The Life of Beatrix Potter

The Constellation Gallery, home of the Maine Artists Collective, is proud to present The Stories and Life of Beatrix Potter, on July 17th at 6pm
An original play written and directed by Lisa A. Crothers –
performed by Danielle Jarosz
The Constellation Gallery, home of the Maine Artists Collective, is proud to present The Stories and Life of Beatrix Potter, on July 17th at 6pm. Potter is an original play written and directed by Lisa A. Crothers, performed by Danielle Jarosz.
Lisa’s work as a social-documentary photographer incorporates writing and photography. She gives a needed voice to critical social issues of our time. She is a member of the Maine Artist Collective and has work on exhibit at the Constellation Gallery that conjures deep emotions.
Crothers is an independent community educator, who passionately advocates for the arts & humanities. She teaches courses in both English and the Humanities at the higher education level.
“My role in the community is advocacy for the arts and humanities. I work on projects that blend literary works into events or performances for people to enjoy. I want people to experience classical literature— visually,” said Lisa. “This comes from my love-hate relationship with Shakespeare. I always hated Shakespeare’s work, until I started working in the field of literature and discovered that the bard’s work was meant to be experienced— not read. That can be true for many works of literature.”
Crothers was pleasantly surprised to find herself writing a play about Potter.
“The inspiration for Beatrix Potter came during a creative moment of trying to write something that was enjoyable for all ages,” said Crothers. “Potter’s work is timeless and loved by many.”
Crothers got to know Potter by reading her books to her own children and soon saw a kindred spirit.
“Potter was inspired by the outdoors. She collected insects and small animals to study and sketch. If I think about my own work as a photographer, I use the colors of nature and the beauty of the natural world to create. By taking a simple walk I was inspired to work on a new collection of photographs that will feature fairies,” said Lisa.  “I would like the audience to gain an appreciation for classical literature and see it’s importance in today’s society. I really want the audience to appreciate the artist behind the work.”
The Stories and Life of Beatrix Potter was first performed last year at The Hive, a restaurant with a performing space and gallery, in Kennebunk, and received great reviews.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to share Potter’s life and work again. I hope to have the performance set in other venues, to continue to give audiences an opportunity to experience classical literature,” said Crothers.
The Constellation Gallery is hosting a number of events from poetry readings, book signings, band performances to mini plays to engage with the community sharing all forms of art.
“We’re excited about the line up of events, and proud to promote the creative economy with all art forms, in Portland,” said Jus Ruks, President of the Maine Arts Collective.
The mission of the Maine Artist Collective is to connect the public with Maine artists and support development by providing exhibition and studio space, education, and professional workshops.
The Constellation Gallery is located at 511 Congress Street and is open Tuesday to Saturday from noon to 4 pm. For private viewings call 207.409.6617.

Duel Literary Event – FREE

Author/Statesman Neil Rolde to tell animated stories about his books and life with poet John Willy at the Constellation Gallery, on June 20th
A poetry reading with a renowned author’s stories inspired by them is a new concept to involve more people in the written word’s importance
The Constellation Gallery is pleased to announce a literary night of readings on Friday, June 20th from 6pm to 8pm.  Award winning author/statesman Neil Rolde will tell stories about his books and life. Each vignette will be inspired from a poem written and read by John Willey.
Having a story spontaneously spring up from a poem is a new concept to engage people in the art of the written word.
“I’m looking forward to the evening,” said Rolde, a Maine renowned historian, former politician and, philanthropist.  “I’ve never done anything like this before. It should be fun and it’s a unique way for people to understand the relevance of poetry and research.”
Most of Mr. Rolde’s books are extensively researched and involve the history of Maine and its people. The plight of Native Americans has been a reoccurring theme in Rolde’s life since his childhood and he helped Maine’s tribes while he worked in the Curtis administration. These experiences led him to write one of Maine’s definitive historic books: Unsettled Past, Unsettled Future: The Story of Maine Indians.
Rolde has won awards for his books from the Maine Historical Society, the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance, and the Maine Humanities Council. John Holt Willey’s will read from his poetry book: Observed From a Skin Boat published by Moon Pie Press in 2013.
“I’m honored to be sharing the stage with such a renown author and historian. I have a great regard for Neil. I only hope my poems will be satisfactory,” said Willey. “I’ve often read my work but people don’t know how to respond other than sometimes clapping. I think having an author become inspired by them, giving them a personal context, is a great way to open the door of literature for people.”
Neil will probably be inspired to tell some stories from his upcoming book, Real Political Tales: Short Stories by a Veteran Politician to be published by Polar Bear & Company, as they are fresh in his mind.
“The short stories are fictional, to be sure, but they incorporate almost a quarter of a century working directly in State government and even more years involved in the politics of Maine. They bear out my extensive experience of the political scene from the inside, not as expressed by opinionated media nor by the average person seeing things from outside,” said Rolde.
Real Political Tales is Neil’s second fictional work.
“They illustrate that our governments are made up of human beings – and in Maine at least, doing their level best to deal with the needs of the population at the lowest possible cost. It was said that we Maine legislators worked for a salary of three cents an hour,” said Rolde.
This year the Constellation Gallery has swung open its doors wider to the community for more engagements of the arts hosting bands, poetry readings and other events.
“We’re a collective helping to build the creative economy of Portland by engaging the community with what we do at the gallery and through our art, our programs and community partnerships,” said Jos Ruks, President of the cooperative gallery. “We’re very pleased to host this event.”
The Constellation Gallery’s Maine Art Collective is Portland’s only gallery non-profit co-operative and is structured democratically, so members can choose the leadership of the organization and participate with the running of the gallery and it’s educational programs with a board and bylaws.
More about Neil Rolde:
Mr. Rolde’s many years of public service include being an assistant to Governor Kenneth M. Curtis of Maine for six years and 16 years as an elected Representative in the Maine Legislature. He represented his district of York, Maine and became Majority Leader of the Maine House during the 107th legislature from 1975-77. He became the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in 1990 in an election bid against Bill Cohen.
Rolde grew up in Brookline, Massachusetts. He worked as a film writer before moving to Maine with his wife of fifty-two years, Carlotta Florsheim, to raise their family, in York.
Neil is very involved in his York community and remains politically active. He continues to serve as Chairman of the board of the Save our Shipyard nonprofit that successfully fought the potential cuts to the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard proposed by the BRAC federal commission, twice.
Mr. Rolde has served on many State boards and commissions a few are: the Maine Health Care Reform Commission, the Maine Historic Preservation, and the Maine Arts and Humanities Commission. His expertise led him to sit on many private non-profit boards as well, and he became Chairman, Maine Public Broadcasting Corporation, Vice-Chairman, University of New England Board of Trustees, Chairman, Board of Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, Chairman, Seacoast Shipyard Association Executive Board, Trustee, and the Maine Health Care Access Foundation.
A list of Neil Rolde’s books:
1.     Breckenridge Long: An American: An American Eichmann??? An Enquiry into the Character of the Man who Denied Visas to the Jews
2.     Continental Liar from the State of Maine: James G. Blaine
3.     Unsettled Past, Unsettled Future: The Story of Maine Indians
4.     The Interrupted Forest A History of Maine’s Wildlands
5.     Maine A Narrative History
6.     Maine Downeast and Different an Illustrated History
7.     An illustrated history of Maine
8.     Your Money or Your Health: America’s Cruel, Bureaucratic, and Horrendously Expensive Health Care System How It Got That Way and What to Do About
9.     Rio Grande Do Norte: The Story of Maine’s Partner State in Brazil What It’s Like, What Its past Has Been, and What Are Its Ties to Maine
10.The Baxters of Maine: Downeast Visionaries
11.So You Think You Know Maine
12.Maine in the World: Stories of Some of Those from Here Who Went Away
13.O. Murray Carr: A Novel
14.Sir William Pepperrell of Colonial New England
More about John Holt Willey
A 1952 graduate of Good Will Hinckley High School, John spent three years as a Marine at Camp Pendleton, Calif. In San Francisco, he worked as a writer and an investigator and earned his California investigation license. He opened his own private investigation agency in 1968.
He returned to Maine in 1977 and lived in Clinton, Boothbay, Mount Vernon, Belgrade and Waterville. John worked as a boat builder, and has helped build and restore homes, furniture, boats and pipe organs. He’s a cabinetmaker, mason, Hinckley board member, and loves being out on the water on his eighteen-foot sea kayak he built and launched in 1997.
John Holt Willey’s first formal poem was done for a high school English class, and published in Young America Sings about 1951. His poetry book: Observed From a Skin Boat was published by Moon Pie Press in 2013.
His next book, Winter Apprentice, is a memoir of apprenticeship at the Paul E. Luke boatyard on the coast of Maine and will be published by Polar Bear & Company,
For more information about the gallery and collective please go to:

Summer Theater: Arundel Barn Review

Summer Theater is here in Maine and in full swing. With so many options to fit in all types of budgets there really is no excuse to head out and experience some fantastic, award-winning live performance. Our special this week is a fantastic review by The Art of Maine’s guest writer Joe Mauro. He was at the Arundel Barn Playhouse this week to experience 8 Track. Head over to the Critic’s Corner to read what he has to say about the show!

Art and the Music of Hall Pass Denied

Some of the best venues I have seen recently are those offering the arts and humanities in one space, providing aesthetically pleasing art and spectacular artistic performances. Local Art Walks are a great opportunity not only to get outside, tis the season, but a fantastic way to meet artists of all disciplines. Be sure to check your local papers for any and all Art Walks you can fit in this summer. Galleries tend to be open late and sometimes offer refreshments and entertainment, besides the opportunity to meet the visual artists.

This month, if you are close enough, why not head to Portland, Maine for the First Friday Art Walk on June 6th. Hot-off-the-press I can give you the scoop about one such gallery that is a MUST VISIT!!   The Constellation Gallery 511 Congress Street. Not only will they have a new exhibit that sounds exciting, they will have featured music in the courtyard!   Here are the details:

Awaken to Artists’ Dreams and Jazz

at Constellation Gallery


Portland ME – Come see how the artists at Constellation Gallery deal with the theme of “Dreams” , while listening to the improvisational sounds of Hall Pass Denied, a jazz improv ensemble from Wells High School on Friday, June 6th from 5 to 8 pm.  The “Dreams” show continues at Constellation Gallery, 511 Congress Street in Portland, home of the Maine Artists Collective (MAC) to June 26th.  Constellation Gallery is open daily from noon to 4 pm and by appointment by calling 207-409-6617.  MAC artist Margaret Silsby will also have a special display on Constellation’s Feature Wall.


Two science teachers from Wells High School, who believe in the importance of the arts, have come up with an innovative way to help students grow as artists and musicians. Chrys Demos who teaches chemistry and physics picks up his guitar while biology teacher Lee McGlashen reaches for the bass and they join students after school to jam as the group Hall Pass Denied, which features Crothers on baritone sax; Chandler McNiel on drums; Lee McGlashen on bass; and Chrys (Kit) Demos  on  guitar.


 “These students have brought an unprecedented energy and new voice to our after school endeavor,” Demos says.   “I hope to spotlight these new artists in a way that allows them to grow and express themselves creatively with the direct support of the staff at Wells High School and surrounding community.  In the meantime, we hope to bring some summer celebratory grooves to your ears.”


The mission of the Maine Artist Collective is to connect the public with Maine artists and support development by providing exhibition and studio space, education, and professional workshops.


As Always……remember to come back and tell us about it!



The Arts Bring Awareness to Human Trafficking

Out of the Shadows:

Bringing Human Trafficking Issues to the Forefront in Maine

Human Trafficking is one of the most serious social issues of our time. It is estimated that globally 21 million people live as slaves today. These numbers far exceed any period of time in history, including that of the Atlantic Slave Trade.


Conferences and speaking engagements have become important venues in bringing awareness to this 32 billion dollar industry however, as the industry grows, our need for awareness needs to increase as well.

Out of the Shadows: bringing human trafficking issues to the forefront in Maine

Tuesday May 13 @ 6pm

The Hive

84 Main Street

Kennebunk, Maine

The event is an original production  by the combined efforts of David Susman, Professor of Humanities at York Country Community College and Lisa A. Crothers, professor of English, Social Documentary Photographer and community advocate for the arts and humanities.

This literary event combines both the visual and performing arts to raise awareness of a serious social issue happening right here in the State of Maine.

The performance is followed the special appearance of Kim Regoulinsky, Maine’s abolitionist on Human Trafficking.


New Poetry From Colin Sargent

Admittedly, I have never been a true lover of poetry – WAIT! Just hold on – before, I was never a lover of poetry. I was one of those people tortured by the terrible instruction of teachers untrained in sharing the true beauty of poetry. I come from a generation where memorization was important and the complete deconstruction of every word was necessary to really understand what the writer meant.

As the years passed, I started to see something new and to ask -  What about loving poetry for what is is? What about letting the beauty of the words so perfectly crafted take you to a far away place, or conjure up an emotion you want to feel?

Reading poetry is tough sometimes, but listening to poetry is beautiful all of the time and fortunately here in Maine poetry events are very popular. On April 2, The Hive rekindled poetry with a spectacular spring event For the Love of Poetry. Featured poet Kevin Sweeney of Portland energized the audience with his wonderful and witty verse. Guests were also entertained with the poetry of David Weiss, Marla Backwell and Oliver Payne.

Portland’s acclaimed Colin Sargent will be the featured poet

May 7th at 7pm the  Spring Thaw Poetry Event

at The Hive, Kennebunk, Maine

Colin Sargent, Ph.D is a novelist, playwright, and author of three books of poetry: Luftwaffe Snowshoes, Blush, and Undertow. A graduate of the United States Naval Academy, he has been awarded the Maine individual artist fellowship in poetry, a Stonecoast MFA in creative writing, and a Ph.D in creative writing from Lancaster University in the UK. His screenplay Montebello Ice is under option at Gideon Films. The Portland, Maine resident is founding editor and publisher of award-winning Portland Magazine as well as a board member of the literacy organization Maine Reads. Museum of Human Beings is his first novel. According to Publishers Weekly, “Playwright Sargent’s debut novel is a stylish look at the fate of Sacagawea’s baby son, Jean Baptiste Charbonneau… An impressively rounded portrait of the laid-back, introspective, nomadic Baptiste, this novel will satisfy fans of American history.”

During the Spring Thaw event you will also hear the works of Charles Eastland, Pete Lee, Jeri Theriault, and Linda Aldrich.

Poetry events are free and open to the public. The evening begins at 7pm, doors open at 6pm. Grab a friend and make plans to sit at a table, enjoy some refreshments and Jazz by local musician Sal Hughes. Come, escape the stress of the day, allow the beauty of poetry to transport, transform and renew your spirit during The Hive’s Spring Thaw Poetry Event

Wednesday May 7th @ 7pm

The Hive 84 Main Street Kennebunk, Maine


African Mask Exhibit – Fantastic!

There is a little known gem with an exceptional space and friendly and knowledgeable staff  – it must be placed on the to-do list of places to go:

Museum of African Culture

The Art is exceptional and there is a great bit of history to read that accompanies each piece, this is a wonderfully curated show for all ages!

Recently, I visited the museum’s current exhibit “Cameroon: The Spirits of the Grassland” with a group of students for an impromptu sojourn and not only was the staff knowledgeable about the exhibit, the friendly young woman was eager to answer all types of questions posed by the students. Museum goers who travel with packs of kids know this is often, unfortunately, not always the case.

The Exhibit it FREE!

This bit of information about the museum is a quote I took directly from their website:

“The Museum of African Culture was founded by Oscar Mokeme and Art Aleshire August 8, 1998 in Portland Maine. It is the only institution in northern New England devoted exclusively to sub-Saharan African arts and culture. There are over 1,500 pieces in the collection of the Museum, ranging from large-scale, elaborately carved wooden masks to smaller scale figures, cast copper alloy (bronze) figures, textiles, utilitarian objects, ceramic, bone, ivory and composite objects.”

FMI Visit: