meeting the artists, and learning about their work, they walk away with a new understanding, and usually come back again and again. At Spindleworks, the artists learn skills, gain confidence and give back to the community. And just through the act of creating, the Spindleworks artists are educating. Through their brilliant work, they are seen as artists, and contributing members of society, offering beauty and a joyful outlook, and helping to eradicate the stigma of “disability”.
The exhibit at the Harlow Gallery in February will offer a glimpse into the breadth of work that can be found at Spindleworks. Visitors are welcome to tour the studios, store and gallery in Brunswick, Maine Monday through Friday, 9 – 4:30, or by appointment. 75% of sales at Spindleworks return directly to the artists. They can also be found on the web at www.spindleworks.org.