World Famous Artist Visiting Portland

Uchay-Joel-ChimaIn the last post, I talked about meeting artists at community events like Art Walks to support their work and contributions to the Arts and Humanities.  On my own recent journey, I was unexpectedly surprised during such an encounter.

After enjoying some wonderful music on Brown Street in Portland, Maine,  I made my way through the crowd with a couple of friends to take a look at a new exhibit:

String Theory

by Nigerian Artist –  Uchay Joel Chima

The Museum of African Art and Culture

To be honest, traditionally, I am not a fan of multimedia art, however there was something very compelling about Chima’s work. The intricate designs constructed intimate images of humanity. It is his belief that the string, used in his art, is what connects us all and as humans, we have a larger capacity to our world than the machines that replace us.

Ulchay photo-2 (2)“Human Resources II”

The show is up until September but Chima will only be in Maine until Friday. He enjoys talking to people about his work and there is something very special when embracing art in the presence of the creator. Call the museum before heading over to make sure he is there, he is definitely an artist not to be missed.

Oh . . . . .  and here’s an insider’s tip..… Need something to do with the kids this week? Chima will be there meeting a small group on THURSDAY @ 2PM - so mark your calendar and join us because when it comes to the Arts and Humanities  . . . .  the more the merrier!

Chuma image-1

FMI about the museum and directions:

Investing in the next big name artist

How do we spend wisely considering factors like: a still unstable economy, sky-high gas prices, droughts causing food supplies to increase – only to name a few things here. We still want to make investments and decorate our homes, so what can we do if we cannot head to Christies and bid on that Monet? As patrons of the Arts and Humanities commitment and investment are the grounding principles. A few years ago when I became invested in the arts community, I took down all of the “reproduced art” in my living space, recommitting myself to original art. My walls are still pretty bare, but the satisfaction is in knowing that over the years, piece by piece, careful selection by selection, I will have invested in the arts and the economy.

What does that have to do with Investing?

Invest in local art!

It goes back to spending wisely. Investments in original art can often bring in a nice return. I am pasting a link here for a great article written in The Telegraph – “Investing in art: how to make money by discovering the next Monet”

Where do I find artist to Invest in?

Finding artists can be easy if you know where to look. Finding art you love and can see sustaining itself in the future takes more time – but you can do it. A great place to start meeting artists is local art shows and festivals. Artists love to talk about their work and want to sell to people who care about their pieces; they want to know their work is going to a good home. You also want to invest in artists who care about their work and who you know will be making art for a long time.

One one my favorite places to meet artists is the famous Art Walks. Cities large and small across the country have established calendars and galleries who participate in such events. Many times the displaying artists can be found enjoying the positive energy.

A great Art Walk I have mentioned on this site before is the First Friday Art Walk in Portland, Maine. This Art Walk tends to be more like a festival with different types of music on street corners, sidewalk art sales and refreshments in many of the participating galleries. Here’s the deal about this month . . . . . . . . . .What you will also find at the August 1st Portland Art Walk is Art at The Constellation Gallery  511 Congress Street Portland, Maine –  by a spectacular artist worth investing in:

Ramona du Houx

Sails (2)Time to Set Sail – Ramona du Houx

RAMONA DU HOUX takes photographs with a painter’s eye. The technique she discovered in 1979 uses the camera’s motion to create a sense of being personally closer to an object through colors, textures, memories, and the seasons by capturing the energy of nature. People, animals, building, landscapes … literally everything becomes visibly interconnected as they merge in, what she calls, a Lightgraph. Gallery Storks of Tokyo, Japan, represents Ramona’s work. She’s exhibited her fine art photography internationally and in cities along the US Eastern seaboard, including New York.

 “The Greek philosopher Heraclitus wrote, ‘You can’t step into the same river, twice.’ Today, most of us are too busy to contemplate how much nature’s motion surrounds us, or is within us. We don’t normally see how interconnected rhythms of nature are apart of us. Modern society plugs us into the Internet, and that can open doors, but sometimes too much of being Internet connected disconnects us from the mysteries of the natural world that can be transformational. Scientists, innovators and inventors throughout history took the time to observe nature and her interconnected rhythms,” said Ramona. “I would like to show how nature’s interconnectedness can lead us to discoveries about our world and ourselves.”

To read more about this artist ans what she does go to the following websites:

If you know of an artist worth visiting at a local event – come back here and tell us about it!



Review-My Fair Lady

Head over to the Critic’s Circle for an excellent and in-depth review

of one of the most treasured classics in theater – My Fair Lady!


Do you have a review or something to share? Send it along for possible publication.

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!