The University of Maine at Presque Isle will hold an opening reception for its newest exhibition entitled Me & Some Friends in conjunction with Presque Isle’s First Friday Art Walk on Friday, August 5 from 5-7 p.m. in the University’s Reed Art Gallery.
This impromptu exhibition will display works of art from 14 area artists and friends of UMPI Gallery Director Sandra Huck. Huck said an empty slot in the Reed Gallery schedule created the perfect opportunity for friends to pull together an exciting and creative exhibition.
Among the “friends” participating in the show with Huck will be UMPI alumnae Jme Smith and Bill Duncan. Smith is a painter while Duncan focuses primarily on panoramic photography. Duncan was recognized with the 1999 Jury Award for digital composite photographic panorama at the Maine Maritimes Flatworks Exhibit.
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.”
Also an UMPI alum, Carol Ayoob will bring her talents back to the University. Ayoob is a traveling musician and contributes to Presque Isle’s Music in the Park series. She is currently pursuing her Master’s of Fine Arts degree at the University of Maine at Orono. The University is delighted to welcome three alums back to campus for this event.
To round out the list of participants, Huck contacted several other artist friends from around the state, including colleague Wendy Kindred. Known for her paintings, Kindred is a former professor of art at the University of Maine at Fort Kent. She now resides in southern Maine.
Painter Viki Kennedy and her photographer husband John David Kennedy will also be participating. Both have contributed to CaribouFest Art in the Park for several years along with having Viki’s works displayed in galleries in both Maine and California. Another “friend,” Russell Mount, has also had his works on display in other areas of the country. Mount lives on the outskirts of Presque Isle and cites the rural setting as a powerful influence in his work. He looks forward to showcasing his talents at the University gallery.
Working with oils and pastels, Frank Sullivan recently moved from Massachusetts to Littleton and converted his old potato house into a studio. Periodically offering classes in drawing and painting, his primary inspiration is the places he visits and where he lives. Also participating in the show will be Cheryl Lovely as she returns to the University 10 years after her solo exhibit at the Reed Gallery in 2001. A longtime Presque Isle native, Lovely works with water colors and oils. Her primary subjects are landscapes still life, and current events.
The exhibit will also welcome a little Chicago flare as the University welcomes Linda Crane. Wanting to escape the hustle and bustle of city life, botanical artist Crane scoured the country on the internet in hopes of finding a relaxing and tranquil area to live. Crane found Maine and shortly packed up and left her home in Illinois. Her attention to detail makes her works interesting and unique.
Martin Gallant, Deb Parks, and Chester Gage will travel from Caribou to join the 11 other artists. Gallant is the guidance counselor at Caribou High School and has been working with watercolor for a number of years. Parks typically works in the literary arts, but has also contributed knitting pieces to various charitable causes. Gage is a self-taught artist and has also been working in the arts for several years.
Huck said that several of these artists – including Duncan, Smith, Gallant, Crane, Lovely, Gage, Sullivan and Viki Kennedy – have participated in past First Friday events. Bringing them together for this show, she said, will provide for a special night to remember: “This impromptu exhibition reiterates how committed, energetic, willing, and enthusiastic these artists are about creating, sharing, and helping,” she said. “This should be an enjoyable evening with friends, so please plan to join us.”
This event is free and open to the public. The Reed Fine Art Gallery is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The gallery is closed Sundays and University holidays. For more information about this event, please contact Reed Gallery Director Sandra Huck at 768-9611.
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. For more information about the art walk, please visit its facebook page at www.facebook.com/PresqueIsleFirstFriday.