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UMPI’s newest Art Professor shares “personal community” in art exhibition

The University of Maine at Presque Isle’s Reed Fine Art Gallery will showcase the work of the University’s newest Fine Art professor with an exhibit that focuses on the “personal community” she has created since moving to northern Maine. 

Renee Felini’s installation Creating Community will be on display from Feb. 2 through March 6 in the Reed Gallery. A closing reception for the exhibit will be held on Friday, March 6, from 5-7 p.m.

Creating Community is a gathering of objects and creations by Felini representing her family’s sense of “personal community” since their arrival in northern Maine.

Felini has close ties to the County. Her mother is from Fort Kent and her father is from the Bronx. Every summer as a child, she and her five siblings would visit relatives in northern Maine. In 2001, she returned to the area to work on a horse farm in Portage. Every summer since, she and her now husband Tim Bair made a trip to the County, and in 2003, they married on the shores of Eagle Lake.

When Felini and her husband moved to northern Maine from Ohio, their family consisted of two dogs and a cat, along with their household possessions. Since then, Felini has taught art courses at UMPI and, this spring takes on a one-year appointment with the Fine Art Faculty as long-time Fine Art Professor Clifton Boudman prepares to retire.

“I am excited for the opportunity to work at UMPI because it will make it possible for Tim and I to remain in the area and continue with my art,” Felini said.

Felini graduated from the University of Cincinnati in Cincinnati, Ohio, with a BFA in 2003 and from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, with an MFA in 2005.

Her show focuses on the objects that are acquired over the years to fill a house, to make it a home – or a personal community – and how those objects take on new significance when people work to create a new home and space.

“In an area that can isolate an individual, we create our own little world within our home, where all our ‘friends’ gather and cohabitate,” Felini said.

The public is invited to view Felini’s show and attend her closing reception. Gallery hours are from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The gallery is closed Sundays and university holidays. For more information, call 768-9611.