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First Friday Art Walk features four UMPI graduates

The First Friday Downtown Art Walk on November 5th will provide viewers with multiple opportunities to see art work created by artists who are graduates of the University of Maine at Presque Isle art program. That evening, four of the seven First Friday display venues will feature UMPI graduates Keary Nichols, William Duncan, Joseph Donald Cyr, and Jme Smith. All four of these featured artists have strong ties to Aroostook County.

Keary Nichols received a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Maine at Presque Isle where he majored in Art with an emphasis in Photography. His interest in black and white photography began in 1969 when his brother Richard first introduced him to the medium by encouraging Keary to use Richard’s new camera.

“From that moment on,” Nichols reflects, “the process of capturing images then turning them into exhibit prints has become how I best communicate my thoughts and feelings.”

Nichols has had numerous exhibitions of his work at the University of Maine at Presque Isle, Bangor Theological Seminary, the Tarentine Club in Bangor, plus many juried exhibits. He was awarded 1st place in Black and White Prints at the 15th Annual Maine Maritime Flatworks Exhibition in 1998. Nichols’ First Friday display will be at Café Sorpreso.

Nichols is traveling from his home in Connecticut especially for the First Friday event. It will be a reunion with his fellow students and long-time friends, Duncan and Cyr.

William Duncan earned his Bachelor’s degree in Art from the University of Maine at Presque Isle, and a Master’s degree in Fine Arts from Vermont College of Norwich University. His involvement with UMPI spans three decades from Coordinator of Publications to Director of Design and Photography, and most recently as an Adjunct Instructor of Art from 1999 to 2008.

Primarily known for his photography and painting with a focus on landscape and culture, Duncan works in a variety of media from traditional graphic arts techniques through digital imaging. “My current images are exploring local landscape as part of personal and community identity,” said Duncan. “I love the conversations that start from common recognition of a specific place shown in the image.”

Duncan has participated in a number of exhibitions and his work was recognized with the 1999 Jury Award for digital composite photographic panorama at the Maine Maritimes Flatworks Exhibit. His artwork will be on display at Morning Star Art & Framing from 6-9 p.m.

Joseph Donald Cyr earned Bachelor degrees in History and Art from the University of Maine at Presque Isle, followed by a Bachelor degree in English and EdM degree in History from the University of Maine at Orono. Currently, he serves as the Director of the Maine Acadian Culture Project, as well as being Adjunct Faculty at both the University of Maine at Presque Isle and the Maine School of Science and Mathematics.

Cyr has served on the Board of the Maine Humanities Council and the Maine Arts Commission. He currently serves on the Expansion Arts Panel of the Maine Community Foundation. Cyr is the Founder of the Association culturelle et historique du Mont-Carmel restoring the former Notre-Dame-du-Mont-Carmel church in Lille, Maine. The facility currently serves as a museum of Acadian Material Culture as well as a performance venue.

Cyr’s artwork will be on display at The Wintergreen Arts Center from 7-9 p.m.

Jme Smith’s work will be on display at the Pullen Art Gallery on the UMPI campus from 5-7 pm. As the most recent UMPI graduate, Smith said “As an artist who has found myself living in Aroostook County, and who has taken advantage of the art program at UMPI to finish a degree, I am grateful and encouraged that there is indeed such a place of learning – especially in regards to the arts, in northern Maine.”

The initial First Friday Downtown Art Walk was in June 2010. The monthly exhibits at local businesses in downtown Presque Isle have featured a variety of artists. Art work for the November 5th event, including the exhibits of UMPI graduates Nichols, Duncan, Cyr, and Smith, will be on display at Café Sorpreso, Freddy P’s, Merchants on the Corner, Morning Star Art & Framing, the Wintergreen Arts Center, and UMPI’s Reed Fine Art and Pullen Galleries. Everyone should also keep an eye out for members of the University’s Studio 923 art club, as they are usually up to something during the event.

Renee Felini, UMPI Assistant Professor of Fine Art, is the coordinator for the Presque Isle First Friday event. More information about the November 5th Downtown Art Walk can be found on its Facebook page, If you have any questions feel free to contact Renee Felini at