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UMFK Blake Library to host exhibit by local artist Erika Thiele

September 28, 2010



Erika Thiele holding one of her oil paintings at her home in Fort Kent.


In recognition of October as National Down Syndrome Awareness month, the University of Maine at Fort Kent Blake Library Gallery will display an exhibit of oil paintings by local Fort Kent artist Erika Thiele from Sunday, October 3 through Friday, October 29.   

An opening reception to meet the artist will be held on Friday, October 22 from 4 to 6 p.m. in the Blake Library Gallery.

Erika Heidi Thiele, a 40-year-old artist born with Down syndrome, was first discovered by her high school art teacher who noticed her special talent and artistic ability. Erika has gone on to develop her talent through private lessons with a professional artist, as well as through art classes.
The exhibition features more than 30 oil paintings of beautiful landscapes and flowers that she has been working on over several years. Erika works with oil paints. Among her favorite works are renditions of Monet and Van Gogh, classic landscapes and impressionist art, as well as seasonal scenes and still life images of flowers and vases.  
Over the years, Thiele has exhibited her paintings throughout the state, including shows in Augusta, Waterville, Bethel, and Bath. She has been recognized by both Cary Medical Center in Caribou and the Aroostook Medical Center in Presque Isle as an "artist of the month."
Erika’s works also has drawn national recognition from such groups as the national Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) in New York City. The NDSS chose two of Erika’s paintings as the cover prints for invitations to the annual professional Women’s Luncheon Series in New York City and Los Angeles.
Thiele's art work has strengthened her own self-confidence and pride in her abilities and serves as a model for what people with disabilities can accomplish when given a chance.
As a result from the increased interest in her work, Erika has sold several paintings in recent years. Individuals interested in purchasing a painting should contact Thiele at 834-3820.
The exhibit can viewed Mondays through Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Fridays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Saturdays from 1 to 5 p.m. and on Sundays from 1 to 9 p.m. For more information on the exhibit, please contact Sofia Birden, gallery curator, at 834-7527.  
National Down Syndrome Awareness month, celebrated in October, aims to educate and make aware to the community the risks, symptoms and treatments for Down Syndrome. According to the National Down Syndrome Society in America, there are approximately 400,000 people with Down Syndrome.