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Tuesday, 23 February 2016 21:01

Call For Artists: Art2016, 21st Annual Juried Show

Written by Tim Bissell

HALLOWELL - The Kennebec Valley Art Association invites artists to submit artwork to Art2016, the 21st annual juried show at the Harlow Gallery at 160 Water Street in Hallowell. Art2016 will be on view May 13 through June 18, 2016 and an opening reception will be held on Friday, May 13 from 5 to 8 with an awards ceremony at 6 p.m. Art2016 is open to all Maine artists and to any artist with a strong connection to Maine.

The Museum will reopen on May 1, 2016

BAR HARBOR The Abbe Museum, the first and only Smithsonian Affiliate in the state of Maine, will be closed until April 30, 2016, while a new core exhibit is designed and installed in the Museum's main gallery. The exhibit, People of the First Light, is the first large-scale permanent exhibit of its kind for the Abbe.

'The exhibit will occupy approximately 2,100 square feet in our downtown Bar Harbor location,' said Abbe President and CEO, Cinnamon Catlin-Legutko. 'During the course of the past year and a half in planning for our new strategic plan, numerous community conversations occurred and some of those resulted in identifying specific financial sustainability strategies that influence our exhibit planning efforts. The conversations all pointed to the need for a permanent exhibit.'

Tuesday, 09 February 2016 08:55

February vacation week at CMCA's ArtLab ArtCamp

Written by Wire Reports

ROCKLAND The Center for Maine Contemporary Art (CMCA) welcomes participants of all ages to take part in an ArtLab process painting extravaganza during the upcoming school vacation week from 2 to 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 16 through Friday, Feb. 19 at CMCA's temporary South End location, 218 Main Street, Rockland.

ArtLab ArtCamp's multi-day workshops will ignite and excite ideas about how to combine paint, play, and performance. Each day, artists of all ages will engage in painting activities and improvisations that promote exploration and chance in the creative process. There will be time for both individual and collaborative experiences with a variety of guided prompts and independently pursued art adventures.

ORONO The University of Maine Department of Art is accepting applications for the after-school ArtWorks! Program.

As it has for more than 30 years, UMaine's Art Education Program will offer the program for students in grades K8. ArtWorks! provides children an opportunity to explore the world of art through hands-on experiences with a variety of visual media, the history of art and the viewing of artworks.

ORONO The Lord Hall Gallery at the University of Maine presents an exhibition of the transfixing landscapes of UMaine art professor Michael H. Lewis.

'Deep Roots/Old Strength,' which runs from Feb. 5 through March 25, includes a selection of Lewis' paintings dating from 19672008. An artist's reception is scheduled from 5:307 p.m. Feb. 5.

Lewis uses a process of oil-based turpentine wash to create translucent and radiant landscapes that reflect not only the 'beauty and diversity of Maine's physical landscape' but also offers 'an effective pathway to the mysterious realms beyond literal conscious thought.'

FARMINGTON The University of Maine at Farmington kicks off the semester with an exhibit at the UMF Art Gallery by Jesse Potts, sculptor, artist and UMF assistant professor of art. 'Hot Dust' is a collection of sculptures, prints, and animated installations and is on display from Jan. 28 through March 6. Free and open to the public, the exhibit will feature an opening reception 5-7 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 28.

The works in this exhibit explore the intersection of place, memory and time. They emerged from a meditation on the meaning of 'home' and the ways that 'home' shifts based on one's perception of its permanence or transience. In the studio, the artist questions how the memory of an experience is organized through its relationship to a place and time. How might those memories be mutated, overwritten or erased by time?

BANGOR/ELLSWORTH On Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, The Bangor YMCA will be bringing Vegas to camp for their very first Adult Prom at the newly winterized Bangor YMCA Wilderness Center at Camp Jordan on 101 Camp Jordan Way in Ellsworth. Set along the shores of Branch Lake, the Y's Adult Prom is the perfect date night to add to anyone's Valentine's Day weekend. For ages 21 years and older, doors will open at 8 p.m. when DJ Disco will fill the Wilderness Center's King Dining Hall with music for guests to dance the night away, and an hors d'oeuvres buffet will be included. A cash bar will be available and to ensure that all guests get home safely, the Y will be providing a door-to-door shuttle service that will pick guests up from home, bring them to The Wilderness Center, and drop them back off at home at the end of their evening.

HALLOWELL - The Harlow Gallery's Annual Silent Art Auction returns Feb. 3-13 at 160 Water Street in Hallowell, offering spectacular deals on original art donated by local Maine artists and art collectors. You'll find paintings, pastels, sculpture, prints, photographs, crafts, artifacts, vintage and antique art This is a great way to start a new collection or add fresh artwork to your existing collection.

Open for bids Feb. 3-13, 12 6 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday, Saturday, Feb. 13, 12 - 4 p.m.; bidding ends at 4 p.m. sharp.

BANGOR - Robinson Ballet, Bangor's Premier Dance Performance Company & Dance School is proud to announce the addition of ACHIEVE Programs, a series of educational outreach programs designed to bring dance education into area schools, into the organization. The addition of ACHIEVE, or Arts Can Help Inspire Everyone to Excel, further continues the Robinson Ballet mission to engage the community through dance by offering education for people of all ages, abilities and aspirations. The program was formerly housed under Community Health & Counseling Services and has served over 8,000 students in the past nineteen years. It was absorbed by Robinson Ballet after the program was in danger of being discontinued due to lack of funding. Robinson staff and board members saw an opportunity to combine the programs with their own educational outreach initiatives.

Tuesday, 12 January 2016 19:56

Farm in a box

Written by Philip Marcelo (AP)

Shipping containers reused for fresh produce

BOSTON Shipping containers have been turned into housing, art, even playgrounds. Now, a Boston company is recycling them into high-tech mobile farms as part of a new wave of companies hoping to bring more innovation to agriculture.

Freight Farms and other indoor agriculture companies are looking to meet the growing demand for high-quality, locally grown and sustainable produce by farming fruits and vegetables in non-traditional spaces such as warehouses, industrial buildings and containers.

They're using hydroponics and other longstanding methods to grow plants without soil and incorporating technology that automates much of the work and reduces waste.

'The food system needs to be designed around technology and equipment that's available today,' says Brad McNamara, Freight Farms' CEO and co-founder. 'It was designed 100 years ago without the right technology to reach the level that it needs to. The whole system needs to be modernized.'

The company says its Leafy Green Machine helps farmers produce a consistently bountiful crop roughly the typical yield of an acre of farmland while using 90 percent less water, no pesticides, and just 320 square feet of space.

Climate controls, automated lighting and irrigation systems, and mobile apps for monitoring and maintaining crops remotely also allow farmers to grow year-round with minimal oversight.

'Starting a farm is a lot to ask of one person,' says company president and co-founder Jon Friedman. 'So we've put together a system that gives even a novice the tools to produce thousands of plants and get them to market.'

So far, Freight Farms customers say the benefits outweigh the costs, which include the $82,000 base price for the 2016 model, as well as an estimated $8,000 to $16,500 a year in electricity, water and growing supply costs.

'The beauty of the Freight Farm is in its ease of use and its mobility,' says Thomas LaGrasso III, chief operating officer at LaGrasso Bros., a Detroit produce wholesaler that's been growing lettuce in its unit since September. 'We harvest to meet our customers' daily needs. You cannot have it any fresher.'

Launched in 2010, Freight Farms is considered a pioneer of container farms. About a half-dozen other companies in the U.S. offer them, including CropBox in Clinton, North Carolina; Growtainers in Dallas; and PodPonics in Atlanta.

Freight Farms has sold 54 Leafy Green Machines, with ones already in operation on Google's campus in Mountain View, California; Stony Brook University on Long Island; and Four Burgers, a restaurant in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Most Freight Farm customers are growing high turnover, compact crops the company recommends lettuce; hearty greens like kale, cabbage and Swiss chard; and herbs like mint, basil and oregano and selling them to local restaurants and groceries and at community markets, according to McNamara and Friedman.

Jon Niedzielski, who heads the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency in Massachusetts, says his office has already approved a handful of loans to farmers using Freight Farms' containers.

'Efficient, hydroponic systems that need little open space can make a lot of sense, particularly in urban areas with lots of potential consumers willing to pay top dollar, year-round, for lettuce and herbs,' he says.

Industry experts caution that upfront costs and annual operational expenses like electricity for lighting systems that often run 18 hours a day can mean slim profit margins for would-be farmers.

But they also suggest technological advances are helping make indoor growing more feasible.

'I think it will take some development to make these systems truly sustainable,' says Andrew Carter, an urban agriculture consultant in New York and North American region manager for the Germany-based Association for Vertical Farming. 'But I'm a firm believer in indoor agriculture and small-scale growing and think it will supply healthy, sustainable, and local food.'

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