Posts Tagged ‘Don Best’

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Visible Discourse from Maine’s Western Foothills

July 12, 2019

Union of Maine Visual Artists

Artists Diana Arcadipone, Don Best, Nikki Millonzi and Judith Schneider

Union of Maine Visual Artists, Portland Media Center, 516 Congress Street, Portland, ME

September 6 through September 28, 2019

Opening First Friday, September 6, from 5 – 8 pm

Gallery Hours: Monday: 12 PM – 5 PM, Tuesday -Thursday: 10 AM – 5 PM,             Friday-Sunday: 1 PM – 4 PM

Visible Discourse is an exhibition that celebrates Maine’s natural and diverse environment; the wildlife, woodlands, lakes and ocean that draw visitors to Maine from around the globe. This exhibition is a collaborative installation by four artists living in Oxford County: Diana Arcadipone, Don Best, Nikki Millonzi and Judith Schneider. Four distinct voices visually explore their surroundings and collectively celebrate the beauty of Maine. These artists share works inspired by the magic and collective energies of the Oxford Hills, an area with a rich visual and performing arts culture. One well known artist claims the local art springs from “something in the water.”  The juxtaposition of this work celebrates the beauty of Maine and offers a poetic contrast and respite from the historic vitality of urban Portland. Through this presentation of work, the artists hope to advocate for the need to preserve the natural beauty that exists throughout Maine as well as help the viewer perceive new ways to “make sense of things”.

Diana Arcadipone

Diana Arcadipone creates artworks on and of paper. Her passion for making art with natural materials and mixed media emerged from an early devotion to traditional craft techniques such as papermaking, book arts, basketry, and textiles. Trained as a painter and printmaker, Arcadipone’s work is informed by primitive art, folk art, traveling, and the natural world; it is the intersection of these influences that defines her work.

Don Best

Don Best works mainly in wood. He carves, paints, assembles, burns, and hand colors his work, which often uses animals as its subject and theme. Much of Best’s recent work has been reliefs, which give him the opportunity to use his drawing, painting, and sculpture skills to create engaging narratives. Shadow boxes become stages for his carved animals. Best’s work has a playful quality that makes it accessible to people of all ages.

Nikki Millonzi

For Nikki Millonzi, nature, the arts and the world around her all help her to make sense of things. She loves and cherishes the natural world so political activism is important to her. This year Nikki felt an increasing need to express the interconnectedness of life on this planet. Using newspaper and ink her installation We Are All In This Together helps us resonate with this underlying unity.

Judy Schneider investigates place and memory through the physical properties of landscape. By collecting and analyzing nature – dissecting it by color, form and line and then reassembling it, she finds meaning. Scale, density and layering are important. How the images find their natural edge and how memories form present a nice duality.  She is in pursuit of what is physically present, woven with memory, dreams and how the energy of “place” is conveyed.

For more information, contact Judy Schneider, Curator Judywestschneider@gmail.com

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Who Are They? Oxford Hills Region Part 1

March 1, 2018

Folk Art Studio at Fiber and Vine

This blog post is part one of a series that aims to bring awareness to the Maine Arts Ed blog readers about the many visual and performing arts venues and educational opportunities in the Oxford Hills. The Oxford Hills Region of Maine is a perfect setting for the arts as it is centrally located where the rolling foothills of the White Mountains and beautiful lakes regions intersect. Located 45 miles north of Portland, 35 miles east of New Hampshire, and 20 miles west of Lewiston-Auburn, the region hosts multiple year-round opportunities for learners of all ages and a thriving arts community. The Oxford Hills School District (SAD17) is Maine’s largest school district in geographic area, with nine community schools, a regional middle school, a comprehensive high school and the Streaked Mountain School, an alternative school for high school students. The Oxford Hills serves the towns of Buckfield, Harrison, Hartford, Hebron, Mechanic Falls, Norway, Otisfield, Oxford, Paris, Poland, Sumner, Waterford and West Paris. A great big THANKS to Diana Arcadipone for writing this series of posts.

The Folk Art Studio is housed in the downstairs space of Fiber & Vine at 402 Main Street in Norway. The studio offers a place for artists, craftspeople and makers of all mediums to gather, learn, share information, techniques, traditional crafts and art. Workshops are scheduled on a regular basis, usually on weekends, and have included Nuno Felting, Paper Making by Hand, Paint Brush Making with scavenged materials, Bookbinding, Doll Making from Scraps, Embroidery, Beading, Basketry, Printmaking, Wood Carving and more.

The studio was founded on the basis of Folk Art & Craft being for the people, by the people, and of the people.  Without ceremony, the folk arts have evolved by necessity over time and in every reach of the globe.  Clothing, toys and everyday objects were created within the community from materials that were readily gathered, harvested and processed, and with tools and implements that were rudimentary and easily fashioned. Historically, there were no textbooks or learning manuals, but rather information and techniques were handed down orally from grandmothers and elders to the younger ones. Technologies became tried and true and more sophisticated through time and progress. Today we live in a high speed digital world where information is easily accessed on our devices within seconds. The Folk Art Studio is a way to revisit the joy of creating in a relaxed collaborative atmosphere of learning and making, and revisit our inherit resourcefulness.

With the help of a Maine Arts Commission grant, the first year of programming was made possible and the Folk Art Studio was launched. Kimberly Hamlin, Manager and co-owner of the retail store Fiber & Vine (a yarn and wine shop) offers classes in knitting, embroidery, crochet, felting and the fiber arts and was a likely partner. Fiber & Vine offered space to help launch the folk art and craft center’s first workshops by lending a large wooden community table located at the back of the store (a work of art in and of itself). The Folk Art Studio enabled a handful of participants the chance to sit down in an inspiring environment, and make something beautiful and useful. Two years later, The Folk Art Studio accommodates as many as ten participants in a workshop setting in the downstairs of the store.

The Folk Art Studio engages local art educators, artists and artisans to offer one-day workshops at an affordable cost. It makes the studio available to artists who want to create their own programming to serve their established group of students. And, all participants are encouraged to request specific workshops that can be accommodated in the space. Recently, Fiber and Vine and The Folk Art Studio hosted an open house “Upstairs/Downstairs” where artists and artisans were invited to bring a current project to work on, enjoy lunch, snacks and beverages, and a controlled wine tasting in the store. So far, the line up of accomplished teaching artists include Don Best, Sarah Shepley, Kimberly Hamlin, Kristin Roy, Rebecca May Verrill, Becky Cheston, Patt Pasteur, Kate Castelli and Diana Arcadipone.

Although the workshops have primarily served adult learners, Fiber and Vine hosts a “Kids Craft Club” and plans to offer kids studio classes through The Folk Art Studio, gearing up for this summer. Continuing Education Certificates are available to teachers. SPRING WORKSHOP PROGRAM or on Facebook: Folk Art Studio at Fiber & Vine.

Saturday Workshops Scheduled this Spring

  • March 10: Wild Crafted Basketry with Rebecca Verrill
  • April 14: Woodworking with Don Best
  • April 28: Letterpress Postcards with Kate Castelli
  • May 5: Bead Loom Bracelets with Becky Cheston
  • June 16: Coiled Fabric Basketry with Patt Pasteur

Interested in learning more about the Folk Art Studio? Email Diana Arcadipone at arcadipone@gmail.com.

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