Archive for Augusta

News from Helene Farrar Art

Helene Farrar artwork

Helene Farrar has taught and worked in the visual arts for 20 years while exhibiting in commercial, nonprofit and university galleries in New England, New York City, Pennsylvania, Italy and England.

Work by Farrar will be featured in outdoor shows and a midsummer open house and studio sale.


“At The Edge of the Woods” exhibition at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens — May 1 to July 13, plus Encaustic Painting Workshops at the gardens Sept. 27 and 28. Register at

“Critters: Mythical, Real, and Imagined” — June 4 to July 26. Learn more at

Belfast Arts in the Park — June 26 and 27, an annual outdoor art fair at the Belfast Park by the water. Learn more at

“Walls” at the Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine in Augusta — opens June 25

“Layers” — opens June 25 at the Cotuit Center For the Arts, Cotuit. Details at

More news and events will be announced at

Archipelago Artist Profile: Basil Cake

A collection of Basil’s sculptures made from stone, metal and found objects.

By Lisa Millette

Part of our ongoing series of Archipelago artist profiles, this profile looks at one of Archipelago’s artists, Basil Cake, who has been featured in the store and gallery since it opened. In early March, before Governor Mills issued a statewide lockdown, the Island Institute’s Lisa Millette traveled to the home of Maine artist Basil Cake and his wife, Mia, to learn more about his work, life and inspiration. She spent the afternoon visiting with the Cakes, studying Basil’s intricate lamps and unique, found-object sculptures.

Think of the city of Augusta. Now think of the opposite. That is where Basil and Mia Cake live and do their art, down a dirt road beside a quiet pond, yet still in Maine’s capital. Basil met me at the top of the dirt road. We’d had a mild winter, and the route to their home was covered in a mix of ice and mud. He was concerned about my car getting too muddy, but I assured him that my car didn’t mind getting a little dirty. Basil, stopping about a half-mile down, proudly gestured to the snowy area to the right of the road. “There are over 100 garlic planted there. You can’t see them now, but they’re under there,” he shouted back to me before climbing back into his car and continuing a short distance farther to the next driveway.

Their home is surrounded by tall, straight pine sentinels standing quietly. A calico cat and large stone and metal sculptures lounged around the porch, while a dog barked protectively just behind the front door. We entered the home and settled down at the kitchen table.

Basil’s art is everywhere. The kitchen table is inlaid with geometric patterns and shapes of his own making. A Tiffany-style dragonfly lamp hangs above — Basil’s handiwork of course.

The house itself is a work of art and love. Basil has owned the property for much of his adult life, having purchased it after being drafted into the Vietnam War, a conflict he disagreed with. He built a small cabin here in the peace of the Maine woods before traveling throughout the U.S., South America and India. Upon his return, he married his wife Mia at the cabin, and then spent eight years hand digging the foundation of the house in which they currently live. Most of the house used to show the tongue and groove pine of the walls and ceilings. Mia’s Dutch heritage and sensibility, however, led to some white walls and stone floor tiles. Out in the open and nestled into nooks and crannies, the house is filled with Basil’s and Mia’s art, which brings color and cheer to the cloudy day. There are at least six of Basil’s glass lamps in the kitchen, another four in the living area, five or so in the study, and a few more in the enclosed porch. Smaller works — wind chimes, sun catchers, and stone “creatures” (similar to those sold in Archipelago) — hang in front of the windows, peer down from ledges, or sit patiently on shelves and windowsills. There are some familiar faces from the store: the stone moose and birds as well as repurposed silver utensils manipulated into an upright bass, a guitar player, and a drummer like Basil himself.

Artist Basil Cake at his home in Augusta.

Basil, Mia and I spent over an hour looking at just a portion of the pieces Basil has made. He is constantly making and creating, often crafting two to three of something before getting a prototype that he is happy with. I respected Basil’s wishes to not visit his workshop in the basement as he was unable to tidy it to his satisfaction. We did, however, peek in from the outside, and I personally found the studio perfect for an artist manipulating stones and repurposed utensils as he experiments and creates.

The love of stone has always been with Basil. When he first dreamed up the stone creatures, they resembled a more amorphic animal, thus his loving reference to them as “creatures. Now, Basil’s creatures, which include turtles, crabs, birds, moose, golfers, and musicians, are his bread and butter. Basil works with different shaped stones until the “right” animal comes out, discarding stones along the way that don’t work for the piece. These smaller pieces travel easily to storefronts and are sold at a price point that makes them popular keepsakes for Maine visitors or thoughtful gifts for a loved one. The creatures, along with Basil’s whimsical wind chimes, were once sold at more than ten Maine stores as well as the Common Ground Fair. In more recent years, he’s cut back to showing his work in only two stores, one being Archipelago where Basil’s pieces have been sold since its opening in 2000. However, this doesn’t mean that he has slowed down or is doing any less creating.

Basil’s stone creatures and wind chimes are made from found objects which call to Basil and Mia — stones, silverware, discarded glass pieces ranging from ones that fit in your hand to child-sized sculptures such as in front of the house. In an unfortunate accident, Basil experienced the loss of his lower leg when a shard from an oxygen tank, a remnant from his years working in health care, blew back at him as he attempted to cut it for a piece. Yet that didn’t stop him from creating. The blown-out tank remains out behind the house, a reminder perhaps of what should be left alone.

Basil lights up talking about his lamps, which are truly breathtaking. The first stained glass lamp he ever made is a beautiful trailing wisteria in purples and blues on a brass trunk base. It took him approximately three months, laboring 10 hours at a time. It is almost unfathomable to look at the beauty and detail of this piece and realize that it was the first one he ever created as a self-taught artist.

One of Basil’s intricate, glass lampshades.

Inspired by the lake next to their home and a love of plants, most of the lamps include flowers: wisteria, nasturtium, pansies and magnolia blossoms. When fashioning the lamps, Basil’s work is methodical and follows a pattern. In addition to the floral-inspired lamps, he also creates others that are more abstract in design, made from the refuse of a long-ago glass factory in Sandwich, Massachusetts. In creating these more abstract pieces, as well as his stone creatures, Basil looks to the object he is working with to help guide him in creating the piece it will become. He shared that it takes patience and tinkering with a piece of glass or stone in order for the shape of the final piece to form in his mind.

At the end of my visit, Basil and Mia gifted me one of their wind chimes, which now hangs in my bedroom window and serves as an object of meditation during these uncertain times. Especially today, when much of our connection to the world relies on technology, the Cakes and their creations remind us that we don’t have to look further than beneath our feet — to stones and rocks, to our gardens, to trees and animals — for connection, creativity and peace.

The Maine Arts Commission Presents “The Laws of Nature”

Entropy Katharine A. Cartwright, watercolor, 26” x 20″


The Maine Arts Commission is presenting the work of Maine painter Katharine A. Cartwright’s exhibition The Laws of Nature. This series is on display at the Maine State House in Augusta through August 2019.

The Laws of Nature exhibition is a selection of 18 watercolors inspired by Cartwright’s life as both artist and scientist. Cartwright is an internationally recognized artist from Spruce Head, Maine, whose paintings are included in over one hundred private and corporate collections.

“The foundation for my work is the intended concept, or idea, which derives from my unique perception of the world,” Cartwright said.  “When a concept forms, I explore it for years by creating a series of paintings that result in concept expansion and nuanced meanings.”



Weaving the Fabric of the Universe Katharine A. Cartwright, watercolor, 26” x 20″



The Laws of Nature series has earned Cartwright international acclaim, with several of the paintings touring in China for two years as well as notable arts venues around the United States. Cartwright’s works also appear in publications such as A Walk into Abstracts, Best of America Watermedia Artists, and Professional Artist Magazine. Most recently, one was featured as a full-page in the journal American Scientist.

Laws of Nature can be viewed as a free, self-guided exhibition, located on the ground floor of the Maine State House. All works are available to purchase. Learn more about the artist and her work at The Art in the Capitol program is administered by the Maine Arts Commission and is designed to expand accessibility for Maine artists working in state on Maine-based themes. To learn more about the program visit: or contact Julie Horn, Visual Arts Director at

The Kefauver Studio & Gallery Announces the Opening of Will Kefauver’s Show


The show features 23 of Kefauver’s latest oil paintings and runs until March 18th at the MaineGeneral Medical Center in Augusta.

Kefauver was selected by the Art Committee at MaineGeneral Medical Center’s Alfond Center for Health (ACH).  The committee was formed to coordinate the display of art in the hospital’s public areas for the enjoyment of patients, visitors, and staff.  Committee members, who are all volunteers, solicit proposals from Maine artists who wish to exhibit their work.

Kefauver’s artwork is displayed in gallery area adjacent to the hospital cafeteria on the lower level.

MaineGeneral is located at 35 Medical Center Drive, Augusta.  For more information, call MaineGeneral at 207-626-1000, or contact Will Kefauver at 207-226-0974, , or

Two Maine Artists to Create State Capitol Installations from historic Copper Dome

State construction crews position the statue of Minerva atop the copper dome of the Maine State House. Circa 1940s-50s. Courtesy of Maine State Archives.

State construction crews position the statue of Minerva atop the copper dome of the Maine State House. Circa 1940s-50s. Courtesy of Maine State Archives.

When a copper dome was constructed atop the Maine State House more than a century ago, there were likely few spectators that could imagine the copper sheathing would one day be repurposed into public works of art. The Maine Arts Commission is pleased to announce artists Judith Allen of Portland and James Creighton of Brunswick as the selected artists of the State Capitol Copper Dome Reuse Project.  Both artworks are slated for installation at the Maine State Capitol Complex in the summer of 2018.

Judith Allen, a mixed media artist based out of Portland.

Judith Allen, a mixed media artist based out of Portland.

The Arts Commission called for artist proposals to create new work with the historic copper roofing sheets, which had been replaced in 2014. A special committee, convened of state legislators, artists and the Arts Commission staff, reviewed 29 proposals. In late October, the committee selected not one but two artists who would each work with up to 1,000 square feet of copper to create permanent works of art for the State House. The first winning proposal, by mixed media artist Judith Allen, entitled “Outside In” is a silhouette of pine trees and nature landscapes depicted on a triptych –  three related panels of copper. The piece will hang above the Law and Legislative Reference Library door.

An example of a copper triptych by artist Judith Allen.

An example of a copper triptych by artist Judith Allen.

“I love copper,” Allen said. “Having worked with it for most of my career both in printmaking and for sculpture, I am thrilled and very honored to repurpose the State House roofing copper, with its rich history, for a wall sculpture that will hang in the Maine State House.

Jim Creighton, a Brunswick based visual artist.

Jim Creighton, a Brunswick based visual artist.

The other winning proposal, by visual artist James Creighton, features an image of a Maine’s state tree, the Eastern White Pine. Creighton will use dry point scratching to etch the tree’s image into smaller pieces of copper. “The existing patina on the copper panels is a result of nearly 100 years of exposure to weather on the dome of the Maine State House,” Creighton wrote in his proposal. “The patina becomes a metaphor for the history of the state- a history that is deeply rooted in its natural beauty.”

“Every Maine law for the past century was developed under these copper sheets,” said Rep. Erik Jorgensen, who served on the special committee. “While the State House is the working center of Maine’s government, it’s also a remarkable public museum. These sculptures will be an exciting contemporary addition to the state’s art collection.”

“This site is so central to Maine’s history and identity,” said Julie Richard the Executive Director of the Maine Arts Commission. “We’re proud to be part of the commissioning of new public art that reflects on Maine’s many virtues.”

Maine Arts Commission’s roster provides additional resources for teachers and schools

The 2017 new teaching artists attending the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative at Thomas College.

The 2017 new teaching artists attending the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative at Thomas College.

The Maine Arts Commission is pleased to announce the addition of four new Maine artists to its online Teaching Artist Roster. Ten new Maine artists recently took part in a three-day, annual professional development session at Maine Arts Leadership Initiative’s (MALI) Summer Institute at Thomas College, meeting the eligibility requirement to be added to the roster.

“The Arts Commission teaching artist roster is focused on supporting high quality arts education in our schools and community arts organizations,” said Argy Nestor, the Commission’s Director of Arts Education. “Ensuring high quality arts education is at the heart of our cultural plan, and advancing the skills of those on the roster is a direct outcome of the results of our recent statewide Arts Education Census.”

The Maine Arts Commission’s Teaching Artist Roster provides greater access for teachers, schools, and community groups to area artists who are trained and knowledgeable in classroom requirements, and is available free for use to all who wish to locate and contract with Maine artists for educational purposes.

Of the 10 Maine artists newly eligible to be added to the roster, five have been given the additional credential of “teaching artist leaders:”

Tom Luther, a musician and teaches piano and digital/computer music from Union.
Nicole Cardano, an actress who teaches elementary and middle school improvisational skills as well as theatre productions and show choir. She lives in Seal Cove.
Dana Legawiec, is an actor whose recent teachings involve grade 3-5 students in mask, improve, physical theatre, and yoga. She is from Bowdoinham.
Brian Evans-Jones, a writer who teaches creative writing and poetry to elementary school students through higher education levels. Brian lives in South Berwick.

This year’s MALI Summer Institute brought together approximately 70 arts educators from around the state to strengthen leadership skills, share classroom practices and creative learning methods throughout Maine’s school systems. Over the course of the institute, each educator produced a follow-up project that the Maine Arts Commission subsequently makes available as a statewide educational resource.

Since 2011, MALI has provided opportunities for hundreds of arts education “teacher leaders” to inspire over 1,500 educators through teaching workshops, presentations, and webinars at the school, district, regional, state, and national level.

The Maine Arts Commission currently administers the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative as part of one of its five priorities, fostering PK-12 lifelong arts education programs, in its five-year cultural plan, Fortifying Maine’s Creativity & Culture. To learn more about any of the Maine Arts Commission’s arts education funding opportunities or programs, please contact Argy Nestor, Director of Arts Education at or 207/287-2713.

Art in the Capitol: Celebrating a Centennial of Maine Postcards with Contemporary Art

Alison Goodwin, Portland, Oysterman, 2016, 18x18, mixed media on paper

Alison Goodwin, Portland, Oysterman, 2016, 18×18, mixed media on paper

The Maine Arts Commission is proud to partner with the Penobscot Marine Museum (PMM) in Searsport to mark a unique Maine centennial, “Maine Postcard Day,” with a new Art in the Capitol exhibit: “Maine: A Continuum of Place.” The exhibit, on display now through March 3, 2017 throughout the ground and second floors of the State House, includes 25 paintings by 17 Maine contemporary artists, as well as original glass plate images from the museum’s postcard collection. All Art in the Capitol exhibits are free and open to the public.
One hundred years ago, Maine Governor Oakley C. Curtis declared a “Maine Postcard Day” and implored all Mainers to mail a postcard of their home state to friends and family out-of-state. Curtis allegedly hoped the cards would be a tool to communicate Maine’s exclusive qualities to the outside world. Inspired by the anniversary of this day, the Penobscot Marine Museum asked Maine art critic and author Carl Little to pair vintage photographs from the museum’s remarkable and vast collection with paintings of similar subjects by contemporary artists resulting in this unique exhibit.
“The show highlights what I call ‘the continuum of place,’” Little noted. “Kids will always leap from docks, though their outfits may change. Ships will find harbor, but they may depend on computers to find their way. And certain iconic vistas—the harbors of Monhegan and Stonington, for example—seem almost eternal even as a new building might go up or lobster traps change from wood to metal.”

Tina Ingraham, Portland, Portland Pier Moorings, 2016, 36x50, oil on linen

Tina Ingraham, Portland, Portland Pier Moorings, 2016, 36×50, oil on linen

The Penobscot Marine Museum in Searsport houses a vast glass-plate collection of original postcard images which present and visually boast of the history of Maine’s towns and unique geography. The museum, founded in 1936 by the descendants of local sea captains, is the oldest maritime museum in Maine and includes 13 buildings, eight of which are on the National Register of Historic Places. The museum’s mission is to preserve and present the maritime history of the Penobscot Bay region through collections, education, and community engagement. In addition to the postcard collection, the museum has collections of historic small boats; marine paintings; artifacts from around the world collected by mariners; ship models; photographs; and manuscripts. For more information see

Jude Valentine, Lubec, West Quoddy Headlight, Lubec, Maine, 2013, 20x26, soft pastel on paper

Jude Valentine, Lubec, West Quoddy Headlight, Lubec, Maine, 2013, 20×26, soft pastel on paper

A former associate editor of Art in America, Carl Little has written extensively about art, particularly New England artists. His publications include Paintings of Maine (1991), Edward Hopper’s New England (1993), Winslow Homer and the Sea (1995), Art of the Maine Islands (1997), The Watercolors of John Singer Sargent (1998), and The Art of Monhegan Island (2004). He directed the Ethel H. Blum Gallery at the College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, Maine, for eight years and is currently on staff at the Maine Community Foundation. In addition to his art criticism, Little is the author of two poetry collections, 3,000 Dreams Explained (1992) and Ocean Drinker: New & Selected Poems (2006).

Mary Bourke, Lincolnville, Bathers, 2015, 18x18, acrylic on birch panel

Mary Bourke, Lincolnville, Bathers, 2015, 18×18, acrylic on birch panel

The Art in the Capitol program features rotating exhibits throughout the Capitol Complex and offers an additional venue to expand the audiences for Maine artists or artists working in Maine on Maine-based themes. Exhibitions are self-guided and may be viewed during the building hours where the exhibition is on display. Building hours: Maine Arts Commission Office 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday; Capitol and Burton M. Cross Buildings 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. To learn more about the Art in the Capitol Program please contact Julie Horn at or 207-287-2713.

Art in the Capitol Special Exhibit: Painting Islands: Uniting Community with Art

Moores Harbor, Isle-au-Haut. Photograph by Howie Motenko.

Moores Harbor, Isle-au-Haut. Photograph by Howie Motenko.

The Maine Arts Commission is pleased to announce the opening of a special exhibit in its Art in the Capitol program. “Painting Islands: Uniting Community with Art” by Maine photographer Howie Motenko explores collaborative art using the photographic technique of light painting on all 15 of Maine’s un-bridged, year-round islands. The exhibit is free to the public and on display until June 30, 2017 on the second floor of the State House in the Governor’s Reception area.
“We selected these photographs to showcase Maine’s rich island heritage, and the ways in which the arts can bring communities together,” said Julie Horn, the Visual Arts Program Director for the Maine Arts Commission and the curator for Art in the Capitol. “These photos are lush with color and light and bring attention to one of Maine’s provincial regions, which makes them a perfect fit for the Governor’s Reception area.”
Motenko’s mission in the “Painting Islands” project, funded in part by the Maine Arts Commission, was to create participatory art with each island community through the medium of light painting photography. The result is 15 highly color saturated, archival pigment prints that represent Maine’s island community’s choices of images that best represent them. For a full year beginning in June of 2015, Motenko, working in partnership with the Maine Seacoast Mission and the Island Institute, visited, discussed and documented each island. The artistic collaboration began with island residents selecting a subject that resonated most strongly with their community. Next, at dusk, island volunteers “light painted” their self-selected scene with flashlights to complete the artistic collaboration: they illuminated the most significant image of their community while Motenko created a long-exposure photograph of it during the blue hour. The relationship of the artist’s vision and the islanders’ combined illumination created a glowing image reflecting each island’s unique identity and collective values. The project is designed to create a stronger sense of community for each island. To learn more about this project please visit

Swans Island Quarry. Photograph by Howie Motenko.

Swans Island Quarry. Photograph by Howie Motenko.

“Everyone who takes part in creating an image like this can feel proud,” Motenko said in The Mount Desert Islander earlier this year. “I know that the people who shine flashlights will remember exactly where they were and what they lit that night.”
Photographer Howie Motenko is a resident of Mount Desert Island who has spent the past nine years photographing Acadia National Park and local area. He says that “Travel and landscape photography are in my blood,” and has visited six continents, 30 countries and 26 states. Additional projects have included “Painting Bridges: Uniting Community with Art,” studies of the carriage road bridges at Acadia National Park, and Acadia Photo Safari.
The Art in the Capitol program features rotating exhibits throughout the Capitol Complex and offers an additional venue to expand the audiences for Maine artists or artists working in Maine on Maine-based themes. Exhibitions are self-guided and may be viewed during the building hours where the exhibition is on display. Building hours: Maine Arts Commission Office 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday; State House and Burton M. Cross Buildings 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. To learn more about the Art in the Capitol Program please contact Julie Horn at or 207-287-2713.

Equal Protection of the Laws: America’s Fourteenth Amendment

“Involuntary Incubator” by Rebecca Spilecki (left), “The Usual Suspects” by Barbra Whitten (right).

“Involuntary Incubator” by Rebecca Spilecki (left), “The Usual Suspects” by Barbra Whitten (right).

The Kennebec Valley Art Association (KVAA) in partnership with The Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine (HHRC) present “Equal Protection of the Laws: America’s Fourteenth Amendment”, an art exhibition which contemplates the importance of the 14th Amendment.

Themes depicted relate to many areas of American society covered by the amendment: including due process, liberty, gender and sexuality, race, legal protections, equality in the workplace, housing, education, law enforcement, rights of the incarcerated, tolerance, and local, state, and federal representation.
Both the exhibition and the opening reception are free and open to the public.

On view: Sept.22 – Dec.16, 2016
(at Michael Klahr Center on campus at the University of Maine at Augusta.)
Opening: Thursday, Sept. 22 4-7pm, with a brief program beginning at 5:30pm
Gallery hours: Monday-Friday, 9-4