One of the many things that will be keeping me busy through 2015 is the Maine Photo Project, a year-long statewide collaboration among some 26 museums, galleries, and historical societies.
UPDATE September 30, 2014: Maine Photo Project receives Major Grant from Maine Arts Comission. Woo hoo!
Since contracting as the Project Coordinator this spring, I have developed a strategic plan and budget, gathered and identified participants, secured funding through contributions and a major grant (stay tuned!), built this awesome website from scratch, and hooked the project up with Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. And today I sent out the Project’s inaugural press release, copied below!
(It’s like I said to my dad after I finished replacing his modem, and he couldn’t understand how I knew how to do it: “I was the director of a small non-profit. I can do anything.”)
I hope you will find, follow, and like the Maine Photo Project–which also has its own blog, here. But remember: it actually exists in real life, too! Maine is blessed not only with the natural beauty that is so irresistible to photographers but also with many superlative arts and cultural organizations. It’s all worth a look–so come to Maine and see some art in 2015.
CONTACT: Jessica Skwire Routhier, Project Coordinator
FOR RELEASE: September 18, 2014 (immediate)
MAINE MUSEUMS TO COLLABORATE IN
“MAINE PHOTO PROJECT” IN 2015
Twenty-six museums, galleries, and historical societies will present
photography-themed exhibitions and programs throughout the year
(Portland, Maine)–Kicking off in January and continuing throughout 2015, the Maine Photo Project is a statewide collaboration that will be a year-long celebration of photography in Maine. Twenty-six participating museums, galleries, historical societies, and other non-profit cultural organizations will offer public exhibitions, a major publication, and a variety of programs exploring the state’s role as a magnet for photographers, both as a subject and as a unique place for introspection, discourse, and innovation. The Maine Photo Project (mainephotoproject.org) is organized and supported by the institutions of the Maine Curators’ Forum and is generously sponsored by the art museums at Bates, Bowdoin, and Colby colleges, with fiscal management provided by the Maine Historical Society.
“A collaboration of this breadth and quality could only happen in Maine,” said Laurie E. Hicks, Ph.D., coordinator of the Maine Curators’ Forum (Hicks is also Professor of Art and Curator of the Lord Hall Gallery at the University of Maine). “There is a strong spirit of collaboration among Maine’s cultural institutions, a spirit that makes possible initiatives such as this. Further, it is the richness and strength of Maine’s public collections and its history as a place of artistic inspiration and innovation that has set the stage for the Maine Photo Project.”
Exhibition topics will range from the international community of photographers active in the state today, to iconic modernist photographers—Berenice Abbott, Kosti Ruohomaa, Todd Webb, and others—who are closely associated with Maine, to rare historical images from photography’s earliest days. The Maine Photo Project will also embrace new media, pushing the boundaries of what is traditionally perceived as a “photograph.” Many of the works on view will come from the prestigious holdings of Maine’s collecting institutions as well as from photographers who live, study and work in the state.
The exhibitions will take place on a staggered schedule, beginning with photographs inspired by the Maine Women Writers’ Collection at the University of New England Art Gallery and a solo exhibition of Elizabeth Atterbury’s work at the Colby College Museum of Art, both opening in January. Other highlights, all opening in the summer of 2015, include Scaling Maine at the Bates College Museum of Art, featuring contemporary perspectives on human interaction and interrelations with the natural world; new work by contemporary photographer Abelardo Morell at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art; and The Passionate Photographer: Kosti Ruohomaa’s Maine in Magazine Photojournalism at the Maine State Museum. The richness of Maine’s photographic history will also be represented by the participation of several historical museums and societies, including the Maine Historical Society, which will open Early Maine Photography: Images of People and Places from 1840 to 1870 in September.
In addition to the exhibitions and a publication associated with the Maine Photo Project, a variety of public programs will also take place at individual participating institutions throughout the year. Special, “project-wide” programs may include lectures by nationally recognized photography experts, a public conference or symposium on “Maine Photography Then and Now,” an open portfolio day for photographers in the state, and a workshop on how to care for photography collections in the home or in a public collection. (Details to come on mainephotoproject.org.) Participants will also work together to produce a printed informational brochure that will be distributed at Maine Visitor Information Centers and other locations; a website with exhibition and event listings as well as an active blog; and a lively and active presence on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and other platforms. Crowd-sourced, public content under hashtags like #MainePhotoProject, #PerfectMainePhoto, and #MaineSelfie will be a constant feature on the project’s website and social media pages and may even end up on the exhibition walls of some participating institutions.
Following is the full list of collaborating institutions. For more information about specific exhibitions, visit mainephotoproject.org.
- Bangor Public Library, Bangor
- Barn Gallery/Ogunquit Art Association, Ogunquit
- *Bates College Museum of Art, Lewiston
- *Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Brunswick
- Center for Maine Contemporary Art, Rockport
- *Colby College Museum of Art, Waterville
- Danforth Gallery, University of Maine, Augusta
- Farnsworth Art Museum, Rockland
- Historic New England
- L.C. Bates Museum, Hinckley
- *Maine Historical Society, Portland
- Maine Media Workshops, Rockport
- Maine Museum of Photographic Arts, Portland
- Maine State Museum, Augusta
- Monhegan Museum, Monhegan
- Museums of Old York, York
- Ogunquit Museum of American Art, Ogunquit
- Penobscot Marine Museum, Searsport
- PhoPa Gallery, Portland
- Swan’s Island Educational Society, Library and Historical Collections, Swan’s Island
- Unity College Leonard R. Craig Gallery, Unity
- University of Maine Lord Hall Gallery, Orono
- University of Maine Museum of Art, Bangor
- University of New England Art Gallery, Portland
- University of Southern Maine Art Galleries, Portland and Gorham
- Waterfall Arts, Belfast
* Indicates sponsoring organization
The Maine Photo Project is the third collaboration planned and organized by the Maine Curators’ Forum, a consortium of curators representing Maine’s leading nonprofit arts and cultural institutions. Previous projects of the Maine Curators’ Forum include the Maine Print Project (2006) and the Maine Drawing Project (2011), both of which drew strong audiences to participating institutions and received national and regional press coverage in the New York Times, the Boston Globe, Art New England, the Maine Sunday Telegram, and other sources. (The Maine Print Project also featured an associated book, The Imprint of Place: Maine Printmaking 1800–2005 by David P. Becker, published by Down East Books.) The Maine Photo Project will build upon the success of these and other recent statewide exhibition collaborations such as the Maine Folk Art Trail (2008) and the Maine Civil War Trail (2013).
Nonprofit organizations interested in participating in the Maine Photo Project should contact Project Coordinator Jessica Skwire Routhier at mainephotoproject.org.
The Maine Photo Project is organized and supported by the institutions of the Maine Curators’ Forum and is generously sponsored by the Bates College Museum of Art, the Bowdoin College Museum of Art, and the Colby College Museum of Art, with fiscal management provided by the Maine Historical Society.
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