Past Events/Exhibitions

Lincoln Academy – High School Art Exhibition at River Arts -

Thru April 17, 2014


We are pleased to announce a reception for the Lincoln Academy Student Art Exhibition on Thursday, April 3rd from 5 – 7pm at River Arts on Route 1 in Damariscotta. This exhibit will showcase ceramics and sculpture, complemented by two-dimensional pieces from Lincoln’s advanced and AP art students. The public is invited to view the works on the night of the reception or anytime during business hours between April 3 – 18.

This show reflects an ongoing partnership between River Arts and Lincoln Academy (Newcastle, ME) for which instructors Nina Sylvia and Jonathan Mess are very grateful. The mission of River Arts is “to nurture appreciation, encourage participation and provide opportunity in the arts.” Ms. Sylvia states “it is an uncommon event for students of this age to be able to show their work in a professionally gallery. We are extremely fortunate to have this opportunity another year.”

The art work encompasses wall tiles, functional pottery, sculptures made from unusual materials, charcoal drawings, paintings (of many media), digital images, collages, and mixed media pieces. Students do all of their own matting and framing and provide artist statements to explain their process. Come meet the artists, enjoy refreshments and help celebrate the students’ hard work and dedication.


Ukranian Pysanky Egg decorating with Erica Qualey- April 12th  – 1 pm – 4pm


Pysanky egg decorating is an ancient method of dying eggs using batik techniques and rich, vivid dyes.  These eggs are rich with history and tradition, originally created as charms to bring good fortune to the object symbolized in the design. For example, an egg may be decorated with bees then placed under the hive to bring good health to the hive or adorned with wheat and buried in the field to bring a bountiful harvest.  The patterns and designs were also strongly influenced by Christianity and supposedly baskets of decorated eggs were brought to church by families to be blessed during Easter services.

During this class, students will learn how to use the kistky tool to layer wax and colors to create a finished pysanky egg. We will follow a traditional pattern and learn how to apply patterns to the three dimensional surface. Because a lot of the designs for traditional pysanky are very geometric it is easy for anyone, even those who don’t feel as though they have any artistic skills, to create amazing and beautifully patterned eggs. Anyone over the age of 12 is welcome to join us.

Cost $25 for members and students…..$30 for non-members

Materials fee:  $15……Each student will receive a kit including a kistky tool, beeswax, patterns, and a set of dye colors to take home with them.

Erica Qualey is an artist and illustrator living in South Bristol, Maine.  Over the past 10 years she has actively creating art and exhibiting watercolor paintings in group and solo art shows throughout Maine and New Hampshire. Her most recent show was an exhibit at Husson University in collaboration with a printmaker. Along with watercolor, Erica enjoys dabbling in many other mediums from wood block printing to Pysanky to felting.  You can view a collection of her watercolors on by visiting

Camille Davidson Solo Exhibition “Favorite Pieces” – In the West Gallery

 March 7  – March 31

 #3 DavidsonCamille.Waterlilies

River Arts invites the public to view a solo show of vibrant encaustic work by Brunswick artist and teacher, Camille Davidson in the West Gallery.  Camille will also be teaching a one-day workshop in encaustics at River Arts on April 19. The exhibition will run through March 31.

The exhibition consists of over 35 works – Camille’s “favorites” from the following three series: The Tree House series-forest through the trees from my tree house studio in Readfield, The Other Side of the Bridge series- where I move through the lily pads inmy kayak and The Stone Stories series- inspired by an artist residency in Nova Scotia on the Baie St Marie ion 2013.

Camille Davidson graduated from MECA in 1987 with the Florence Lief award as the “most promising women painter”. She has exhibited in Washington D.C. and midcoast Maine. Camille is the featured artist in Brunswick’s Summer Island Studio Gallery this April and she is currently preparing for a solo show at the Maine Jewish Museum in 2016.

Camille describes her work as ‘poetic renditions of nature’. She is moved by a place or sensation in nature where she makes quick sketches that she can later reference in her studio. Most of the paintings over the last several years have incorporated a combination of oils and encaustics. Layers of color, she scrapes away and builds up in order to achieve the effect of a specific time and place.


River Arts, open 10am-4pm Monday-Saturday and 10 – 2 on Sundays, is located at 241 US Route 1 (north), Damariscotta.   For information about the many exhibitions, classes, events and opportunities at River Arts, visit or call 563-1507 or stop in.



RIVER ARTs  “Innerscape” Exhibition

River Arts, a non- profit art center on Route 1 in Damariscotta invites the public to view  the new “Innerscape” exhibition juried by Michael Komanecky, chief curator of the Farnsworth.  The exhibition features over 90 works by 60 Maine artists.  There is wide variety of work in oil, pastel, encaustic, watercolor, fiber and acrylic as well as several sculptures. The exhibition dates are February 28th – March 27th.

Michael  K. Komanecky,  specialist in both American and European art, he has held curatorial positions at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Yale University Art Gallery, Phoenix Art Museum, Currier Museum of Art, and the Dayton Art Institute.  Komanecky has also served on grant review panels for the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities.  He has lectured and published widely, including exhibition catalogues with Oxford University Press, Yale University Press, and Skira Rizzoli.  His recent projects at the Farnsworth include one-person shows on the work of Robert Indiana, Alex Katz, and Paul Caponigro.  He is currently working on an exhibition entitled, “The Shakers:  From Mount Lebanon to the World,” in partnership with The Shaker Museum Mount Lebanon and The United Society of Shakers, Sabbathday Lake, Inc.”  That exhibition is scheduled to open on June 14, 2014.

Sample of the Work

River Arts, open 10am-4pm- Tuesday through Saturday and 10-2 on Sundays, is located at 241 US Route 1 (north), Damariscotta.   River Arts holds approximately 10 juried shows each year which are open to any artist who would like to enter work for jurying. The mission of River Arts is to nurture appreciation, encourage participation and provide opportunity in the arts. For information about the many classes, events and opportunities at River Arts, visit or call 563-1507.  


Black White Gray Exhibition Jan. 24 – Feb 22 – Juror, Bob Keyes

Sample of the Works

Juror’s Statement

As I drove up to Damariscotta from my home in Berwick to select work for “Black, White and Gray,” I was struck by the color of the day: Freshly fallen white snow blanketed the blacktop and the sides of the road, and the sky presented itself as a hovering bed of gray. Snowflakes fell the duration of my two-plus hour drive, bleaching out nearly all other colors but black, white and gray.

As it so often does in Maine, the natural attributes of our environment served as a perfect backdrop for this exhibition. My mood was full of color, but my world was defined by black and white.

I selected works for this exhibition based almost entirely on gut instinct. I did not study art history and have never worked as a studio artist. Generally speaking, I was not, and am not, obsessed by the technical aspects and processes of art making, although I did find myself getting close to many of these pieces to glean insight into the artist’s process. But my interest in and appreciation of the visual arts is based almost entirely on my response to the finished work. Does it stir my emotions? Does it remind me of a favorite place? Does it inspire a reaction? I allowed those responses to guide my selection process.

Before I made choices, I walked through the gallery twice, taking quick and sometimes detailed looks at all the pieces, which either were hung on the wall, propped on the floor or placed on a window sill. My first impression was wonder: So much work in so many media — drawing, painting, encaustic, photographic, sculptural and fabric.

On my next pass, I placed stickers on works that I instantly responded to in a positive way. These are pieces that I would gladly place in my home if I had the opportunity.

I went back again, adding to my selections with each gander. After I made 90 or so selections, I passed through one final time, mostly to confirm my instincts. It took me about 75 minutes to make these choices.

A note about color: At first, I chose a handful of pieces that included small bits of color. As I got closer to the final cuts, I eliminated some of the works that I had included in my early rounds. There were simply too many worthy works of art that adhered to the strict interpretation of the rules to include those that did not. I allowed a little latitude for a couple of pieces whose colors could be interpreted as shades of grey.

In my business, I know I’ve done my job when I cannot use all the material I have gathered during the reporting process. I feel better about my stories when an editor asks questions or instructs me to trim my word count.

I feel good about “Black, White and Grey” because I know how much I labored over my choices.

Bob Keyes

Arts writer, Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram

A Celtic Concert for Brigid’s Day – Feb 2 Music and lore celebrating the ancient Celtic festival of Imbolc


Sunday February 2, 2:00 at River Arts, Route 1 Damariscotta the folk duo Castlebay (Julia Lane & Fred Gosbee) presents a concert in celebration of the Celtic holiday of Imbolc, also known as St Brigid’s day. Celtic harp, guitar, fiddle, whistle and vocals interweave with Celtic lore and poetry.

Did you ever wonder why February 2 is designated as “Groundhog day” when the groundhog emerges from his burrow? This date is, in fact, an ancient Celtic holiday celebrating emergence from winter called Imbolc. The evidence left us by the early inhabitants of the British Isles indicates that they viewed the calendar year as a circle or wheel with fixed points determined by solar and lunar activity. In addition to the well-known solstices and equinoxes, the ancients marked the cross quarter days or halfway points between with appropriate celebration. Imbolc is half way between the winter solstice and the vernal equinox. The name is derived from Oi-melc or “ewe’s milk” as this is the time of lactating sheep.

Each quarter has a guardian and for Imbolc the guardian is the maiden Brigid. Her realm is the hearth, emergence and creativity. Represented as a maiden, she is transformed from the Cailleach, or crone, of winter and his herself known as a healer and midwife. She was so revered she became an Irish saint with whom many miracles are associated. Brigid is the patroness of all who awaken creativity through love and nurture the fire of inspiration to birth their ideas; smiths, artists, craftspeople, poets and musicians.

The music and lore of the ancient Celtic lands is alive with imagery associated with the turning points of the year and our relationship to the natural world. Castlebay’s program presents a vivid picture of these events and their significance today through music and poetry rich with symbols of the day – gentle spring rains, warm southwinds, hearthfires, transformation, crones and milkmaids, blacksmiths, magicians and poets. Come and enjoy an evening of mystical lore and musical merriment as Castlebay celebrates the turning of the winter season. Admission is $10. RiverArts phone (207) 563-1507

For more information, please contact


Abstract Exhibition

River Arts welcomes the public the to view the“Abstract” juried exhibition  Route 1 in Damariscotta.  The exhibition of 80 pieces of art, by 60 different artists from all over Maine, includes paintings and sculpture.  The exhibition will run through January 16th.

Juror for the Abstract Exhibition was Suzette McAvoy, director and curator of the Center for Maine Contemporary Art in Rockport. Suzette McAvoy has served as director and curator of CMCA since September 2010. She previously served as chief curator of the Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland, Maine, and has more than 30 years experience in the art field. She has lectured and written extensively on the art and artists of Maine, and has organized national traveling exhibitions of the work of Louise Nevelson, Alex Katz, Kenneth Noland, Lois Dodd, Karl Schrag, and Alan Magee. Ms. McAvoy received a B.A. in art history from William Smith College and an M.A. in museum studies from the Cooperstown Graduate Program. She lives in Belfast, Maine.

Sample of the Works

Juror’s Statement

“Abstraction allows man to see with his mind what he cannot physically see with his eyes… Abstract art enables the artist to perceive beyond the tangible, to extract the infinite out of the finite. It is the emancipation of the mind. It is an explosion into unknown areas.”

–Arshile Gorky

It was a great pleasure to serve as juror for the current exhibition “Abstract,” at River Arts. From the 189 works submitted, 80 were selected for inclusion in the exhibition. Among these, there is a wide range of styles, mediums, and scale represented, illustrating the broad thematic concept of abstraction.

Abstract art is analogous to music, in that it expresses emotional power through formal means–line, shape and color. Working abstractly requires the artist to reach within, to draw upon their own responses, in order to express outwardly the internal essence of things. Strong abstraction requires a solid grounding in composition, drawing and design, to engage the eye and provoke an emotive response from the viewer.

In 1913, the Amory Show in New York City introduced the American public to European abstract art. Early Maine modernists, such as John Marin, Marsden Hartley, and Marguerite and William Zorach brought to their images of Maine the influence of the Europeans, including the fractured space of cubism and the expressive colors of the Fauves. On the 100th anniversary of that transformative exhibition, it is fitting that we celebrate abstract art in Maine today.

Suzette McAvoy

Director, Center for Maine Contemporary Art

December 2013

Opening for “Celebrating Color” Exhibition – Fri., Nov. 15  5-7pm

River Arts welcomes the public to an evening of music, refreshments,  conversation, and art at its opening reception for the  “Celebrating Color” juried exhibition on Friday, November 15th  5-7 pm at its galleries on Route 1 in Damariscotta.  The exhibition of  over 120 pieces of art, by 90 different Maine artists  includes paintings, sculpture and fiber arts.  The exhibition will run through December 12th.

Gallery owner and artist, Bruce Busko, was the juror for this exhibition.  He is the owner and director of the Landing Gallery in Rockland.  Busko has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Pennsylvania State and Masters of Fine Arts in Painting and Print Making from the Pratt Institute.

Juror’s Statement

The exhibit’s title, “Celebrating Color”, influenced my choices in selecting artwork for this exhibit.  There was an abundance of great entries in all media. The River Arts community is rich and diversified with many talented artists.  I enjoyed seeing many artists’ work for the first time and I will look forward to meeting you at the opening.  My final selection of the maxium number of works did leave a number of wonderful works that were not able to be accepted for this exhibit.

 The works accepted into “Celebrating Color” all share the use of color to enhance the overall subject or design of each piece.  Color has been used in many different ways, varying from intense primaries to subtle, tonal variations.  Color is an unspoken language that instantly speaks to our emotions.  Color can become the most important element in the creation of compelling art.

When you come in to see the exhibit, you will feel the power and  exhilaration of colorful art.  Everyone has favorite colors and they become part of our persona.  With the leaves falling and losing their color during these very short Maine days, a cornucopia of color awaits to lift your spirits.

Yours in art,

Bruce Busko

Sample of the Work






Community Concert Series – 1st event for the season -

Nov. 9 at 7pm

This upcoming Saturday, Nov. 9 at 7 pm., we will have a recital of musicians from ages 8 to 50.Students of Ferdinand Liva, Kirsten Monke, Lydia Forbes, Cina McLean, and Kaity Newell will perform works from early Suzuki pieces, solo Bach, through Bartok Duos, through Stravinsky. It is a great opportunity for these students to have a chance to perform the works they practice for a live audience, it is a great finish to the learning process. River Arts is pleased to announce our 3rd Community Concert Series coordinated by Ferdinand Liva, of the DaPonte String Quartet

“Autumn” Exhibition

River Arts is inviting the public to view the newest exhibition, “Autumn” . The exhibition features 95 works in a variety of media by 60 artists from Portland to Belfast. The “Autumn” Exhibition will run through November 7th. Visitors will also be able to view the new exhibition in the West Gallery featuring Stonington’s William Landmesser. (see more below).

The juror for the “Autumn” exhibition is R. Keith Rendall, anartist with over 30 years of experience as well as owner of The R. Keith Rendall Fine Art Gallery, the newest addition to Wiscasset’s art scene at the site of the former Blooms store on Main Street. Rendall is a graduate of Kenyon College and has been the recipient of several prestigious awards.

A Sample of the Work


Opening Reception Oct 4th 5-7


  “Oil & Water” Exhibition

Meet artist William Landmesser and take in his solo show featuring Maine landscapes at the opening reception for his solo show at the River Arts West Gallery on Oct 4 from 5-7pm.    In his show “Oil and Water” running through Oct. 16,  Landmesser will be exhibiting works in graphite, charcoal, watercolor and oil, dispelling the idea that “oil and water don’t mix”.  Works in this exhibit range from Landmesser’s early period with its emphasis on loose, shape oriented plein-air paintings through a transition toward indirect studio painting based on life studies, to this summer’s “time-out” watercolors, the latter revolving around the artist’s frequent extra-curricular commitments.  With a little planning, the artist incorporates  “stopping and smelling the roses”  into life’s daily routine.

William Landmesser was born in Albany, New York, raised amid the visual beauty of the Adirondacks and New England.  A 1974 graduate of Dartmouth College, the artist has pursued a career in fine art for thirty-five years.  Past representation has included Hirschl & Adler Gallery (NYC), The Museum of Fine Arts (Houston, Texas), Artfellows (Belfast, Maine) The Gallery at Somes Sound (Somesville, Maine) and many others.  Since 1990 Mr. Landmesser and his family have lived in Stockton Springs, Maine.  He maintains his own gallery in a converted garage nestled on the peacefully wooded property.  To learn more about Landmesser’s paintings and to receive his e-newsletter, go to 

River Arts, open 10am-4pm- Tuesday through Saturday and 10-2 on Sundays, is located at 241 US Route 1 (north), Damariscotta.   River Arts holds approximately 10 juried shows each year which are open to any artist who would like to enter work for jurying. The mission of River Arts is to nurture appreciation, encourage participation and provide opportunity in the arts. For information about the many classes, events and opportunities at River Arts, visit or call 563-1507.



Inuit Art and Culture – Lecture by Kerry Rodriguez

Sunday, October 6  4-5:30

Who are the Inuit? What kind of art do they make? Why do you want to go to the Arctic where it is SO cold? Those are all questions posed to Kerry Rodriguez ever since 1993 when she began traveling to Baffin Island in the Eastern Canadian Arctic.  Join Kerry for a talk that will include many examples of Inuit stonecut prints, carvings, drawings, fabric art and tools. How the art is made as well as the themes that are incorporated in the art will be discussed.  Inuit stonecut printmaking will be of special interest to printmakers in the area, since the relief image soapstone block is inked in a manner that is quite unique.$5 fee.  Offered in conjunction with CLC Adult Ed                               


Forum to Focus on Visual Arts in the Community

            Strolling down a street in a coastal Maine town one is bound to see nearly as many art galleries as restaurants and gift shops.  What role do artists play in the cultural vitality of a community? How successful have they been in generating revenue in the current economic climate? These are some of the questions to be explored in a forum on the future role of the visual arts in Lincoln County specifically, and in other Maine communities generally, to be held Tues., Oct. 8 at noon at the Lincoln Theater in Damariscotta. The program is jointly sponsored by the Lincoln Theater, River Arts and the Damariscotta-Newcastle Rotary.

            The three distinguished panelists to lead the discussion are: Mark Bessire, Director of the Portland Museum of Art, Christopher Brownawell, Director of the Farnsworth Museum and Suzette McAvoy, Director of the Center for Maine Contemporary Art in Rockport. Questions for inclusion in this interactive discussion are encouraged, and can be sent to

            Bessire became Director of the Portland Museum of Art in 2009. Previously, he was Director of the Bates College Museum of Art wherehe was also Chair of the Committee on Public Art.

Brownawell joined the Farnsworth Art Museum as Director in 2010. He has spent the first few years strengthening the institution’s financial position guiding the museum through a $9 million dollar endowment campaign and rebranding effort. In 2013 he guided the museum through a complete reinstallation of the collection and restoration of the Homestead House.

McAvoy has served as director and curator of CMCA since 2010. She previously served as chief curator of the Farnsworth Art Museum and has more than 30 years experience in the art and museum field. She has lectured and written extensively on the art and artists of Maine.

The forum is timed to coincide with The Lincoln Theater showing of and HD series of event films on famous European artists. The first, on Oct. 10, is about the 17th century artist Jan Vermeer; the next, on Oct. 17 is on the French impressionist painter Edouard Manet; and the third, on Oct. 24, Edvard Munch, 20th century painter famous for his painting, “The Scream.” All will be shown at 2 and 7 p.m.

The thrust to organize the forum came from a recent Lincoln County Regional Planning Commission survey of arts and culture which revealed some startling numbers, one of which was that $15.5 million in revenue was earned by arts and cultural industries in the county in 2012. However, a majority of such businesses experienced a downturn in 2012. Another impetus is the recent push bysome in congress to drastically cut government support of the arts and humanities.

The program is free and open to the public. For more information, call John Van Siclen at 563-3254.

Ralph Hassenpflug Exhibition

at River Arts West Gallery – thru Wednesday Oct 2


Ralph Hassenpflug  and River Arts invite the public to the opening reception for his solo exhibition in the River Arts West Gallery, Friday, September 20th   5-7 pm.  At his show at River Arts, Hassenpflug will present groups of new work from 2013. Those will include the subjects Maine, NYC, figure, solitude and others. The exhibition will run through October 2nd.

Ralph Hassenpflug was born in West Germany during the years of the Cold War. Besides a college education in French and German literature at the Université François Rabelais in Tours, France, and at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe Universitaet in Frankfurt, Germany, his only formal art education consists of classes and workshops at the International Center of Photography in NYC and the Maine Media Workshops in Rockport, Maine.

Ralph self-educates through the study of 20th century masters. He feels moved and inspired by the work of poetic photographers like Francesca Woodman, Susan Burnstine and Keith Carter.

Hassenpflug immigrated to the United States in 2002 and settled on the coast of Maine from where he travels extensively.

 Over the past six months Ralph’s work has been shown at a dozen juried shows in Maine.

The Maine Photography Show has accepted his work into their 2013 exhibition. He has been published in Maine Art Scene Magazine and by Stone Voices Magazine. Ralph is currently under contract for a photo book about sacred places in Brittany, France A sample of his work can be found on his website





“Artists’ Choice” Exhibition – through Sept 26

The exhibition, which will run until September 26, consists of over 100 works by 80 Maine artists. Visitors to this opening reception will also enjoy the opening for the River Arts West Gallery Exhibition “Pug Group” featuring the works of 7 local ceramic artists.

The show being presented at the River Arts main gallery at 241 US Route 1 in Damariscotta, represents works selected by the artists and submitted for jurying. This show, without the usual theme, includes work in a wide variety of subject matter, media and styles (including photography, sculpture, collage and abstract, among others).

Critic and art historian Martica Sawin of NYC and Harpswell, Maine who was the juror for this exhibition, has been writing on contemporary art since the 1950′s when she was a contributing editor of Arts and New York correspondent for Art International. Martica chaired the department of history and criticism of art and design at Parsons School of Design for thirty years. She is the author of Surrealism in Exile and the Beginning of the New York School and of many books and museum catalog essays on contemporary art and artists.


The invitation to serve as juror for the River Arts Gallery’s August exhibition came as a welcome opportunity for me to reflect on several questions that for me are always on­-going. To what extent are artistic styles disseminated from urban centers and consequently tend toward uniformity nationally and, these days, even globally? Or are similarities over a widespread geographic range more likely a reflection of the broader zeitgeist? Despite the leveling effect of the information age and universal technological change is it possible to discern regional stylistic traits? Is there art today that has its roots in a sense of place?

In the light of these questions I would make the following observations after viewing the more than 200 works set out for my scrutiny: a) while certain themes predominated, namely seascapes and pine-studded landscapes, there was a rich diversity of approaches to art-making and a willingness to experiment with media and techniques that made for a dynamic viewing process which is what one hopes for in an exhibition; b) on second and third circuits of the galleries the artists increasingly stood out as individuals—different hands moving the brush or molding the clay, different degrees of subjectivity or objectivity, different relationships to existing art, and of course a range of touches from bravura laying on of impasto to the most delicate calligraphy; c) with very few exceptions there was a lack of works with social or political implications, while a noticeable trait was the desire to push the limits of whatever medium was being used, in other words an emphasis on technique—this was especially true in the case of photography where digital printing techniques were much in vogue. As far as the question of regionalism goes: if I had arrived at the gallery blindfolded might I have thought I was in Texas or even Ohio? Pine trees aside, something about the confident individualism of each artist, the absence of herd instinct, and the avoidance of fashionable clichés, and maybe the prevailing unpretentiousness would have said to me

I was asked to divulge my criteria which is hard to do since choice comes down to a certain prickly feeling at the back of the neck, but on subsequent viewings the following might come in to play: integrity—no slick tricks; authenticity, that is, a recognizable conviction on the part of the artist; mastery of the medium including openness to its potential; and a willingness to venture where others have not trod. Martica Sawin

Black and White Photography Solo Show Opening at River Arts

 Friday, Sept. 6th 5-7 pm

 Vincent Frazzetta’s   “Close To Home

 Vincent Frazzetta and River Arts invite the public to the opening reception for his solo exhibition in the River Arts West Gallery, Friday, September 6   5-7 pm.  The exhibition will offer a wide range of black and white images: marine, interiors, Mainers, abstracts, a few documentaries, and a special corner of the gallery with several of his tender BarbaraAnne/Alzheimer’s series images. The exhibition will run through September 18.

 Vincent’s photographs are made using traditional methods: film cameras and hand processing film and prints, and as he says, “ the tactile and deliberate nature of the traditional film process, and for me, black and white images cut to the essence of the subject”.  His photographs creatively record their subjects in high-contrast compositions, often with ironic or complex features.  His wife’s images are documents of courage and humor, as she struggled to make a good life with a terrible diagnosis.

 Though late to photography, it is for Vincent both a joy and a passion.  “Choices in photography abound, and I have journeyed through cameras and themes, and from color to monochrome.  I am now firmly settled on the challenges of black and white film photography; processing and printing at my Damariscotta, Maine darkroom.” A prolific reader and photographer, Vincent is most influenced by the NYC work of Maine photographer Berenice Abbott, Walker Evans’ Farm Security Agency projects, and David Plowden’s splendid photographs of contemporary rural and working America.

 Vincent has shown locally in Bath, Boothbay, Damariscotta, Wiscasset, Brunswick, Bowdoinham, and Bristol since 2006 and received the Ike Royer Memorial Scholarship for Traditional Black and White Photography (Maine Media Workshops) in 2009, and was published with a Juried Award, in B&W Magazine, in February 2012.

 “Maine Icons and Special Places, II” Exhibition

July 19  – August 22, 2013

River Arts is inviting the public to view its new exhibition, “Maine Icons and Special Places”.The exhibition features artwork portraying the artists’ sense of place in Maine through their favorite locations and landscapes, as well as iconic images of Maine life in sculpture, painting, photography and collage. Over 130 works by 90 artists from the Midcoast and beyond will be on display with all media represented, including photography, and sculpture.  The exhibition will run through August 22rd.

The juror for this exhibition was Bruce Brown. Portland native Bruce Brown has curated more than 200 exhibitions at the Center for Maine Contemporary Art in Rockport from 1987-2006 and as curator emeritus continues to organize exhibitions on its behalf from time to time as well as at other venues as an independent curator.  In February he joined in partnership with photographer Jon Edwards and the Maine Media Workshops and College in Rockport to open PhoPa, a non-profit  gallery specializing in Maine photography and works on paper at 132 Washington Avenue in Portland. Brown is also known as a collector of contemporary American prints which have been exhibited most notably at the Portland Museum of Art, the Colby College Museum of Art and Maine photography.

River Arts holds 10 themed, open, juried exhibitions per year—with some of Maine’s most prominent art community members as jurors.  Over 600 different Maine artists have exhibited in these shows.  The gallery program creates opportunity for artists to have their work selected, engage in the gallery process and sell their work.  Over 7,000 people visited the gallery and participated in events and workshops last year.

A Sample of the Work

Juror’s Statement

Responding to iconic images of Maine as well as favorite locations whether it is a
land or seascape,  or other familiar Maine experiences  known to us all  offers
special challenges to artists regardless of medium.  To express something about
Maine that is visually fresh, thoughtfully convincing and eye-catching is no easy

The submission of 260 works for consideration speaks both to the importance of
the exhibition’s theme to artists and as well as the vitality of the visual arts in
this region  by the  90 artists represented here.   Originally asked to limit the
number of works to 100, I want to extend special thanks to River Arts  for its
willingness to include an additional 30  works which merit the audience’s
attention.  And, as is often mentioned with many juried shows, the suggestion of an
accompanying Salon de Refuse exhibition would reveal additional works of interest. I
thank River Arts for inviting me to curate this exhibition and to all 104artists
who submitted work for consideration.  It was a joy.

Bruce Brown
CMCA curator emeritus


Barbara Applegate – painting demonstration – August 7 at 4 pm

“Clearing Horizon”oil 8 x 10

 Barbara Applegate will be conducting an artist’s demonstration, painting for an audience as part of the Damariscotta/Newcastle 1st Wednesday Art Walk festivities, August 7 at 4pm at River Arts. This will be a great opportunity for all those who love Barbara’s artwork, to watch her paint a marine painting from start.  The event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

Crashing surf, dark water and jagged rocks are the simple elements of nature that national award winning artist Barbara Applegate brings to life in her beautifully executed marine paintings.  Trained in watercolor Applegate made the transition to oils after moving to Maine in 1996.  “I love the deep rich colors and creamy texture of oils……they are perfect for painting the pounding surf after a storm when all you can hear is crashing waves and the gulls overhead.”

Represented by galleries from Maine to California, Applegate’s paintings are found in hundreds of private and corporate collections.   The Barbara Applegate Gallery is open daily June through October in Bristol Mills on the Pemaquid Peninsula.  Examples of her paintings can be view at

River Arts is located at 241 US Route 1 (north) just after N.C. Hunt Building Supplies.  River Arts is a non-profit art center in Damariscotta with year round art exhibitions, classes and events.  For more information, visit the website or call 563-1507.






Joan Burger Siem –“Under the Surface” Exhibition  

at River Arts “West Gallery”  

Opening  July 19  5-7pm


Visitors to River Arts will be able to enjoy two exhibitions opening simultaneously, “Under the Surface” featuring the work of Joan Siem of Camden will open on July 19  5-7 along with the Maine Icons exhibition.  Along with paintings Joan will be showing a wide range of assemblages. Her images start off with a “welcoming” familiarity that expands to lead the viewer forward to a new, less familiar place where rediscovery and unexpected combinations exist. Her exhibition will run through July 31.


In the three-dimensional mixed media pieces, Joan attempts to give new life to things that already exist, saved items from earlier generations, with the potential for a new chance to be relevant. Though out of use and out of date, they are filled with history. These materials, with their history, are shredded, dyed, knotted, and printed on etc., then made into something totally different…a fusion of now and then. Honoring the past, they give us a kind of shelter in return.

 Joan Siem received her BFA and MA at Stanford University where she studied painting/printmaking under Nathan Olivera.  She has exhibited widely in the US as well as in Japan, Denmark, Spain, Finland and Norway. Joan lives in Camden with her husband Trond.

River Arts, open 10am-4pm Tuesday-Saturday and 10 – 2 on Sundays, is located at 241 US Route 1 (north), Damariscotta.   For information about membership and the many exhibitions, classes, events and opportunities at River Arts, visit , call 563-1507 or stop in.



June 7 – July 11

 River Arts in Damariscotta, is inviting the public to its annual Member Exhibition opening  and reception, Friday, June from 5-7 The exhibition, which will hang until July 11th, will display 2D and 3D work by 90 Maine artists from around the region.

Click here for the review published in the Lincoln County News

 A Sample of the Work


’ll visit and the subjects we’ll be working from.

After a brief slide show, there will be a simple demonstration of some of the methods and materials that Kris will bring to her class; you’ll even have an opportunity to ‘play around’ a bit yourselves. Everything will be provided, including refreshments. Plenty of opportunity for questions, ideas and discussion. All are welcome.

Kris was born in New England, educated at the Maine College of Art, The Rhode Island School of Design and the University of Pennsylvania. As an University of Maine professor, she teaches Drawing, Painting and Design at the undergraduate level. She has traveled throughout Europe, living for a time in Eastern Europe while teaching in the Hungarian Public Schools. In 1997, she founded Project Kalocsa, a cultural exchange between Kalocsa, Hungary and Befast, Maine. She now lives in Liberty.


“Dreams, Reverie, Reflection” Exhibition – May 3 – 31

River Arts invites the public to visit the new juried exhibition entitled “Dreams, Reverie and Reflection” Friday, May 3rd from 5 – 7 pm. The exhibit “Dreams, Reverie and Reflection” features art describing dreams, fantasy or deeply reflective moods, through any genre: abstract art, imaginative sculpture, contemplative scenic scenes, etc. Over 127 works by 68 artists from Swanville to Lewiston are be on display with all media represented, including photography, and sculpture. The show runs from May 3rd through May 31st.

Juror for “Dreams, Reverie and Reflection” is John Sideli. Sideli has been making art and selling fine antiques for the last 45 years. He was a partner in Sideli & Sideli Inc. a show management company mounting antiques shows and special exhibits throughout the eastern United States. He has shown in galleries throughout the new England area, in NYC and in London and is currently represented by Hirschl & Adler Galleries in NYC who will mount a one man show of his work opening Sept 19th. Sideli owns and operates John Sideli Fine Art in Wiscasset, Me. where he shows his work as well as fine American antiques and African Art.

A sample of the works


EKPHRASIS: Art & Poetry: May 23, 2013


River Arts, mid-Coast’s premier member-supported arts organization, will host a special evening program which celebrates the creation and interpretation of works of local artists, into the language of poetry, as well as music and dance. The event will be held at the new River Arts gallery on Route 1 from 7 to 9 p.m. It is free and open to the community, although donations are welcomed.

Entitled “Exphrasis”, the event will showcase 17 works of art within the current “Dreams, Reverie, Reflections” Exhibition at the gallery – pairing an individual piece of the artwork with a poet, a musician or a dancer, each of whom will create an artistic expression of what a particular piece says to him or her. “It is not just a reflection of what someone sees; rather it is an emotional creative response,” says poet George Van Deventer, a Bristol poet who organized this extraordinary evening.

EKPHRASIS is an emotional identity with a subject between the eye and ear – a discourse of influences between the senses. It is an ancient cultural collaboration, stemming from the Greek ek“out” and phrasis– speak, or to speak out). Maine poets, as well as a musician and a dancer, will interpret the works selected by Van Deventer and River Arts executive director, Linda Morkeski.

As one example, Van Deventer has created a brief poem based on his emotional response to a photograph in the show called “Memories”, a dreamlike capturing of a decaying barn, by artist Anna Shaw of Newcastle. His words, which also evoke his own memories of having a dairy farm years ago, read in part:

Without the cows
the forest moved in on us.
The grass grew.
Vines, unimaginable,
lifted their bodies
crawling the walls of the barn.

The poets reading original works during the evening are: Ted Bookey, Readfield; Marianna Tupper, Yarmouth; Sally Woolf-Wade, Pemaquid; Elizabeth Potter, Round Pond; Robin Merrill, Madison; David Moreau, Wayne; Ken Rosen, Portland; Judith Robbins, Whitefield; Bruce Spang, Falmouth; Claire Hersom, Winthrop; Bob MacLaughlin, Warren, Jay Frenzel, Wayne; Henry Braun, Weld; Anne Mullin, Pemaquid, as well as Van Deventer himself.

The dancer is Shanna Bloomstein of Belfast (originally from Freedom), and the musician is Stanley Keach of Rome.

Mr. Keach is an internationally-known Bluegrass songwriter, whose songs have been recorded by some of the biggest names in Bluegrass. He performs with the Sandy River Ramblers and Maranacook String Band. The video of his recently-written song “What the North Pond Hermit Knows” has had over 5,000 hits on youtube in just 3 weeks; was featured on the Bill Green’s Maine(WCSH-6) show that explored the North Pond Hermit phenomenon; was the focus of articles in the Waterville Morning Sentinel, Kennebec Journal, Portland Press Herald, Lewiston Sun-Journal, and the Bangor Daily News; and the song will be featured in a documentary about the Hermit that during the Maine International Film Festival this summer

Ms. Bloomstein began dancing professionally as a teenager and continued her studies at Hampshire College. She was with a dance group in NYC for 4 years, and has performed and collaborated throughout the country and abroad. She is now working as a physical therapy assistant, and teaches dance and yoga to children and adults. She also teaches at the Belfast Dance Studio, Unity College, and is guest artist at mid-Coast Maine Elementary schools and hospitals and also performs throughout New England.

River Arts Community Concert

Saturday,  May 25 at 7 pm – At the Lincoln Home

Open to the public, free.

River Arts, MidCoast Maine’s premier member-supported arts organization, will present its final Community Concert of the season on Saturday, May 25. These concerts are free and open to the public. The performance will be held at the Lincoln Home in Newcastle at 7pm.

This event has been orchestrated by Fernando Liva of the renowned DaPonte String Quartet. Performers will include local music students of various ages and abilities – from 6-year olds to teenagers, to University of Southern Maine music students. These budding musicians will play, variously, on the violin, piano, or guitar, performing works from the baroque to 20th century works, including Bach, Villa-Lobos, T. H. Bayly and Suzuki.

River Arts presents these concerts as part of its continuing vision to be a vital part of our community. “The chance for players to perform for a live audience is an important part of the learning process and an invaluable tool for teachers,” says Liva. For more information, contact River Arts Gallery, (207) 563 1507.

Lincoln Academy Student Art Show
at River Arts thru April 26


For the 4th year River Arts Gallery will exhibit the best work from the advanced art classes at Lincoln Academy.  Art students have been working hard all year in preparation for this exciting opportunity to show their work in a professional gallery.  Please come by, check out the work, meet the artists, enjoy refreshments and help celebrate our students’ talents… All work will be for sale.

“Faces and Figures—Animals Included” Exhibition

 Ends April 4, 2013

River Arts invites the public to  its exhibition entitled “Figures and invites Faces—Animals Included”. The exhibition expands the traditional genre of figurative art and includes both human subjects and/or animals—since both are expressive in gesture, expression and movement. The show ends tomorrow April 4th. Over 120 works by 70 artists will be on display with all media represented, including abstract work, photography and sculpture.

Juror for “Figures and Faces—Animals Included” is Robyn Holman, curator of the highly-esteemed Atrium Gallery at University of Southern Maine’s Lewiston-Auburn campus. Ms. Holman directs a creative and varied series of year-round exhibitions featuring works by Maine artists.

Sample of the Works
Juror’s Statement
It was an honor to jury the River Arts Faces and Figures exhibition. The definition of “faces and figures” here is a broad one — form or face of humans or animals. The response to the call-for-entries gave us over 200 works, from very exciting abstract pieces to beautiful representational works  — and everything in between. Open juried exhibitions are an opportunity to welcome all artistic voices, resulting in installations of richness and broad diversity in technique, media, and themes — this one with 215 works entered by 92 artists certainly meets that description.

I was thrilled to see a good selection of traditional life drawings and paintings, both figures and portraits – they capture the essence of the artist seeing, interpreting, and recording. These works have a freshness, immediacy, and visual poetry that can only be achieved by direct observation. Those traditional skills will never go out of style.

I also studied those works done from or with imagination, with the artist exploring materials, their texture, colors, and harmony, looking for a “rightness” of composition. And as much as I enjoy traditional methods, I’m always eager to find works that explore new ways of expression — digital imagery combined with collage, assemblage and found object sculpture, fiber pieces, works that push paint around, unexpected color combinations, and more.

Portraits of children and pets can be difficult in juried exhibits — some tend to be sentimental, personal, reaching out to us with the preciousness of childhood or kittenhood (they are, after all, someone’s child or family pet), but I found an inspiring selection of cats going beyond cats, dogs going beyond dogs, and small children beyond cute and precious.  The successful ones show skill in depicting gesture, mood, and attitude, relationships, and technical proficiency with media. I’ve completely changed my mind about cat paintings now and can imagine a fabulous exhibit of nothing but cats. Or dogs.

Presentation makes a huge difference in how professional work appears to a jury.  From precisely cut clean mats to frames that fit the work in style and proportion, these things matter, especially if artists want to sell their work.  I’m an advocate of using archival materials — your work is worth it.

Congratulations to the artists and staff who make this exhibition possible.

Robyn Holman
Curator, Atrium Art Gallery
University of Southern Maine, Lewiston-Auburn

Robyn Holman has over 30 years of experience as a curator, specializing in exhibitions of traditional figure drawing and painting, contemporary crafts, historical subjects, and those that combine science and art. She is the curator for the Atrium Art Gallery at the University of Southern Maine’s Lewiston-Auburn Campus.


Website Workshop, Monday March 25th

River Arts in Damariscotta has teamed up with the Maine Arts Commission to deliver a workshop that focuses on website construction and the importance of analytical feedback in improving your marketing outreach. The event will take place on Monday, March 25 at 5 pm.

With so much of today’s messaging appearing online, there is an ever-increasing need to make sure that your online presence is the best that it can be. There are simple things that can be done to ensure the quality of your online representation. To help explain these methods, Darrell Bulmer and Steve Milligan from the Maine Arts Commission will share their expertise and experience in website development and marketing.

Some of the topics that will be discussed will be structuring your website and information in the most sensible way, and using free analytical tools to track this structure to ensure it is working. Analytics are powerful in that they allow the user to adjust layouts and content to derive the maximum of benefits.   This workshop will consist of clear examples of successful website strategies, the dos and dont’ss of design, an explanation and demonstration of free analytical tools and finally an extended chance for you to ask your questions that relate to websites and online marketing.

The workshop takes place at the new home of River Arts, at 241 US Route 1 in Damariscotta, Maine. You can contact Linda Morkeski at or by phone at 207/563-1507.


Bus Trip to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum – March 14, 2013

Cure your winter blues with a visit to the Gardner’s lush courtyard,which will be filled with orchids and stunning yellow weeping jasmines. Flowers in the courtyard brighten in the low spring light from the windows of the Spanish Cloister. Orchids will be everywhere, with more than 50 lady’s slippers, large showy Cymbidium, Cattleya, Phalaenopsis, andOncidium.

Of special interest will be the new addition to the museum and the exhibit:

Anders Zorn: A European Artist Seduces America

Anders Zorn: A European Artist Seduces America will investigate how Zorn became an international artist who set the groundwork for modern art, reveal his rapidly developing style from 1890 to the early 1900s, and his variety of subjects. The exhibition will be organized in five different segments, including “Zorn and Gardner,” “Society Portraits,” “In the City,” “Country Life,” and “Artist’s Studios.” Twenty-four paintings are featured together with twenty-two drawings, photographs, letters, and gifts that Anders Zorn gave Isabella Gardner in 1894.

Participants can also visit the Boston Museum of Fine Arts if they choose to.

Bus will leave Damariscotta at 8AM and return at 7PM.

Cost:  $65 members, $70 non-members.  Museum tickets are not included in the price. Seating limited.  Reservations – required, first-come, first served.  email:  or call 563-1507

River Arts “Still Life and Beyond” Exhibition
February 1 -28 2013

River Arts invites the public to the exhibition “Still Life and Beyond” February 1st – 28th at its newly-expanded and renovated gallery at 241 Route One, Damariscotta, next to N.C. Hunt Lumber. The theme of the exhibition goes beyond the traditional “still life” genre to include all art that explores objects as its main focus. The show runs from Feb. 1st to Feb. 28th.

The exhibition includes 124 works by artists from the Midcoast and around the state in a wide variety of media: collage, photography, sculpture, assemblage, fiber arts as well as oil, acrylic, and pastel.

Jurors for “Still Life and Beyond” are Dennis and Marty Gleason, the well-known owners of the Gleason Fine Art Galleries in Boothbay Harbor and Portland.

Read the review -

Sample of the Works

River Arts Community Concert – February 23 at 7 pm

River Arts Presents Youth Concert

River Arts is pleased to announce the second concert in an exciting, year-long series of community concerts coordinated by Dino Liva, of the DaPonte String Quartet – Saturday, February 23rd at 7 pm at River Arts, 241 US Route 1, Damariscotta. Kaity Newell, will present an evening of fiddling with The Oyster Creek Fiddlers, students from her class. The forty minute performance will include performances by several young fiddlers. They will be performing selections representing the styles of fiddling which evolved here in Maine, the traditional music of our Scots-Irish, French, and Scandinavian ancestors, sets of lively Jigs, Reels, and more.

The performance is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served and donations are welcome. Upcoming concert dates for the series are April 6, and May 25

3rd Annual Mobius Student Art Show
Opening Reception – Friday, March 1st
2:00 to 5:00 p.m.

“Black, White, Gray” Exhibition, Juror’s Statement and Sample of Work

 River Arts invites the public to view the exhibition “Black, White, Gray,” from Friday, December 28 – January 24, at its newly-expanded and refurbished gallery and arts center at 241 Route 1, Damariscotta, next to N.C. Hunt Lumber. .  More than 120 works in a wide variety of media, created by over 60 artists are  on exhibit.

Juror for “Black, White, Gray” is Robert Colburn, curator and manager of the Bayview Galleries in Brunswick and Camden. From a family of professional artists, Robert Colburn grew up in Maine and decided at an early age to pursue art as a career. In addition to his busy career at Bayview Galleries, he remains active as a painter, exhibiting at Asymmetrick Arts, Cape Cottage Gallery, the Clown, Bayview Galleries and many other locations. Citing his study at Bowdoin College with artists such as Thomas Cornell, Ann Harris and Anne Lofquist as important experiences, Colburn describes his present artistic philosophy as a mixture inspired by both old and contemporary masters. In his own work, he values working on site, painting works and creating studies for paintings in the natural world.

Juror’s Statement

Robert Colburn -Black, White, and Gray Exhibition

December 2012

As students we often begin our studies in the arts with a limited palette; a range of pencils, some charcoal, pen and ink perhaps. As we progress, color is added to the equation and because of our innate ability to experience the world in color, we often set aside the idea of working in black and white and the tonal range mixing the two provides.

The selection of work in this exhibition is broad and deep.  Indeed, simply organizing it into cohesive groups took some time.  During that process, certain themes began to emerge: fanciful landscapes, figurative pieces, botanicals, mystical or ritualistic works like masks, abstract sculpture and photography.  While this was a useful way to get things in order, what was truly delightful was seeing how each work responded to the piece beside it as the show was coming together.

The strongest works in the exhibition were those which didn’t simply remove color from the equation.  These pieces explored the very nature of “blackness” and “whiteness”.  Some used density of application to heighten the physicality of the piece while others used incredibly delicate line work to create subtle tonal shifts and exciting textural moments.  In some of the sculptural works, the color became a unifying moment which allows the beautiful simplicity of the forms to present themselves to the viewer.  In a few figurative works the idea of black and white went beyond the medium and became about race and culture.

The weaker works often suffered from a double whammy – the absence of chroma left few hiding places for a lack of technical finesse and formal compositional strength.  The upside of this is that it reminds all of us artists how critically important it is to keep at the practice of drawing and sketching as much as we can.  For painters, the benefits of tonal studies has been known for centuries, though too often this practice is overlooked for the immediacy of working en plein air.  Artists should not only be comfortable working with all of the tools available to them, but aware of the benefits each tool can bring to their practice, even if the bulk of their production doesn’t necessarily rely on each tool every time.

There is a lot of work to see in this show, and it could be tempting to breeze through the wonderful new exhibition spaces and only see the organization: portraits over here, drawings over there, etc.  The joy of viewing this exhibition is to witness how many ways there are to interpret the theme.  Take some time to think about how each piece has addressed it and what it says about the nature of some of the fundamental building blocks of art.  I would bet that before long, you will forget that the show is made up of works rendered in “just” black and white and will be reminded of the incredible variety we as humans can create with the simplest means at our disposal.

Sample of the work



River Arts is open 10am-4pm- Tuesday through Saturday and 10-2 on Sundays.   River Arts holds approximately 10 juried shows each year which are open to all Maine artists. The mission of River Arts is to nurture appreciation, encourage participation and provide opportunity in the arts. For information about the many classes, events and opportunities at River Arts, visit or call 563-1507.


Daponte String Quartet performs at River Arts, Saturday, January 12

The DaPonte String Quartet will be performing at 7pm this Saturday evening, January 12th at River Arts Gallery on US Route 1 in Damariscotta.  The abbreviated program will include works by Haydn, Bach, and De Prez as well as a new work, a jazz fugue by Earl Stuart.  Also on the program is Davis Boardman, student of Lydia Forbes performing a solo Prelude by Bach.  This is the first of the River Arts Community Concert Series this year.  Other dates for the series are February 23, April 6, and May 25.

The DaPonte String Quartet performs and teaches all over the U.S. and around the world. They have appeared in France, Scotland, Canada, and more than twenty American states. Their performances have been broadcast over nation-wide radio and television programs in both the United States and Canada. They have received awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Philadelphia Musical Fund Society, the Music Teachers National Association, Chamber Music America, and have participated in several of the nation’s most prestigious concert series to rave reviews. For more information about the quartet – please check their website –


River Arts

“What’s New?” Exhibition

River Arts in Damariscotta, is inviting the public to its “What’s New” Exhibition opening and reception, Friday, November 23 from 5-7. The exhibition, which will run through  December 20th, will display works by local Maine artists in a wide variety of media including paintings, pastels, sculpture, photography and assemblages and  explores the idea of “the new,” whether as a subject or as an expression of an artist’s new approach, method, materials, or genre. The show marks the first at River Arts’ new headquarters at the old tavern complex on Route One, next to N.C. Hunt Lumber, and will offer viewers an open house tour of its new, expanded quarters.

Juror for the show is artist Martha Miller, a Carina House Monhegan residency award winner, Maine College of Art faculty member, and well-known artist in over two dozen solo and invitational exhibitions in Maine, New Hampshire and California. Her work is in the Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation collection and the Aschenbach collection for San Francisco Museums. Among her recent solo shows are exhibitions at CMCA, University of New England, Maine College of Art, Katz Library at UMA, Mast Cove Galleries in Kennebunkport and several shows of former Carina House award recipients. Martha Miller has pursued an especial love of portraiture since her teens, developing a bold and expressive style and a flair for exciting mixed media.  She is a graduate of Maine College of Art.

The show is being presented at the River Arts gallery at 241 US Route 1 (north) in Damariscotta. River Arts is open 10am-4pm- Tuesday through Saturday and 10-2 on Sundays.   River Arts holds approximately 10 juried shows each year which are open to all Maine artists. The mission of River Arts is to nurture appreciation, encourage participation and provide opportunity in the arts. For information about the many classes, events and opportunities at River Arts, visit or call 563-1507.


A sample of the work



Stone Carving Workshops with Andy Seferlis

October 1-5  10-2pm $300

for: beginners, or practiced hands.
Bring your own stone or let us know if you need one. Limestone and/or marble can be provided at cost. Sizes and shapes will vary. If you have tools, bring them. Tools will be provided if you don’t own them: chisels, hammers, power tools, angle grinders, extension cords, small compressors. Bring a pencil, notebook, charcoal, gloves, safety glasses, dust masks, all available at your local hardware.
Addictive, tiring and satisfying.
Relaxed and comfortable environment. You will enjoy it!

Andy Seferlis, a second generation stonecarver from Washington, DC and New Harbor, Me, continues to conduct this workshop that , at its inception, was led by his father, Constantine Seferlis.  For almost twenty years Andy has been working with the Smithsonian Institution engaged in the ongoing restoration of the headquarters building, the “Castle” on the National Mall in Washington.  He demonstrates annually at the National Building Museum’s fall program “The Big Build”, and is involved with carving and restoration commissions in and around the greater Washington, DC area.  Seferlis also leads art and architectural study tours of many of the east coast’s major cities, with one for the members of the River Arts community coming up in winter of 2013


Title: Birch Bark Ornaments – December 1

9:30  to 12.  $30 members $40 non-members  Materials fee: $5.00

Max number of people: 12      Place: Gallery building on Route 1

This workshop will offer participants the opportunity to create up to three  holiday ornaments using birch bark provided by the instructor. You will learn various ways to fold and cut the birch bark to create unique pieces of art suitable for gift giving or to use in your own home. Participants are encouraged to bring in any dried flowers or other scrap materials they may have at home to incorporate into their creations.






“Artists’ Choice” Exhibition at River Arts

October 19 – November 15, 2012

River Arts in Damariscotta invites the public to its current exhibition titled “Artists’ Choice.” The show encourages artists to select submissions that best express their own approach to art. This focus reflects jurors’ frequent comment that art should present an artists’ own individuality in subject, treatment and technique—and not simply be an imitation of popular styles.

“Artists’ Choice” will run from October 19th to Nov. 15th.




Save the Date:

Saturday, Oct 27 – 5 pm-7pm

Artist’s Potluck


OPENING at Gallery II for Kathleen Mack – Friday, October 26 5-8


Exhibition dates – October 24 – October 31st

Painter and sculptor Kathleen Mack is known for her intense explorations of her eclectic interests, from the construction of bridges to the images of the Commedia Del Arte.

The artist will open an exhibition of painting and sculpture on October 24 running until October 31. THE INFERNO SHOW takes its inspiration from The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri (1265-1321 AD), a work many of us know more from reputation than study. Kathleen became reacquainted with the book in the last year, studied tne cantos of the Inferno and was inspired by its vivid imagery. From the lonely figure of Charon the boatman on the river Styx to the ill fated lovers, Francesca di Rimini and Piero, blown about by their passions, the artist has captured the drama and mystery of the figures in bronze sculpture. There are paintings as well, both allegories and figure studies. THE INFERNO SHOW interprets Dante’s book with a view both classic and modern. It should be both eye opening for those familiar with the work and a tantalizing invitation for the Dante novice.

Other works of the artist that have not been seen locally will also be exhibited, including paintings inspired by Van Morrison among others.

Gallery hours will be from 10am to 4pm daily. A reception will be held from 5pm to 8pm on October 26, all are welcome to view the show and be intrigued.

Sample of the work


Upcoming Classes:

Ceramics – Monday mornings 10-12 at Gallery II Studio – starting Sept. 24

Solar Printmaking with Roger Hyndman – Oct 13 & 14 9 – 4

Creating a Watercolor Journal- Saturday, Nov 3 9-12

Birch bark ornaments – Saturday, Dec 1st 9-12

Open Studios in life drawing and ceramics

For more information:


MICHAEL HARDING SEMINAR–At River Arts – reserve your space NOW! – Oct 27

Artist and colorist Michael Harding

sponsored by Salt Bay Art Supply.

Salt Bay Art Supply is pleased to be sponsoring a seminar and workshop by English artist and colorist Michael Harding on Saturday, October 27th. The seminar will be held at River Arts on Main Street, downtown Damariscotta, and will begin at 1 p.m.

Mr. Harding started making oil colors in 1982 while he was studying fine art. He had always been inspired by Rembrandt’s paintings in the National Gallery in London and wanted to try to recreate the masters paint effects and glorious colors in his own work.

After a number of aborted attempts, he realized something was missing. It wasnt just his genius that I lacked but the actual materials I was using, Harding says. They would not behave in the same way as the paint in his work, and the colors had a totally different appearance.

Determined to get oil paint that was of the same quality and consistency as that used by the Old Masters, he turned his flat into a small oil paint factory.

There were various experiments before he hit on the right consistency and then gradually the hard work began to pay off. He produced his first paints and suddenly found himself in business. Almost immediately he started supplying the Royal College of Art and the Victoria and Albert Museum. Word spread and demand for his paint grew.

Attendees are invited to bring their questions for Mr. Harding about oil paints, mediums and varnishes as well as surfaces and painting techniques. All materials are provided and one lucky ticket-holder will receive a set of Michael Harding Handmade Oils by a drawing at the end of the program.

Tickets are $20 per person and are available at Salt Bay Art Supply on Main Street across from Hannaford. Only pre-paid reservations can be honored. Proceeds from ticket sales will benefit Salt Bay Art Supplys annual scholarship fund. For more information, please contact Salt Bay Art Supply at or 563-8377.


 “A Maine Autumn” Exhibition

The exhibition, which will run until October 11, shows  85 works by 56 Maine artists from Portland to Belfast. The juror for this exhibition is artist Carol Jessen, a prize-winning artist specializing in watercolor, who has summered in the Boothbay area for over 30 years.  Her work can be seen at Gleason Fine Arts in Boothbay.

The show presents works exploring aspects of autumn: activities, people, work and play, wild and domestic animals, food, seascapes, landscapes, holidays, sports, moods and seasonal signs from bright October to bleak November. The work reflects all media and styles (including photography, sculpture, collage and abstract).

River Arts, open 10am-4pm- Tuesday through Saturday and 10-2 on Sundays, is located at 170 Main Street, Damariscotta.   River Arts holds approximately 10 juried shows each year which are open to any artist who would like to enter. The mission of River Arts is to nurture appreciation, encourage participation and provide opportunity in the arts. For information about the many classes, events and opportunities at River Arts, visit or call 563-1507.
A sample of the works:


 “Maine Icons and Special Places” Exhibition

 August 3, 2012 – September 6

River Arts in Damariscotta, is inviting the public to its “Maine Icons and Special Places” Exhibition opening and reception, Friday, August 3rd from 5-7. The exhibition, which will run until September 6, will display 2D and 3D works by Maine artists from Bailey’s Island to Belfast.

The show, being presented at the River Arts main gallery at 170 Main Street in Damariscotta, presents works that portray the visual “icons” that have come to represent Maine, as well as specific “special places,” whether widely-known, such as Portland Head Light, Mt. Katahdin and Baxter State Park, to more personal choices, such as a local festival, a country store or an historic building. The work reflects all media and styles (including photography, sculpture, collage and abstract, among others). The juror for the exhibition is Bjorn Runquist.

A sample of works:




Japanese Shibori on a PVC Pipe with Sandi Cirillo

For adults only – class size limited

Saturday,SEPT 1, 2012        9-noon

$30/members $45/non-members Materials fee per person: $8.00(covers all expenses and cost of two scarves)

In this hands-on workshop, participants will learn about “shibori”, the Japanese resist method of dyeing silk scarves using a PVC pipe.  This is a unique process as we wrap our silk around the pipe and watch as our creativity takes over, spilling color onto the pipe in layer after layer. You will also be given the opportunity to paint directly on the silk too. The science of art and the creativity of the individual unite in this workshop to produce two finished scarves which can be worn with pride or given as gifts.

Sandi Cirillo, who has just moved to Belfast, has been a fiber artist for 20 years and teaches a variety of workshops in Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, Maine and North Carolina.

Encaustic Painting Workshop

 Saturday, August 11        10 am – 3 pm

(with a half hour for lunch) at the River Arts Studio, 241 Route 1, Damariscotta

Instructor:  Ed Nadeau          $75 members $95 non-members

This one day workshop will be a great opportunity for participants to receive hands-on instruction in encaustic painting, the ancient medium of the Egyptians. Encaustic painting is a permanent, lovely medium which has seen resurgence in the last 60 years. Topics include proper painting surfaces, types of waxes, brushes, hot plates, general painting techniques, collage and polychroming sculpture.  The workshop will include materials such as waxes, pigments etc.  Students may wish to bring some old brushes, watercolor paper, wood panels and/or canvas as well as some oil paint.

Ed Nadeau is a native Maine artist whose paintings depict the land and people of his home state in various incarnations. He graduated from Syracuse University in 1980 with his BFA in painting and from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 1986 with his MFA in painting.

Ed teaches 2d-design, painting, and drawing at the University of Maine. His paintings have been exhibited widely; including the Baltimore Museum of Art, Maryland Art Place, School 33 Art Center, the Park School, the Center for Maine Contemporary Art, Whitney Art Works, and the Drawing Center in NYC. Currently Courthouse Gallery Fine Art in Ellsworth, Maine represents his paintings.


 Mathew O’Donnell

A Sense of Place

Opening Reception Aug. 24   5-7 pm.

Exhibition thru August 28


“Sense of Place”, an exhibition by Maine painter, Mat O’Donnell, at  the River Arts II Gallery in Damariscotta will run from August 22, 2012 through August 28th.  Located at 241 US Route 1, River Arts II is open daily from 10 – 4 and on Sundays 12 – 5.   207-563-1507

Maine artist, Mathew O’Donnell, began painting as a young boy in Van Buren, Maine where he was born in 1949.  Inspired by his father, the stillness of the landscape, the vitality of the farmland and the people who worked the fields, Mat continued to paint after he and his family moved to Bangor.  Upon graduation from high school, Mat attended The Maine College of Art in Portland and The Boston Fine Art Museum School before getting his Bachelor of Science Degree at The Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in 1977.

Mathew’s surroundings were a constant prompt for his paintings.  The Holestein cows on the hill beyond his studio in Searsport, Maine; the lumbermen and the trees they felled during the last log drives where he was a foreman on the Kennebec River; an empty saltwater pool along the coast; inland dwellings and structures and the people who inhabited them; Maine folklore from Paul Bunyan to the Native Americans from the Penobscot region.

A skilled carpenter, O’Donnell built a studio next to The Montsweag River in Wiscasset, Maine where he resides with his wife and daughter.  There he paints every day, writes, and strums his guitar.  His current body of work involves birch bark.  Still the naturalist, birds, fish and other wildlife often find their way into his pieces.  The evolution continues in this neck of the woods.


JEAN KIGEL at River Arts Gallery II

14th Annual  EASTERN VIEWS:

  Asian brush paintings and Watercolors  

August 16th  – 22nd       -    10:00 – 5:00 daily

OPENING RECEPTION  Friday, August 17 from 5-7


            Southern Island at Dusk, watercolor, 15”x22”,  Jean Kigel


A specialist in Asian brush painting, gyotaku monoprints, and watercolors,  Jean Kigel draws her inspiration from many sources:  travel and study in China, Japan, and Latvia, perennial gardening, and the ocean environment of her studio/home.

Kigel has received far-reaching attention for her work, including feature articles in Down East MagazinePacific Fishing Magazine, and the American Forestry Journal.  Her work has appeared on the cover of Off the CoastInner Tapestry, and Leaf Press: Haiku from Seoul. 

“We have a few short moments of influence on this earth; for many reasons it seems critical that my art serve to preserve our environment, if by no other means than by creating haunting portraits of the earth’s natural wonders.”

A member of the Sumi-e Society of America and the Union of Maine Visual Artists, Kigel celebrated a sell-out, solo show in Manhattan; her work is exhibited in galleries throughout New England.

Philip Isaacson, art reviewer of the Portland Sunday Telegram writes, “Kigel is a master of the oriental brush.  Her work with ink or ink with color strikes the viewer as spontaneous, loose, bold, the product of a difficult skill, an attitude acquired through commitment and study… [Her kayak series] is easy to relate it to American gestural painting.

Visit Jean’s website




Wally Huber Schweighauser    August 9 – August 14 at Gallery II

Opening Reception Friday, August 10  5-7

Gallery hours: Mon-Sat 10-4; Sunday 12-5

Wally Huber Schweighauser was born in Basel, Switzerland 1912 – one hundred years ago! She moved to Canada in the late twenties and to the US in the early sixties. She will present a small portion of her work in a wide range of different mediums – from gouache to acrylic and wax resist. The show includes paintings, pottery and stained glass. The earliest work on exhibition dates back to 1958, the latest was created this spring.

Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts

25th Anniversary Exhibition

at River Arts - July 9-27

Opening Reception  – Wed, July 11   6- 8pm

Influences & Connections:
Ceramic Artists at Watershed

July 6-27, 2012
Public Reception: Wednesday, July 11, 2012 6:00-8:00pm

Artists in this exhibition have made valuable contributions to Watershed Center’s early years and to its continuing development. Residents and staff, as well as our honored “LEGENDS”, are represented with their diverse styles and broad range of work which exemplify the range of creative activity that characterizes the Watershed experience.

David Alban, Barry Bartlett, Ingrid Bathe, Christina Bertoni, Bill Brouillard, Linda Casbon, Linda Christenson, Leslie Ferst, Patrick Loughran, John Mason, Jim Melchert, Albert Pfarr, Frank Pitcher, Sharon Pollock-Deluzio, Liz Quackenbush, Don Reitz, Richard Shaw, Nancy Train Smith, Megan Sweeney, Holly Walker

for more information about 25th anniversary events

Gallery II – Exhibition – Opening July 13

5 EVER opens this Friday July 13 at River Arts Gallery II at 241  US Route 1 in Damariscotta and features the recent work of five landscapes painters who have matched their interests in color and subject.

This exhibition is the collection of recent, small work of two University of Maine faculty members – Kerstin Engman and Ed Nadeau – and Husson University professor, Adele Drake. Also included are John Schmidtberger and Corinne Lalin, who teach outside of Maine during the academic year but have resided in Northport during their summer hiatus for the past 20 years.

Each of these artists brings a seasoned and unique translation of what is their Maine, from farm to field, town to tide, recording observations about the natural harmonies of color, mix of pigment or dapple of light. These inspired interpretations of the lives and lands of northern New England will be on view from July 11th through July 25 with an opening from 5:30 to 8 on Friday, July 13th. All are welcome.

Open daily from 10 am until 7 pm. & days a week, beginning Wednesday the 11th through the 25th.

A sample of the works being shown…

Annual Members Exhibition - June 8-July 5

The work of over 123 artists from Kennebunk to Belfast in a wide variety of media will be on display. This exhibition bestows awards for “Best in Show,” chosen by Robert Colburn of the Bayview Gallery; “Members Choice,” selected by River Arts members;  and a new attraction, the “Audience Favorite” award, determined by votes cast during the full run of the show by visitors (non-members) to the gallery.  Salt Bay Art Supply has generously donated a  special prize this year to accompany the “Best in Show Award”.

Sample of the Work


 Best In Show: Laura Freeman – “Spirit #17”

I chose Laura Freeman’s sculpture “Spirit #17” as best in show based on three criteria I have found to be most comparable across a broad range of styles, subject and media: Quality of craftsmanship, Proficiency with Material (Medium) and Communication of Vision.  Ms. Freeman’s sculpture is hauntingly mysterious.  The exaggerated humanoid form has an air of the grotesque about it until you get close and can see the meditatively sublime expression on the face, while the simply articulated hands seem to be set in both welcoming and (perhaps) defensive or protective positions.  The surface of the work is alive with the marks of its maker, yet there is nothing which indicates overt manipulation to the point of the artist trying to dominate her medium – a perfect balance illustrating the dialogue between the artist and her material.  This allows the viewer to move away from concerns about how the piece has been made and provides the space for the piece to take on a life of its own.  These qualities keep the audience engaged with the sculpture and encourage deeper exploration of the work and the deeper meanings which may be hidden within it.  Like all compelling works of art, this piece allows the viewer to construct a variety of possible narratives in the absence of any specifically provided by the artist.

Robert Colburn

June  5, 2012


Figure Drawing and Anatomy – 3 days

with Kerstin Engman

June 12, 13, 14      9 am-12 pm & 1 pm-3pm

$200 members/ $225 non-members…+ portion of model fees.

Working from models with instruction about anatomy, posture and position. This 3-day intensive is about bringing a new level of behavior to your figure drawings. In addition to the anatomy component, weʼll look into ways to make your foreshortening
and perspective observations work clearly and specifically. We will have a variety of models and they  will be asked to hold poses that will address issues of depth, posture and proportion. As far as materials go, weʼll be using graphite, charcoal and chalk, but with a twist. Weʼll also be trying out a variety of papers from brown construction paper to Yupo. Intermittent critiques will help us explore new dimensions of our work both individually and as a group.

We will have a digital projector so we can look at a body of figure drawings by artists, past and present, who have interpreted the figure in a myriad of exciting ways.

Kerstin Engman exhibits at the Arden Gallery, Boston, and the Courthouse Gallery, Ellsworth, among other venues. She received her MFA from University of Pennsylvania, where she studied with Neil Welliver, and her BFA from Maine College of Art, with additional study at Rhode Island School of Design. Engman brings a rich and broad career in painting, drawing, sculpture and digital media to the juror’s role. In her work she explores varied visions, media, materials and genres. In 1997 she became founder and director of Project Kalocsa, a cultural exchange between Hungary and the USA. She has also worked in arts education in Maine schools and in several New England colleges, including Maine College of Art, and is presently on the faculty of University of Maine.

River Arts – Don Pride Classical Concert at Lincoln Home – June 2

Guitarist and composer, Don Pride, performed at the Lincoln Home, in Newcastle, Maine on Saturday, June 2 at 7 pm.  This classical concert is sponsored by River Arts and coordinated by board member Fernado Liva of the DaPonte String Quartet. Don played music by Dowland, Bach, Turina, Tarrega, Castenuovo-Tedesco and a Spanish Suite.

Don Pride maintains an active performance schedule. He is the leader of Pride & Joy, a group that has played at numerous festivals, concerts, festivals and functions, throughout New England, since 1995. He has performed for President George W. Bush in Kennebunk, ME.

He currently teaches Guitar and Music History at St. Joseph’s College and sometimes teaches Music Fundamentals and Music History for USM. He was formerly on the Applied Music Faculty at the University of Maine at Farmington, where he was head of the Guitar Department. He also teaches privately from his home studio in Portland. The Southern Maine Symphony Orchestra premiered his first major composition for orchestra, “One Breath,” in May 2004. Don has also released two albums of his own compositions.

This is the final concert for in a series presented by River Arts and coordinated by Ferdinand Liva this year – free and open to the public.  River Arts is a non-profit art center located at 170 Main Street Damariscotta offering exhibitions, classes, poetry readings, and lectures. For more information, please call 563-1507 or visit the website at


“Flora and Fauna” Exhibition at River Arts

April 27 – May 31

Juror:  Henry Isaacs

Sample of the works

Juror’s Statement

First of all, thank you for inviting me to select this exhibition of “Flora and Fauna’ for the River Arts community. I am impressed by the staff, volunteers and participating members. I’ve taught, mostly college, and it is rare that I see such a deep involvement by artists and administrators alike. I only saw the tip of the iceberg, but this organization is a winner. Let’s all continue to support it in whatever way possible.

When I am invited to be involved with a show selection, I take the task very seriously. Your art is serious. It deserves looking at. In a first look through the entries, I will naturally respond to some and not others. While this subjective reaction is important, that is not enough. Increasingly as I walk back and forth many times, I look for intensity. I believe that this is a quality that transcends subject, composition, and the inconvenience of style. Can I describe such a quality? I doubt it. All that I can say is that after forty-five years of being in this business, I know when I am producing a painting that is honest and in which I am involved. I think that I make mistakes in my recognition, but mostly I can see this in others’ work as well.

The issue of style that I’ve just touched on is one that lurks around and remains problematic. We each have our own handwriting. A letter penned by any of us can only be our own. As I get a bit older I’m afraid my writing gets a bit messier as arthritis decides to move in. However a personal handwriting can still be identified. In art making, especially in this country, I have been bothered by the race for a style, for a solution in art making. For example, some of us have witnessed workshops in which we might admire how a ‘plein aire’ painting is executed by an instructor or artist. While imitation is the greatest form of flattery, it may not be your voice (or your handwriting), to carry on with these preconceived notions of how to put a picture together.

Lately, my dear friend, Ashley Bryan and I have been giving workshops on our island. We have two jobs: the first being to look and to try to understand our colleague artists’/students’ objectives and suggest how they might move towards their goals. Our second and most important role is to encourage and cheer. For those of us lucky enough to have art be a lifelong passion, vocation, and a living, our responsibility is to share and nurture.

With admiration and thanks,

Henry Isaacs

April 2012

Islesford, Little Cranberry Island, Maine

River Arts Exhibition at the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens

April 1-May 24
Where: Visitor Center
This exhibit showcases talented midcoast artists’ expressions of Maine. The Gardens is honored to be partnering with one of the region’s newest and most exciting galleries, the non-profit organization River Arts of Damariscotta, whose mission is to  nurture appreciation, encourage participation and provide opportunity in the arts.

Sample of the works on exhibit:



Poetry Reading

 John Rosenwald and Ann Arbor

Sunday, May 13 – at 7:30 pm

“From  Rilke’s Sonnets to Orpheus to the contemporary Chinese poets Bei Dao and Shu Ting, from Robert Bly and Bly’s translations of the medieval poet Kabir to Gerard Manley Hopkins and e.e.cummings, to Paula Rankin’s harmonic “Two Poems for the Blood,” Ann Arbor and John Rosenwald will share their poems and love of poetry, as they have been for more than thirty years internationally and at home around the U. S. and in Maine.”

Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor is a photographer, novelist, and poet who grew up in Mexico, Maine, worked in the local paper mill, and attended college in Massachusetts. She has taught English to students from pre-kindergarten to graduate school, coached the Beloit College women’s basketball team, and served as Foreign Expert in China at Fudan, Nankai, and Zhejiang Universities. Since 1975 she has been a participant at Robert Bly’s Annual Conference on the Great Mother and the New Father.  As a photographer she has published work in national and international magazines ranging from The Chicago Tribune toGeo (Germany).  Recent one-person shows include At Home in the World in North Carolina and Beauty: A Retrospective at the University of Maine Farmington, featuring more than seventy of her works and scheduled in conjunction with the honorary doctorate bestowed upon her by that university in May, 2009.

John Rosenwald

John Rosenwald lives in Farmington, Maine, where he serves as co-editor of the Beloit Poetry Journal and president of theBeloit Poetry Journal Foundation. Before his retirement in 2010 he was Professor of English for 34 years at Beloit College in Wisconsin.  As Fulbright Professor of American Culture and Literature, he has taught in China at Fudan, Nankai, and Zhejiang Universities. Recent work involves collaborative translation of contemporary Chinese poets and organization of exhibitions of Chinese peasant artists.  His poems and translations from German and Chinese have appeared in numerous journals. With his wife, Ann Arbor, he has been a frequent participant since its creation in 1975 at Robert Bly’s Annual Conference on the Great Mother and the New Father, for which he is the official historian. Among his honors are the 1996 Underkofler Outstanding Teacher Award, the 2003 Zhejiang Province West Lake Friendship Award, and an Honorary Doctorate in 2009 from the University of Maine Farmington.



Lincoln Academy Student Exhibition

April 5-19     Opening reception April 5th  5-7 pm

Lincoln Academy art students from the Advanced Art/AP class and Ceramics &
Sculpture courses are proud to present a show of their work in the River
Arts Gallery on Main Street in Damariscotta. There will be a gala opening
on Thursday, April 5th from 5 to 7pm. The show will be open to the public
during River Arts regular business hours from April 6th to the 20th.

 This popular event will showcase two-dimensional work by 12 student
artists at the advanced level. Their work utilizes a wide range of media
such as graphite, acrylic, watercolor, pen, collage, and pastel. The
three-dimensional artworks include a range of materials from wood to wire
to found objects as well as a multitude of functional and non-functional
ceramic pieces.

 The gala opening is scheduled in conjunction with the Lincoln Academy Jazz
Night and Dessert Auction at Skidompha Library.   During live jazz played
by our students, scrumptious desserts will be auctioned off to the highest
bidders.   A Dessert Preview begins at 6:00 PM while the music starts at
6:30 PM.

Magical Strings in Concert

SUNDAY APRIL 15 at 4pm

Presented by River Arts

Come see Magical Strings, described by the Washington Post as “…warm, graceful and sonically gorgeous!” in a rare Maine appearance and experience the magic of Ireland in music, story and verse!  Performing on their own hand made Celtic harps and hammered dulcimers, along with concertina, accordion and pennywhistles, Philip and Pam Boulding will share lively Irish music along with their new compositions inspired by their journeys to Ireland, Isle Au Haut and beyond—don’t miss this great opportunity to hear these two heart-filled virtuoso musicians and the tales they weave through their music.

Philip will be bringing one of his lap harps (available for sale) to the concert, and demonstrating its versatility.  If someone is intrigued by the instrument or the music, Philip will be happy to schedule a lesson after the performance.

About Magical Strings

Philip and Pam Boulding founded Magical Strings in 1978, beginning their tradition of family Celtic Yuletide concerts with their five children. They have performed throughout the United States, Canada, Ireland and Japan, toured, recorded and sailed in Maine with Dan Fogelberg, appeared on Garrison Keillor’s “A Prairie Home Companion,” and recorded 18 albums on four labels. Philip and Pam also design and build Celtic harps for an international clientele, run the School of Magical Strings and host the Magic Hill Summer Harp Camp and Summer Fairy School on their beautiful 5-acre home in the Pacific Northwest overlooking the Puget Sound.

Magical Strings’ wrote the popular piece “Bell off the Ledge” on one of their cruising adventures to Isle Au Haut.  Originally released on the Flying Fish Label is available now on their newest 2-CD set Best of Magical Strings—Dances and Dreams which can be purchased at the concert or their website:

During their most recent of many trips to Ireland Philip and Pam traced the footsteps of the 17th Century Irish harper Turlough O’Carolan, whose many compositions are played and loved to this day by musicians worldwide.  They were inspired to write several new compositions; one by their stay at a rustic cottage on Lock Mask in Galway which belongs to one of their students, and another inspired by the ethereal music of the wind blowing through Philip’s harp strings on a Kerry bluff overlooking the majestic Skellig Islands—hear these new pieces, “Barbara’s Cottage” and “The Fairy Wind” at their performance, woven in with their repertoire representing the traditional Bardic ‘Three Mystical Moods of Music’ from ancient Ireland.

Ticket Prices: Donation at the door $10-15adult, $5 child

For more details, please visit


Playing Around: Art of the Imagination

Exhibition dates:  March 2nd to the 29th.
Juror:  Kerstin Engman          – 96 works by 48 Maine artists

Sample of works and Juror’s Statement


Let me begin by saying what a pleasure it was to be in touch with such a vibrant and creative community of artists as is River Arts. Thank you for the honor of the task. The submissions for this particular show were eclectic and diverse. I took the title and
guidelines for this show to heart and throughout the jurying, looked for playful, imaginative work. There was lots of it. With the paintings, I hoped to see harmonious color interaction, solid compositional structure, clarity of purpose and unique vision.
Three-dimensionally, I looked for similar behaviors as they applied to form and space. In all, it was important that each piece made a complete statement to me; I looked for balance and integration of all elements, continuity throughout; contrasts were essential to define ranges of behavior for the viewer. I responded most to the pieces that brought forward as many of these basic design issues as possible. Sometimes, humor played a role, sometimes not. In each instance, the aesthetic of craft was a determining factor. I tried to select pieces that felt professionally presented in every way. This show, I believed, was meant to represent the diversity of interests, skills and artistry that is the organization, so I put my mind to including as much as I could that
would speak to this issue by considering as broad a base of materials, methods, and technologies as possible. Because there was so much good work and choices had to be made, it was impossible to include everything that more space might have allowed. Thank you again for your invitation to be a part of this exhibition,
Newly Joined Member of River Arts

Kerstin Engman is the juror for “Playing Around.”  Exhibiting at the Arden Gallery, Boston, and the Courthouse Gallery, Ellsworth, among other venues, Engman received her MFA from University of Pennsylvania, where she studied with Neil Welliver, and her BFA from Maine College of Art, with additional study at Rhode Island School of Design. Engman brings a rich and broad career in painting, drawing, sculpture and digital media to the juror’s role. In her work she explores varied visions, media, materials and genres. In 1997 she became founder and director of Project Kalocsa, a cultural exchange between Hungary and the USA. She has also worked in arts education in Maine schools and in several New England colleges, including Maine College of Art, and is presently on the faculty of University of Maine.

Student Music Performance

Oyster Creek Fiddlers – Saturday, March 31 at 7 pm

Dino Liva, of the DaPonte Quartet and a board member of River Arts is coordinating a monthly concert series featuring local music students.  The fourth  concert will take place on Saturday, March 31 at 7 pm. “The Oyster Creek Fiddlers, students of Kaity Newell, will present an evening of fiddling Saturday, March 31st, (at River Arts Gallery, 170 Main Street in Damariscotta, at 7pm. The concert is free and open to the public.) The young fiddlers will be performing selections representing the styles of fiddling which evolved here in Maine, the traditional music of our Scots-Irish, French, and Scandinavian ancestors, sets of lively Jigs, Reels, and more. Fiddlers this evening will include Hannah, Hope, Ian, and Lincoln Clark, Honora Boothby, Eve Corbett, Helen Newell, Isabelle and Aidan Manahan, Joshua Rosenthal, Lucas Steinberger, and Owain O’Mahoney, all on violin.”

Future concert dates are:   April 28 & June 2.

“The Human Side ” Exhibition

Exhibition dates: January 20 – February 23, 2012
Sample of the Works and Juror’s Statement

Juror: Judy Taylor

I would like to thank all the artists for their submissions to the “Human Side” Exhibition There was a wide range of work and I selected pieces that I thought would make a cohesive  show. I also selected a few pieces that I thought showed promise and an interest from the artist to portray subject matter of emotional content.  I encourage everyone to keep submitting and challenging yourself as all shows have a different energy and drive.  I also would like to thank the staff at River Arts for keeping a dynamic art venue alive and full of spirit in the state of Maine.

“Color and Light” Exhibition
December 9 – January 12
Juror: Jacques Vesery

Sample of the Work & Juror’s Statement

Color and/ or Light have been an ongoing challenge in the art of creating throughout history. Working these aspects comes easier to some artists than others and combining the two can be daunting at times. This exhibit actually covers a broad spectrum of both Color and Light as they stand alone plus the culmination of the two and spans a wide variety of disciplines.

My goal in the jury process is to attempt to assemble works that not only speak to this theme, but also display good technique, craftsmanship, integrity and in some cases reach beyond bright light and bold hues. I am honored to have the opportunity to be part of this process and hope my efforts display a cohesive thread through the fine artists that created these works… of “Color and Light”

Jacques Vesery 2011

Artists’ Potluck Dinner

with your art!

Fun and Friendship Prevailing

Join us for our second potluck served with wine, and an after dinner discussion of your work of art.

Friday, January 13, 2012

5:30 pm

River Arts

170 Main Street

Damariscotta, ME 04543

To RSVP, or for more information, contact:

Franciska Needham, (207) 563-1227 or

River Arts (207) 563-1507


“Small Works” Exhibition

Sample of the work


Juror for “Small Works” is noted sculptor and collage artist Marylin Quint-Rose. Born in Boston and a long-time resident of Maine, Quint-Rose received her MFA from the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts at Bard College. As a faculty member of the School of the Worcester Art Museum in Massachusetts, she became interested in paper sculpture and the making of handmade paper. She has directed numerous workshops and residencies throughout New England and has been a guest artist at Univ. of Rhode Island, Holy Cross, and Massachusetts College of Art.

JUROR’S STATEMENT : Marylin Quint-Rose

SMALL WORKS Exhibition, 2011

I wish to thank the River Arts Gallery for inviting me to act as juror for their “Small Works” Exhibition. Isabella Corwin and Luise van Keuren deserve special thanks for their valuable assistance in mounting the show and attending to so many other important details. The dedicated members of River Arts Gallery also deserve special recognition for their efforts to showcase the works of so many different artists in this community, region and state.

Many points of view were expressed by the entrants, so I was challenged to single out those works whose originality, artistic intent, and technical skill demonstrated masterful innovation. Specifically, I examined each piece to determine if the artist’s intent was supported by the mode of expression, which included the use of color, composition, form, materials and scale. I assigned lesser rank to derivative work and works that display technical excellence without originality or metaphorical extension. Additionally, it was important for me to be drawn to the piece because of its evocative quality that enabled me to connect on emotional and intellectual levels.

Congratulations to all artists who participated in the journey.

The public is invited to our first evening concert

Saturday, Oct 29, 7- 8 pm.

Carol Preston and 9 students

 Carol Preston teaches violin using the Suzuki Method of instruction, having maintained private Suzuki studios for 28 years in the Washington, DC, area and now in Damariscotta. The Suzuki method focuses on starting lessons at an early age (3 or 4) and learning music in the same way children learn to speak their native language: by listening to the music they will play; imitating and repeating it by rote; and, eventually, reading music. She is certified as a Suzuki teacher by the Suzuki Association of the Americas.In the Washington area, she was concert master of the McLean Symphony Orchestra, played in the MacBeth String Quartet, and was a regular orchestra member of the Washington Savoyards. In Maine, she is the concert master of the Midcoast Symphony Orchestra and a member of the Maine Pro Musica orchestra.

Ms. Preston holds a bachelor of music degree in violin performance from Concordia College, Moorhead, MN, and a master of arts degree in music from the University of Iowa. She also teaches music at Nobleboro Central School. In addition, she was a professional technical writer and editor at high tech companies for 18 years.

Tools of the Trade Exhibition

A sample of the work

Juror’s Statement

After reviewing the artwork submitted for the “Tools of the Trade” exhibit, I was happily surprised at what I thought should be in the show. I believe this was because it corresponded less to my work or my particular tastes in art, and more to the connections made between pieces of art across many mediums.

A themed show allows the viewer to look less at individual artists or art works, and more at how the artwork as a whole leads you through different subjects and materials. In this show, one subject that appeared was sewing and textiles, which was depicted in paintings, drawings, photos, and multimedia pieces.

Another theme was food with different artists in the room moving you from the harvesting of produce from farms and gardens to the preparation of food in kitchens and the presentation of the food at a restaurant table. Work as a soldier and as a medic was also represented, the medical by a piece made of actual gauze, aspirin, syringes, IV bags, etc.

There were many depictions of musicians, and I was drawn to examples of working musicians, shown in an orchestra or alone on the street, laboring as one would at any other job. There also were three shaped, painted wood panels that showed a flow of musical notes, ornamental shapes, and hands playing these instruments.

Fishing and lobstering were depicted from the struts supporting boats on land to the ropes tying them to a dock to the whole boats on the water, with or without their owners.

One piece of artwork was on a piece of sailcloth ringed by grommets both real and painted that framed off a central black and white photo. Below, there was a small window containing objects inset into the piece. The viewer moves between the photo or painting of things used in sailing and manufacturing and the literal things making up the object on the wall in front of them.

In “Tools of the Trade” this idea is explored in a different way in sculpture through “manufactured” objects. We find a chainsaw and a harpoon with all their requisite, recognizable parts, but they are knitted instead of built with wood, metal and plastic. Overall, this show suggests the variety that exists in labor and some leisure. What’s interesting is the number of ways these activities can be depicted.

River Arts hosts Maine Arts Commission

Donna McNeil, Arts Program and Policy Director of the Maine Arts Commission in Augusta, spent two days in Lincoln County visiting local arts and cultural organizations and meeting with community, government, chamber and non-profit leaders as part of the second phase of the Creative Communities = Economic Development grant process.  During her visit Ms. McNeil met with nearly 100 community members, as she learned about the role of arts and culture inLincolnCountyand talked about the role and resources of the Maine Arts Commission and the impact of arts and culture on the economy.

Linda Morkeski, Director of River Arts, and Mary Ellen Barnes, Director Economic & Community Development, Lincoln County Regional Planning Commission, with support from local cultural nonprofits, filed an initial application in March with the Maine Arts Commission for a $50,000 grant to promote the arts and culture inLincolnCounty.  In late June they were notified that the County application had made the first cut and would be in competition with four otherMainecommunities for the two grants offered. The grant activities will cover the entire County, in recognition of rich arts and cultural resources and active collaborations in Waldoboro, Monhegan, Whitefield,Dresden, and other County towns.

WithMaine’s quality of place and community collaboration, key components of the grant design, the site visit highlighted several – but definitely not all – of the County’s assets. On September 28, McNeil met in Damariscotta with 35 local community leaders speaking about the role of arts and culture in the region.  Other meetings with county and local arts and cultural leaders were held in Wiscasset (at the Nickels-Sortwell House), in Boothbay Harbor, where McNeil got to hear from the Arts Foundation, Arts27, local businesses, and the Chamber of Commerce.  She also had a chance to visit the Fiore Gallery, the Lincoln County Community Theater, Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, the Opera House, theWatershed Center for Ceramic Arts, and the Carpenter’s Boat Shop – as well as stroll the Main Streets and visit galleries.

The process is very competitive, with the final CC=ED applications to be reviewed by a panel consisting of the staff of private foundations, members of the Maine Arts Commission’s Community Arts Committee, and a representative from the Department of Economic and Community Development. Notification of awards will be made in early December.

In the Galleries

“Maine Landscape” Exhibition

August 26 – September 23

Juror: Thomas Crotty

Celebrated landscape painter Thomas Crotty is juror for the show. His work was the subject of a recent retrospective exhibition at the Portland Museum of Art. Crotty is also founder and director The Frost Gully Gallery. The exhibition explores a broad definition scenic Maine.

a sample of the work


August 26 Sally Levi Debut screening of the short fine art film:

The Study of Quiescent Love


A ferry ride depicting a motionless, inoperative love. Through the eyes of the passive spectator, the outside is distorted into a flat, emotionless landscape -a reflection of the interior lifeless relationship between the spectator and her companion. The safety instructions over the intercom announce the risks on board with directions on how to get off the boat in case of an emergency. Based on a weekend getaway to an island off the coast of Sweden.The film is both in English and Swedish and is runs 11 minutes. Sally is a true lover of art and film. She has formal training as a filmmaker from Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, CA, USA and as a producer from Lund University, Lund, Sweden. She began her career as an actress, including roles in the series Cracker and small parts in Spiderman, 21, ER, JAG, and Clueless. She was trained in theatre with a concentration in Shakespeare at the British American Dramatic Academy in England. In 2011,

Sally’s first feature documentary Design Revolution premiered at the Boston International Film Festival and her short fine art film Partie won Boost’s Greenhouse Grant. Prior to that, Sally produced and directed the award-winning historical drama Eaton’s Water for the Altadena Foothills Conservancy. Her feature film producing debut was Meta starring Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad). Additional credits include: the PBS-NOVA/NHK-Japan television special Killer Subs in Pearl Harbor for the Lone Wolf Documentary Group.

Sally has received both the Maine Arts Commission Film Fellowship and the Kodak Film Grant two years in a row. She was selected as a Jeuens Talents filmmaker by the French government. She is also film faculty at the Maine Media Workshops. Current project’s include: Kandis Erickson and Cameron Fay’s “Summer Solstice.” Sally is co-owner of the production company,
Film Trolley. At present, Sally divides her time between Midcoast Maine and Malmo, Sweden. Website:

2011 Members’ Show

July 22- August 18

100 works by 100 artists

Friday July 29 – Adam Nordell – Folk music 7 – 9pm

Adam Nordell Press Photo - black and white

Montana songwriter Adam Nordell will perform in Damariscotta as part of a bicycle-powered CD release tour from Lubec to Portland on Friday, July 29th. Nordell will perform songs rich in place-based imagery and a deeply rooted folk sound to celebrate the release of his second CD. The concert runs from 7 to 9 pm upstairs at River Arts, located next to the Library at 170 Main Street. The event is open to the public; admission is free by donation.

Entitled “Spring Fed Creek,” the new album is an intimately recorded homage to Nordell’s childhood home in the northern Rockies, drawing on inspiration from early country, Appalachian mountain music as well as the folk traditions of Maine and eastern Canada. The CD was recorded in Bozeman, MT with the help of Red House Record’s Chris Cunningham, and features sparse, open instrumentation, tight vocal harmonies and carefully crafted lyrics. “A song is a story, and any story needs a landscape,” says Nordell. “I get to create a landscape with my guitar and lyrics, so you can step right in and look around.”

Nordell’s unusual choice of transportation for the tour reflects his approach to the music industry. “I try to remember that music is about a human connection. I’ve driven as much as eight hours to perform an evening concert – but I think my experience is richer if I move a little slower and give myself a chance to see where I am, and meet a few people. Why not tour by bike? You know, stop and smell the roses. Or at least smell them as you ride by.”

When not on the road as a songwriter, Nordell works at Songbird Farm in Starks, ME and performs in the contradance-band duo Sassafras Stomp. The week-long tour includes performances in Lubec, Machias, Belfast, and Portland. For more information visit Adam Nordel.
09 The Long Song

Saturday, July 16 at 6:30 Lecture by Judy Taylor


Judy will deliver a presentation on the making of the Maine Labor Mural, an explanation of the panels and the process that was involved from conception to installation.

“Abstract” Exhibition

72 works by 42 artists

Exhibition dates: June 17 – July 15

Sample of the work

Juror’s Statement

The theme for the 2011 summer show at River Arts is abstract art. As a juror, I was both pleased and daunted by the challenge of examining and selecting work to include in the show from the more than 180 diverse and provocative submissions. To make my selections, I had to formulate a conception of what the show should look like, given the variety of works submitted for the exhibition. I decided to build an experience for the viewer that would expose them to the richness of abstract art as a means of human expression. I sought, therefore, to include works that would allow viewers to experience as many different approaches to the concept of abstraction as possible.

So what is abstract art? Abstract art is an academic concept used to categorize works of art that share certain characteristics. One particularly important characteristic of abstract art is that it is non-representational. Or some might say that abstract art is nonobjective. In other words, much abstract art does not seek to re-present or unveil a world that is already recognizable to the viewer. In this sense, abstraction stands in contrast to what people might think of as realist art, or art that aspires to copy an objective world with which we are all familiar. The images and forms embodied in abstract art are understood to be the artist’s own imaginative creation. This is not to say that non-representational images or forms cannot still refer to concrete objects, emotions, or historical events. However, much abstract art does this through forms and images that remain visually unrecognizable, that is, they do not seek to make direct visual reference to the world they reference.

But being non-representational is not the only characteristic useful in understanding abstract art. Work that depicts objects or figures present in our world, but distorts them in some meaningful way is also considered abstract. In these cases, the viewer is able to discern the intended objects or events to which the artwork refers, but the depiction remains intentionally non-realistic, non-descriptive. This notion of abstract usually refers to a particular style of modern and contemporary western art that we associate with artists such as Picasso, Jackson Pollock and Elizabeth Murray. Familiar work, such as Picasso’s Guernica, Jackson Pollack’s Lucifer or Elizabeth Murray’s Sail Baby provide clear examples of images that have been distorted or abstracted in order to create meaningful effects on the viewer. Using this approach to abstraction, we can see that familiar styles of art such as Impressionism, Cubism, or Expressionism would also count as types of abstract art, even though the world they depict is often quite recognizable to the viewer.

The examples I’ve given so far have all come from the history of Western art. However, the use of abstracted shapes and forms is evident in the earliest known forms of human expression and can be seen far beyond the cultural borders of Western painting, sculpture, drawing, printmaking and photography. Examples of abstraction can be found in the images that adorn cult houses in the Middle Sepik Region of Papua New Guinea, in the transformation masks of the Kwakiutl in British Columbia, the body adornment of the Ngere of western Africa or in the work of contemporary self-taught, “outsider” artists in the United States such as Howard Finster or Charles Smith. Abstract, non-representational art forms from non-Western cultures have played an important role in stimulating the tradition of abstract art in the West.

I have suggested several different approaches to the concept of abstraction in art. As a juror, I sought to include examples of these diverse approaches from the works submitted for inclusion in this exhibition. I hope that the viewer will not only study and enjoy the works included in the show, but also come away with a fuller sense of what abstract art can be. It is clearly still alive and well on the coast of Maine! Laurie Hicks 6/16/11

July 10 at 7:00 POETRY READING Lulu Hawkes and Otrude Moyo

Lulu Hawkesis, Maine’s 2011 Poetry Out Loud state champion, has participated at the Bread Loaf Young Writers’ Conference and Champlain Young Writers’ Conference in Vermont. Her poem “Clicking Tongues” was featured in the Portland Press Herald.

Otrude N. Moyo has published her poems in Off the Coast and the Journal of Progressive Human Services. She teaches social policy at the University of Southern Maine. Her recent book is: Trampled  No More: Voices from Bulawayo’s Townships about Families, Life, Survival and Social Change in Zimbabwe.

Originally from Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, they both love protest poetry.

“Garden of Earthly Delights” Exhibition

Exhibition dates April 29 – June 10 2011

Juror: Colin Page

Just in time for spring, “The Garden of Earthly Delights” Exhibition explores all we envision and experience in our gardens, including the natural forces and creatures that occupy them, as well as the human role. Such art embraces heart, mind and imagination in the many moods of the garden, from joy, serenity and release to struggle, complexity and mystery.

A sample of the works

Fine Crafts Exhibition

At Gallery II, Route 1, Damariscotta

Exhibition dates May 6 – May 30

Opening – Friday, May 6 5-7

Juror: Carl Little

Carl Little is a regular contributor to Ornament magazine.

He edited

Discovery: Fifty Years of Craft of Experience at HaystackMountain

School of Craft (University of Maine Press). In 2008 he received the Maine Crafts Association’s “first individual award for contributions to the field of craft in Maine.”

Categories of fine craft: Basketry, Ceramics, Fiber Wearable, Fiber Decorative, Furniture, Glass, Jewelry, Leather, Metal, Mixed Media, Paper, Wood, other.

Sunday May 22 – at 7 pm – Poet Gwendolyn Jensen

Gwendolyn Jensen began writing poems when she retired in 2001 from the presidency of Wilson College (Chambersburg, Pennsylvania). Places where her work has appeared include The Beloit Poetry Journal, Chautauqua, The Comstock Review, Measure, The Malahat Review, and Salamander. Birthright, her first book of poetry, was published by Birch Brook Press in a letterpress edition in the fall of 2010.

Sunday May 15  at 7 pm – Poets Baron Wormser and Dawn Potter

Poet Laureate of Maine 2000- 2006, Wormser has received the Frederick Bock Prize from Poetry and the Kathryn A. Morton Prize along with fellowships from Bread Loaf, the National Endowment for the Arts and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. In 2000 he was writer in residence at the University of South Dakota. He directs the Frost Place Conference on Poetry and Teaching at the Frost Place in Franconia, New Hampshire.

Friday April 29 – Jazz Guitar – Lambo Law 5 – 7 pm

Neil Lamb and Dave Lawlor-Debut of  “Molly Brown” CD


Lincoln Academy Student Art Show at River Arts

Opening April 7 -22
Sample of the 176 works in the show:

River Arts is pleased to announce the Lincoln Academy Student Art Exhibition which will showcase exciting work from advanced 2-D and 3-D Art Classes at Lincoln Academy April 7 – April 22. The public is welcome to this annual event celebrating the work of Lincoln Academy’s students.

The Art Students have been working feverishly all year in preparation for this exciting opportunity to show their work in a professional gallery. Under the direction of their teachers Nina Sylvia and Jonathan Mess, the students prepare the whole exhibition. Come on by, check out the work, meet the artists, enjoy refreshments and help celebrate our students’ talents. Much of the work will be for sale.

“Black & White” Exhibition

February 25 – April 1

Juror: Dan Kany

Gallery Talk by Daniel Kany – March 19, 2 pm

Seeing in Black and White

An art historian and art critic, Kany will discuss the issue of “black and white” in 20th century painting in the context of legibility and the invention of abstraction 100 years ago. From Cubism and Malevich to Pollock and Nevelson, Kany will follow painting through aesthetic moral, ethical and cultural issues that form the basis of Modern Art.

Sample of the Work

Seeing in black and white

Juror’s statement by Daniel Kany

The most basic thing needed for representation is contrast. Just as you have to be able to distinguish the words from the page in order to read, you must be able to distinguish the figure from the ground in order to make out an image.

This concept is so fundamental that it has a philosophical history even preceding Plato’s “Parable of the Cave.” For the Italian painters of the renaissance, the term was “chiaroscuro” – light and dark. For us, it’s black and white.

“Black and white” is most obviously the stuff of printing and photographs – since documents are all about legibility. Photography aside, however, black and white maybe had its most interesting emergence and resurgence in 20th century art around 1910, when painting consciously approached the limits of representation and stepped into the realm of abstraction.

Picasso and Braque’s Cubism had two phases whose very nexus was the limit of legibility. Their content, for example, explored the minimal difference where a painting was recognizably a head as opposed to a guitar.

When they felt they could explore the limit of legibility no further, Picasso and Braque inverted their process and sought to examine the range of possibilities of representation. This was called “Synthetic Cubism” (as opposed to “Analytic Cubism”) and it was a moment of unbridled invention: Braque did the first collage and did things like use a faux-wood painting comb to render hair in a portrait. They even sought the bare minimum of an object needed to reference the whole (synecdoche): a head for a person or a part of a word – “jour” for “journal” (newspaper) and so on.

Piet Mondrian and Kasimir Malevich followed their own black and white paths through Cubism to the conclusion that to be legible, a painting only had to be legible as a painting – and not legible as a picture of something. And so abstraction was born.

Malevich’s “Black Square” is a black square on a white background – steely and radical. For something so apparently simple, it practically quivers with daring transcendence and potential.

Artists such as Jackson Pollock and Ad Reinhardt rose to the challenge and ultimately surpassed even Malevich by dissolving the figure/ground distinction. Pollock’s swirling lines achieved such density they refuse to crystallize into shapes, and Reinhardt’s paintings became monochrome black canvases on a white gallery wall.

Abstract Expressionism, of course, was the movement that delivered America as the world’s leading center for art. Black and white were everywhere: Franz Kline’s slashing abstractions, Mark Tobey’s “white writing,” de Kooning’s “Attic” series, Ellsworth Kelly’s grids and so much more.

But does it matter to us today in our culture? Does it matter for painting?

I think it absolutely matters. American art pressed the idea of individual morality and ethics in art as opposed to broader, nationalistic ideas about right and wrong. European cultural erudition failed and crumbled in genocide and war while the individualist – if parochial – Americans had to come to the rescue.

This moral standing continued through Frank Stella’s black paintings and Louise Nevelson’s assemblages, and through the ascendancy of photography to the top of the New York School.

In Maine, we have followed a more ethical route rather than seeking any moral high ground: Hard work, technical skill, dedication and honest effort have all stood behind our searches for clarity of vision. We stand humbled before the landscape or humbled before the incredible skills of the masters whose life drawings inspire us. We stand humbled but inspired by the great moments of abstraction.

And within this legible ethic, Maine artists find and share beauty with the rest of us.

Black and white isn’t just about the obvious: It can be the barely perceptible as well. It can take us to the very edge of what we can see.

Daniel Kany

Cumberland, Maine

February 2011

“Works on Paper” Exhibition

Juror: Suzette McAvoy

Exhibition dates: January 14 – February 18

A sample of the works

Juror’s Statement

I would like to thank River Arts for the opportunity to serve as Juror for the Works on Paper exhibition. I also want to extend my congratulations and gratitude to all of the artists who submitted works, whether ultimately ccepted or not. It is always a pleasure to see work by artists that are new to me, or fresh directions by artists that I am familiar with.

The process of jurying an exhibition is never an easy one, and made more difficult when the overall quality of the works were excellent, as was the case with the current show. I aimed to include a broad range of work, from purely formal abstraction to more traditional representational images. I looked for work that exhibited a personal, unique vision as well as a strong use of materials and/or technique.

As to be expected in a work on paper exhibition, drawings and watercolors dominated the submissions, but there were many other mediums represented as well, including photography, three-dimensional works, cast paper, collage, monotypes, and other printmaking techniques. The collective spirit of the exhibition reflects the diversity of art making in Maine at this time.

Suzette McAvoy

January 12, 2011

“Anything Goes” Exhibition

November 12- December 31, 2010

Juror: Dozier Bell

A sample of the exhibition