Event to raise funds for Cultural Center in Downtown Presque Isle
Officials with the Wintergreen Arts Center and the University of Maine at Presque Isle are collaborating to host their first ever 10×10 Art Auction, which will help them to establish a Cultural Center in the downtown area. The auction will be held Friday, May 4, from 6-9 p.m. at the Wintergreen Arts Center during the May 2012 First Friday Art Walk.
As part of the 10×10 event, organizers are providing participating artists with blank 10-inch by 10-inch canvases to fill in any way they choose – “Any media goes.” Artists have between now and the end of April to complete their works, which will be put on display in the Barresi Financial Gallery at WGAC starting May 4. A silent auction and reception will be held that evening from 6-9 p.m. Each canvas will hold a reserve bid of $50. Bidding will end promptly at 8:30 p.m. and winning bids will be announced at 8:45 p.m.
Co-organizers Wendy Gilman-Zubrick, WGAC Executive Director, and Heather Sincavage, UMPI Assistant Professor of Fine Art, said they are excited to see the work artists produce based on these simple parameters.
“We are tickled by the quality of artists we have on board for this event – both local artists and artists from Southern Maine, New England and across the United States,” Gilman-Zubrick said. “The sheer enthusiasm with which the artists are approaching our cause – and their canvases – is incredibly energizing!”
Organizers also are excited about how funds raised during this event will allow WGAC to expand on its successful programming, and support Wintergreen and UMPI’s efforts to make 149 State Street a Cultural Center with established museum-quality, downtown gallery space on the floor above WGAC.
Funds raised from the auction will help Wintergreen to sustain the momentum that has been built through programs such as “Saturday Open Studio,” “Toddle-In Time,” and “Girls’ Night Out!,” and will allow for other family programming and visual arts initiatives, as well as programs in the performing arts, to be explored and expanded upon.
“The funding is especially needed to help sustain our afterschool art enrichment programming as our Department of Education Arts and Parks grant comes to an end in November,” Gilman-Zubrick said. “Wintergreen programming is on an upward arc and the funds we raise as part of this auction are going to help us to continue moving in that direction.”
For UMPI, the auction event and the larger project it will support are the beginnings of an exciting new venture that officials believe will benefit students, the arts community, the downtown area, and the community at large.
“We’re very excited about having gallery space like this set up in a building that is so closely associated with art and its connections to community,” Sincavage said. “Not only will this be an opportunity to feature more of our regional talent in a centralized location but also we are excited to have a facility that will offer national and international exhibitions to our local community.”
While the second floor gallery will include room for climate controlled storage of the University Collections, the goal is to have a more expansive gallery space that will allow for larger art work to be displayed and larger group exhibitions to be held, and will serve as a real-world learning space for students. The downtown gallery will allow students to gain experience in the professional practices they’ll experience within the art field.
There’s a lot of work and fundraising to do before the Downtown Cultural Center becomes a reality, but officials are confident that with exciting events like the 10×10 Art Auction and with community support like they have seen in the past, it will happen soon enough.
“This collaborative effort capitalizes on the momentum created by our respective organizations and is enhanced by our joint vision,” Sincavage said. “Not only does it allow for unique engagement for our students, but it also creates vibrancy in the downtown that makes Presque Isle a better place to live and a desired place to visit.”