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Dowling Walsh May Exhibits

Jamie Wyeth, Portrait of a Moon Curser – Fifteenth in a Suite of Untoward Occurrences on Monhegan Island, 2021, Acrylic, gesso, and oil on canvas, 30″ x 48″

Dowling Walsh invites the public to an opening reception Friday May 7 from 3 to 6.


MUD SEASON is a group exhibition featuring works by Jamie Wyeth, Ann Craven, Reggie Burrows Hodges, Lois Dodd, Daniel Minter, Stephen Pace (1918-2010), Marsden Hartley (1877-1943), Fairfield Porter (1907-1975), and David Driskell (1931-2020)


Aaron T Stephan, Simple Twist of Fate, 2020, Sand, cement, dye, 60″ x 60″ x 120″

Art Workshops at the Maine Art Gallery

In Adeline Godminc-Tronzo’s workshop in drawing with painting and collage, students will create multi-media images like this still life by Susan Bracaglia Tobey.

Students of art are invited to work on their skills in two classes offered by the Maine Art Gallery in Wiscasset. Adeline Godminc-Tronzo will teach a drawing workshop with painting and collage on June 13, and Carolyn Gabbe will lead an exploration of how color is used to paint light and shadow in a three-week class on successive Mondays beginning July 12.

French-born Adeline Goldminc-Tronzo was educated in Paris before moving to New York City in the mid-’70s to study at the Art Students League with Marshall Glasier, Joseph Hisrch, Robert Beverly Hale and Norman Lewis. She holds a BFA in art and philosophy. Her work has been exhibited across the U.S. and Europe. This class will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and is limited to eight students. The cost is $60 for members of the Maine Art Gallery; $70 for non-members.

Carolyn Gabbe is a graduate of the Advanced Fine Art program at Studio Incamminati in Philadelphia and holds a MA from The American University and a BA from The George Washington University. This class will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and is limited to nine students. The cost is $80 for members; $85 for non-members.

Vaccination and masking will be required.

To register for the classes and to see the lists of materials required, visit

MCA Essay Series: What Maine Craft Means to Me

Nisa Smiley

By Nisa Smiley

At first glance, the word “craft” brings to mind modesty and simplicity and yet, it encompasses so much more. Craft is universal. Human history is rich with craft traditions, livelihoods, and artifacts, collectively telling the stories of who we were, then and there. Any time functional objects were needed, from dishes to clothing, jewelry to leatherwork, tools to furniture, it was the craftspeople that were called upon to make these items by hand.

As we have evolved, so, too, have our crafts, reflecting advancements in thinking, technology and cultural needs. What began as a way to meet basic needs, and typically defined an individual’s lifetime’s work, today has morphed into a movement that spans the spectrum, from full-time, professional craftspeople, to hobbyists, to DIYers. We craft for pleasure, income, tradition, community, education and creative output. Craft is now for anyone who wants to participate, which means that the craft landscape has spread far and wide, in quality, quantity, and variety. The line between art and craft has softened, allowing many to bridge that divide, and redefine what it means to be a craftsperson and an artist in today’s world.

I spend most of my creative time in this place, expressing my artistic visions through the vehicle of craft, professionally and for pleasure. Craft connects me to my culture, place, and time, and gives me a voice to contribute to this essential part of the human experience. This freedom to pursue my creative endeavors, on my own terms, is a privilege that I am grateful for each day. My gratitude extends to those who’ve come before me, and to the many fine people who make up the craft community here in Maine today. Some are skilled craftspeople and artists, and some are generous teachers. Some are lovers and collectors of craft, and some are tireless advocates for the craft community. Many are all of the above. Each person plays an important role, and together we make up a strong, vibrant, welcoming place to be creative with our hands, hearts, and minds.

Organizations, like the Maine Crafts Association and the Maine Arts Commission, provide resources and support that benefit so many, myself included. And there are many of us! The Maine Crafts Association serves over 600 members, and year after year, they continue to develop new programs and resources for craftspeople in Maine. This is inspiring to me, and helps me to keep an optimistic outlook when thinking about the future of craft.

When I think of craft, I think of this amazing community and the vast array of handwork that each of us brings to it. I think of my personal responsibility to share what I have learned, and the hope found in so many new faces who are eager to learn. I think of this place that we call Maine, and the abundance of inspiration and support that we find here. I think of the past, present, and future of craft, and I am filled with pride and gratitude, and humbled. It’s a good time to be a part of the craft movement.

Nisa Smiley is a studio jeweler and MCA member working in Ellsworth. She as served as a mentor in the 2019 and 2020 Craft Apprentice Program and participates regularly in MCA programs and initiatives.

CMCA’s ArtLab for All Ages to be held March 6

The Center for Maine Contemporary Art (CMCA) invites artists of all ages to take part in an ArtLab for All Ages workshop on Saturday, from 2 to 4 p.m. March 6 on Facebook Live. 

Led by ArtLab educator Alexis Iammarino, participants will create a series of colorful painted collages. Taking creative lead from from Biennial artists Meg Hahn and Jenny McGee Dougherty, draw inspiration from the most familiar of spaces and objects by exploring new ways to survey your surroundings.

In response to CDC recommendations, the workshop will stream live on For those tuning in locally, complimentary ArtKits are available for pick-up from March 3 to 5 from noon to 5 p.m. and March 6 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at CMCA. Participants are encouraged to explore the galleries via virtual tour at in advance of the workshop. For more information, email Alexis Iammarino at

How to plan for business growth during slow e-commerce times

In this issue of Commercial Currents, we’re sharing a guest piece by Anca Gooje, an e-commerce web developer based in Scarborough, Maine, who helps businesses sell easier online. Whether your business sells a product or service, Anca offers some simple ways you can use this time to increase your brand visibility and grow your audience online.Anca Gooje

By Anca Gooje

Now that the busy holiday season is over and you have filed your sales tax, it is time to take some time to focus on long-term growth for your business. How should you do that?

The beginning of the year is the ideal time for taking a deep breath and setting goals and intentions—but often there is a gap between these large goals and actually taking the action to make them happen. Consistent, meaningful steps need to be taken to move in the right direction. As business owners, we often find it easier to work IN the business (doing client work and creating products which generate immediate results) rather than working ON the business (strategy, implementing systems, and marketing which contribute to long-term growth).

Here are four simple ways to increase your brand visibility and grow your audience online:

1. Create an online marketing strategy

A marketing strategy will help you map out the steps you need to take in order to reach your marketing goals. Your approach will vary depending on what stage of the customer journey you are focusing on. You should start leveraging your organic reach as much as possible, and you can further expand your reach with some ads on Facebook for a very targeted approach. Once your marketing strategy is clear, create a content calendar that includes how many times per week you will post, on what platforms, and what type of content you will use. A monthly content calendar can be repeated with similar themes and different content.

2. Batch create posts or videos and captions

Using your content calendar, prepare your posts in batches to save time and increase consistency. Take several photos that can be used for different purposes (or use your product/brand photos), create graphics, write relevant captions, gather a hashtag list to bring your content in front of new audiences on Instagram.

3. Schedule social media posts

Once you have prepared your content, take some time to schedule your posts a month or more at a time. This will ensure you have a consistent presence on social media, and you will save a lot of time and the mind space needed to remember that you have to post something. You can even schedule stories in advance—and the best part is that it is free to do so. You can still login to Instagram or Facebook once in a while to respond to comments, interact with some of your ideal clients, and so on, but it is a huge relief when your posts are actually lined up and ready to be posted automatically at the perfect time.

4. Analyze the results and tweak for best results

After the first month, go back and check your Analytics for Instagram and Facebook. See what type of posts had the most engagements, resulted in more followers or messages and more. Keep in mind that you need to have a varied approach to your outreach. You should not just aim for getting the maximum number of likes, but try to generate reactions, comments, actions taken in response to your post.

Anca Gooje is an e-commerce web developer who works with established women entrepreneurs to help them sell easier online by creating effective e-commerce websites that look and work great. Her signature process combines front end web development, digital marketing, and soft skills that allow her to capture the essence of a business’s brand and transform it into a high-quality user experience. Learn more at

MCA Essay Series: What Maine Craft Means to Me

Emmanuel Sogunle

By Emmanuel Sogunle

I didn’t really notice that my world was filled with craft until recently. Thanks to the Lunder Institute for American Art, I was able to work on a project called the Makers Map. The Makers Map is an interactive map that identifies and locates makers and craftspeople to provide an online network through which both visiting and local artists can find Maine-based material experts, builders and workshops that could present useful in the production and development of artistic projects.

Working on this project enhanced my views of the world. From the ordinary wooden desk in my dorm to the clay mug in my cabinet to the small glass-blown object I bought when I was abroad, craft is everywhere. But not only is it prevalent, the art of craft is also beautiful in how it fills the world. Thinking about this allowed me to reflect more on the role of craft in my life.

I was born in Nigeria, and looking back, I was surrounded by many talented craftspeople. My aunt was a seamstress, and she was especially gifted in making Aso Oke. Aso Oke, which translates to “cloth from the top,” is a handwoven fabric that represents status in Yoruba culture. It does so because of the intricacies woven into the cloth. Due to the complex floral motifs and geometric shapes embedded in the design, Aso Oke has been popularized in Nigeria and is flexible in its use. It is commonly used for traditional wedding attire but can also be made into hats, bags or shoes. Through generations, the techniques used in making Aso Oke have been passed down. Stemming from the desire of women to clothe their families, Aso Oke has been able to cultivate the perfect blend of creative craft and domestic needs.

I find it most fascinating that craft is not always taught through formal structures but through knowledge and experience passed down through generations. Craft is historic in nature, but that history can also be easy to ignore.

Recently I stumbled onto a post by the Black Craftspeople Digital Archive (@blackcraftspeopleda), and they shared a post about the enslaved craftspeople who built the White House and the U.S. Capitol. In creating these American monuments, enslaved and free Black craftsmen were key players in their constructions. Black carpenters, blacksmiths, shoemakers, tailors, painters and many more helped build the America we live in today but are rarely recognized.

These craftsmen most likely weren’t taught craft in a conventional setting but still learned to create a life for themselves, and not only for themselves. Through apprenticeships, they were also able to pass down their material knowledge to generations after them. When I think of craft, I think of not only what it meant to the maker but to all the craftspeople before and after them. Craft benefits so many people, myself included, and makes me so grateful of the talents that came before me in making objects, places and building that enhance our lives.

Emmanuel Sogunle is from Denver, Colorado. He is a senior majoring in economics and education at Colby College in Waterville. He is the president of the Colby African Society and acts as the parliamentarian of the Student Government Association. He has been working with the Lunder Institute for American Art for over a year and is assisting the Lunder Institute Director of Artist Programs Daisy Desrosiers in the creation, development and digital support of the Maine Makers’ Map, an interactive tool to facilitate networking between visiting artists and highly skilled craftspeople in Maine.

Courthouse Gallery Fine Art shows ‘New Beginnings’

Philip Frey, “Interlude.”

Ellsworth Courthouse Gallery Fine Art presents “New Beginnings,” a mid-winter online show highlighting new work by 12 artists. The show is a precursor to the gallery’s upcoming summer exhibitions.

A range of media is highlighted, including collage on canvas, digital montage, oil on canvas, sculptures from stainless steel or reclaimed wood and found objects, and cyanotype—a historic 19th-century photographic process where watercolor canvas is coated with a light-sensitive emulsion (layered with plants in this case) and exposed to the sun for 12 hours or more.

Courthouse Gallery is at 6 Court St., Ellsworth. Winter hours are by chance or appointment. For more information, call 667-6611, or visit

New issue of MMPA Antidote now available online

Johanna Moore, “Billy Shore.”

In response to COVID-19 stay-at-home orders and local closings, the Maine Museum of Photographic Arts in Portland began creating the online series MMPA Antidote, which includes photographic artwork, audio interviews, and artist statements and reflections from Maine artists, aimed to serve as inspiration during times of isolation.

Published bi-weekly, Antidote features contemporary photographers and interviews with industry experts.

The most recent issue features pinhole photography by Johanna Moore.

Visit to view the most recent issue.

Investigate the links, share the images, and send some of your own to

Wrapping Up 2020: A word from Craig Olson of the Island Institute

A Year.

I’ll leave it at that. It’s been “A Year.” You can read whatever you want into it. 

Claire Donnelly and I recently sat down to wrap up our current Commercial Currents podcast series, Business in Uncertain Times. It’s really a review of our impressions of 2020 for businesses in Maine, successes and failures, and the lessons we’ve learned moving forward.


At the beginning of what we are now calling a marathon, we had no idea how things were going to shake out when the economy began to shut down, especially when we began to realize that it was going to be more than two to three weeks. What struck us most about this year was the word we keep repeating, resiliency — not in a climate sense, which you hear from us a lot at the Island Institute, but in a “bouncing back from the brink” sense.

Here is what we saw: business owners quickly shifted their businesses in order to deliver products and services in new ways. Curbside delivery became a big thing, as did home delivery. In-person interaction with clients quickly shifted to Zoom and other online meeting platforms, and people fell into the routine pretty quickly. Business owners looked at parts of their business and made hard choices that allowed them to stay in business, although often on a limited basis.

Something we were pushing business owners on constantly prior to the pandemic was the need for keeping good records. Paycheck Protection Plan (PPP) funding and other grant programs shined a bright spotlight on that need and clean business records made applications much easier. Many of those with somewhat blurry financials have now sharpened things up considerably. Hand-in-hand with good business records, we always advise business owners to have their business set up as a separate legal entity. Applying for grants and loans at the state and federal levels was a big wakeup call for many that they needed to separate personal from business. We subsequently made it a focus of webinars and our Business Resilience Grant (BRG) funding, helping business owners get information on how their entity should be established and helping to pay for the support to do it.  If the pandemic results in you losing your business, you shouldn’t be worried about creditors coming after your home or retirement funds. 

The one thing that bothered us both were the businesses who came to us for grant funding that we couldn’t help. Whether they were out of our funding jurisdiction, or if their business wasn’t shifting enough to be viable during the pandemic, it simply broke our hearts to have to say “no.”

But there is a light in all of this. What we have clung to through the last nine months is the amazing positive attitude we have found in the businesses we work with. Most are looking at the glass as half full, using adversity as an opportunity to learn, and making well considered decisions about their businesses. 

Head over to the podcast link for a bit more depth on our annual review, which podcasts we enjoyed the most, and our other thoughts about the past year and the businesses we have the honor to work with along Maine’s coast. Oh, and there’s a bonus at the end of the episode: we play a rousing round of “overrated/underrated,” featuring our conflicting opinions about what it means to live on an island in Maine!

From the whole Small Business Team at the Island Institute — Claire Donnelly, Lisa Mossel Vietze, Lisa Millette and myself — we wish you and yours all the best for a vibrant 2021.

Craig Olson is senior community development officer at the Island Institute

Artemis Gallery holiday show

Artemis Gallery was open Nov. 27 and 28 for a holiday show. A portion of sales was donated to the Good Shepherd Food Bank.

“While the physical gallery is closed for the colder months, all artwork can still be viewed online at

For more information call 207-276-3001, or email