Let the Light in!
Are you and yours experiencing Cabin Fever? Don’t worry! Winter is nearing its close; the clocks are about to change, and spring is right around the corner. Five Rivers Arts Alliance has some great suggestions for you to get out of the house and back into the world.Visit local farms for Maple Sugar Sunday and spring happenings like lambing, or just pull on some old mud boots and take a walk outside – check out the reverse side of this publication for a list of healthy hikes to get your blood flowing. Dance! Head to the Downeast Dance Festival March 28-29 in Topsham. Take a look at our list of dance, art and craft classes and get your creative juices flowing, or learn new facts and perspectives by participating at the Midcoast Community Read. View your windows in a whole new way after seeing the group art show “Taking Panes” in Richmond. For details about these activities and more, read on; or visit fiveriversartsalliance.org.
ArtSpeak RICHARD LEE – TAKING PANES
“Look at those weathered mill windows with wavy glass panes,” exclaims master paper artist Richard Lee. Stacks of windows lean against each other along a wall in Lee’s second floor studio in Richmond’s historic Ames Mill. Their frail, transparent forms mirror the artist to some degree. Both show their age. Each is outlined in white. They share a few cracks and creases between them. And together, man and medium are responsible for a vibrant collaboration of creativity, community and transformation in the dead of winter.
“Taking Panes”–an exhibition fusing historic windows with contemporary artists–is a response to the disposal that these long-lived windows faced after replacement. “What are you going to do with the old windows,” Lee recalls asking? “Discard them” came the answer. Lee proposed salvaging them instead–and window-frame after window-frame quickly arrived at his studio, listing at attention, awaiting his orders. Lee’s command, “Let’s give windows to artists and ask them to make an art statement.”
Nearly one-hundred artists from the midcoast to as far away as Eastport, Bethel, Solon and Portland have traveled to Richmond and returned to their studios window-handed. The collaborating artists are diverse in their expressive styles and Lee expects that the upcoming show will reflect both quality and originality. “I think the challenge of transforming these old panes has been stimulating to their creators,” he explains.
Regional artists, however, are not the only inspired participants contributing to “Taking Panes.” Local businesses and agencies including the Town of Richmond, Richmond Contract Manufacturing Company, Paradigm Windows, K & G Hardware, Steve Pennisi, Amy Stacey Curtis, Jay Robbins and dozens of volunteers have also donated space, staging, promotional materials, hospitality and energy to this artistic salvation. Artists Mary Beth Morrison and Karen Campbell have helped organize the effort. Proudly, Lee nods and says the generosity he has received has been “overwhelming–a tremendous response.”
Credit Lee’s quiet magnetism for this. Lee, 75, is not only a master papermaker but a sly motivator. His ability to invite, cajole, suggest, and challenge artists from around the state in the dead of winter to pick up a window, create new work quickly, return it to Richmond, and attend the show’s opening in-person is, like winter itself, a force of nature most cannot escape.
Artist Richard Lee has inspired children and adults locally, nationally and around the world to participate in and practice papermaking. Last year, Lee was awarded Honorable Mention for the 2007 Maine Alliance for Arts Education Bill Bonyun Award and his paper expression “Egyptian Angel with a Monk” is currently traveling in the Fuller Craft Museum’s national exhibition “Pulp Function.” Lee himself traveled to Turkey last year and envisions another exotic journey this coming year if his health allows. All of his effort now though is focused on this exhibition and only one chore remains. Participation. Lee leans over and says, “Come all, bring your neighbors.”
Show details: Opening Reception: Sunday March 16th, 10am – 4pm. Free.
Ongoing: Wed – Sun, 10am to 4pm, March 12 – 16, March 19 – 23, March 26 – 30.
Location: Ames Mill, 307 Front Street, Richmond, 4th Floor.
Elevator in the building for those needing assistance.