PortraitsProject9 high schools and 1 elementary school, 200 students, and the UMA Danforth Gallery come together in collaboration.

The Collaborative Portrait Projects: Farmers’ Edition exhibit opens on January 16th in UMA’s Danforth Gallery.  Exhibited will be 10 large-scale portraits of local organic farmers produced collaboratively by 200 students from 10 area schools.  An opening reception will be held on January 16th from 5:00pm – 7:00pm, during which, art students will unveil the portraits, and local farmers will hold a farmers market.

This fall, 10 local school art classes started working on collaborative art portraits depicting local heroes; Maine organic farmers. Each portrait starts with a photograph of the farmer that is enlarged to a four by four foot square, and then divided into a grid of thirty-six eight-inch squares. Each square is given to an individual student to create their own artistic interpretation using various multimedia techniques.  The eight-inch squares are then put back together to create a portrait.

“When it gets assembled up on the board, a magic happens.  The individual pieces come together to form more than the sum of their parts,” said Susan Bickford, adjunct Art Professor at UMA and a driving force behind the project.  “The project allows students to experience the transformative power of assembly and offers an opportunity to incorporate civic lessons into art techniques and vice versa,” added Bickford.

The exhibit is part of an effort to maintain the value of local school art education and connect to the greater community outside of the classroom.

“This is only one example of the ways in which UMA art faculty are reaching out to public schools.  Our professors have also supported high school art exhibitions at UMA, developed an afterschool program in Gardiner, and have worked with Winthrop schools to bring students into a working art studio space,” said Gregory Fahy, Dean of UMA’s College of Arts and Sciences.  “In an era where public school art budgets are declining, it is critically important for university faculty to help public schools provide valuable arts education for all Maine students.  UMA is committed to doing this,” he added. 

The exhibition runs from January 16th – February 21st at UMA’s Danforth Gallery located in Jewett Hall.  The Danforth Gallery is open Monday – Thursday from 8:30 AM to 7:00 PM and Friday 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM.

1463192 10201992629049201 1999831508 n



'The Collaborative Portrait Projects: Farmers’ Edition' on display at UMA’s Danforth Gallery - Portland Press Herald

Central Maine students create collaborative portraits - Kennebec Journal