On the last Sunday of every summer month, the Joseph A. Fiore Art Center in Jefferson opens its doors to the public with festive, family-friendly open studio days.
In July, August, and September, the artists and writers in residence welcome visitors into their studios to see what they have been working on during their month-long residency; the center is also open for tours. This Sunday, July 28, will be the first open studio day of the summer. From noon-3 p.m., guests can enjoy the center’s gallery, the garden, live music on the lawn, and free refreshments, and spend the afternoon at the center’s gorgeous grounds on the shore of Damariscotta Lake.
For July, visual artists Mildred Bachrach and Eleanor Conover, along with academic resident Sonja Birthisel, will be opening up their studios.
Maine resident Bachrach describes herself as an artistic pluralist who uses a variety of techniques and materials to explore the concepts of personal and environmental trauma. She has lived on a farm in Detroit for over 40 years and is a member of the Cherokee Nation.
Conover is a painter whose work responds to site specificity and the human relationship to environmental space. She was raised in New England and currently resides in Tennessee, where she teaches at the School of Art, University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
Birthisel is the first academic writing resident at the art center. She recently finished graduate school at the University of Maine, where she is currently employed. This summer, she will be working on several papers about climate change and its impacts on Maine agriculture.
Laurie McDonnell is this season’s resident gardener. From tending urban landscapes to nurturing her own small farm, she has relished the opportunities she has had to partner with the land. McDonnell looks forward to cultivating her memoir and critical essay-writing practice as she tends the gardens at Rolling Acres Farm.
There will be live music on the front lawn by Callahan Bridge, from Appleton — fiddler Raelin Callahan and guitarist Kevin Callahan. The daughter-father duo is passionate about bridging generations, time past and present, and locations far and near. They play music from Irish, Scottish, Quebecois, American old-time, and other traditions. They consider these songs to be living treasures and see themselves as both carriers of tradition as well as interpreters through contemporary times.
The monthly open studio days take place at the Joseph A. Fiore Art Center at Rolling Acres Farm, 152 Punk Point Road in Jefferson. Maine Farmland Trust acquired Rolling Acres in 2011, with the goal of protecting the land. Maine Farmland Trust decided to expand its work of celebrating agriculture through art from Maine Farmland Trust’s gallery in Belfast to Rolling Acres Farm, and in 2016, the Joseph A. Fiore Art Center’s artist residency program took root – named after generous Maine Farmland Trust supporter, environmentalist, and artist Joseph Fiore.
New this year is the recently renovated Fiore Wing, which now stores almost all of the remaining artwork by Fiore. During open studio days, the archives will be open and accessible to the public.
For more information email program co-director Anna Witholt Abaldo, firstname.lastname@example.org, or call the Maine Farmland Trust office, 338-6575.
The Joseph A. Fiore Art Center at Rolling Acres Farm is a program of Maine Farmland Trust that actively connects the creative worlds of farming, conservation, and the arts. The purpose of the center is to stimulate and advance the dialogue between human and environment. The center hopes to instill passion for preservation through the arts, create awareness, and build community – by hosting exhibitions and public educational events, through research and application of ecologically sustainable farming practices, and by offering residencies for artists, writers, and academics on a historic farm.
Maine Farmland Trust is a statewide nonprofit that works to protect farmland, support farmers, and advance the future for farming. Learn more at mainefarmlandtrust.org.