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UMFK Blake Library holding an opening for "Drawings of Acadian Culture-The Artists' Eye" Exhibit

January 23, 2004


The Blake Library Gallery at the University of Maine at Fort Kent will hold an opening for the exhibit entitled "Drawings of Acadian Culture-The Artists' Eye", on Saturday, January 31st from 2:30-4:00 p.m., as an opportunity for the public and campus community to meet the instructor and the students who are represented in the show.

The exhibit, which opened recently, features selected works reflecting the Acadian Culture by Therese Provenzano and the students from her studio, "Artist at Work".

"Our images of Maine are shaped by the works of such artists as Rockwell Kent, Winslow Homer, Edward Hopper, Neil Welliver, Alex Katz, Lois Dodd, Marsden Hartley, the Wyeths, and Fairfield Porter," said Provenzano. "I realized that none of these artists really touched upon the hard working hands, the pulse of the St. John Valley, its Acadian heritage. To document and give respect to a culture of hard labor that put their hands to work and gave their hearts to God; I had my students work on a collection of drawings that are inspired by the Acadian culture."

The exhibition also celebrates UMFK's new Acadian Archives building. The Archives was founded in 1990 at UMFK to preserve and disseminate information about the history and cultural heritage of Maine's St. John Valley. The Archives collects manuscripts and audio/visual materials relevant to the history, folklore, and folk life of the region.

"Artist at Work", Provenzano's studio located in Fort Kent, opened to the public in April of 2003. According to the artist and instructor, the dedication she has to serve the communities of the St. John Valley and the campus community of UMFK makes her life challenging and particularly rewarding.

"One of my missions is to inspire visual learning experiences that are influenced by the cultural and rural region of the St. John Valley," said Provenzano. "The other is to introduce the community to what art can be, as well as the creative process that takes place and is clearly evident in the works of our contemporaries. My intent is to nurture and develop this experience through the disciplines of drawing, painting, and printmaking."

Her hope is to plant seeds, where a student can develop art as a professional career and/or develop a deep appreciation for art.

The collection of student drawings is about dry media and primarily focus on the still life, with a few works that represent the landscape and the portrait. The drawings are intended as fully realized works rather that preliminary sketches or a rehearsal for more formal works.

Among the students represented in the show are: Kurt Holzhausen, associate professor of psychology at UMFK, Roger Damboise, Diane Voisine, Arthur Lamoreau, Greta Soucy Ouellette, Betty Desjardin, Jamie Kelly, Zachary Lopez, Phillip Dubois, Kelsey Dubois, Adam Plourde, Alisa Picard, Daniel Coloumbe, Krystal Paradis, Chelsea Paradis, and Sam Chasse.

Provenzano is also showing some of her new work; an installation and abstractions in blue pastel. She completed this work during her residency at the Vermont Studio Center where she was awarded an artist in residency grant. This series of abstractions are about conversations, where the imagery is derived from an installation made of found or collected objects.

"This exhibit really hits home for me, with my ancestry being from the St. John Valley dating back to my great grandfather," said Provenzano. "I am also very proud of the students work in this show. They demonstrated perseverance and a commitment to their work."

The prestigious and reputable Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts has accepted Provenzano into their Masters of Fine Arts program. She earned her bachelor of fine arts in painting from Philadelphia College of Art and has studied at the National Academy of Design School of Fine Art in New York. Her drawings have awarded her with numerous prizes and recognition nationally and internationally.

She currently instructs privately from her studio and at UMFK. She is teaching three studio courses at UMFK during the spring semester: Advanced Studio Projects, Drawing, and Fundamentals of Art.

The current exhibit will be on display until February 12 and may be viewed during regular library hours. For more information about library hours or the exhibit contact gallery curator, Sophia Birden, at 834-7527.