Open Studio Day’s at MFT’s Fiore Art Center

Daughter/father duo Callahan Bridge


The last Sunday of every summer month, the Fiore Art Center 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. July 28 will be the first Open Studio Day of the summer. From 12-3pm guests can enjoy the Center’s gallery, garden, live music on the lawn, free refreshments, and spend the afternoon at the Center’s gorgeous grounds on the shores of Damariscotta Lake. For July, visual artists Mildred Bachrach and Eleanor Conover, along with academic resident Sonja Birthisel will be opening up their studios.


Academic Writing Resident Sonja Birthise


Mildred 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, ME for over 40 years and is a member of the Cherokee Nation.


Mildred Bachrach, Flotsom and Jetsam, 10’ by 8’, laminate, cloth, brown paper


Eleanor Conover is a painter whose work responds to site-specificity and the human relationship to environmental space. Eleanor was raised in New England and currently resides in Tennessee, where she teaches at the School of Art, University of Tennessee, Knoxville.


Dr. Sonja Birthisel is the first academic writing resident at the Art Center. Sonja 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. She 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, 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 the contemporary times.


Studio visit with resident artist Eleanor Conover, works in process. From left to right Eleanor Conover, Bill Toomey (CEO Maine Farmland Trust, in background), visiting artists Lois Dodd and Jeff Epstein.


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. MFT decided to expand its work of “celebrating agriculture through art” from MFT’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 MFT supporter, environmentalist and artist Joseph Fiore (1925-2008).

New this year is the recently renovated Fiore Wing, which now stores almost all of the remaining art work by Joseph Fiore. During Open Studio Days, the archives will be open and accessible to the public.

Questions about Open Studio Days? Email program co-director Anna Witholt Abaldo, or call the MFT office, (207) 338-6575.

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