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Interactive show exploring memories opens Thursday at USM Art Gallery

The University of Southern Maine Art Gallery examines memories — where they come from and what ignites them — in a new alumni exhibit opening on Thursday, Jan. 25.

It's titled, "Recollections: Stolen Dreams, Plundered Memories." An opening reception is scheduled for Feb. 1, from 6 to 8 p.m. with a talk scheduled for 6:30 p.m.

Artist Danny Evarts '16 led a group of 10 alumni to reshape the Gorham campus gallery space to resemble a home. There's a living room, kitchen, play space, sewing corner and assorted nooks and niches.

"The show is about collected memory," Evarts said. "A home was chosen because it is intimate. It's where we let our guard down."

And hopefully, attendees will feel comfortable to share.

"It's not just a gallery," Evarts said. "It's not just stuff on a wall. We want you to be part of this. We want visitors to come and actually contribute."

Besides examining an enormous amount of collectables and household bric-à-brac — from an E.T. doll and a Furby to a Nintendo 64 cartridge and a Sesame Street lunchbox — attendees will be asked to share their earliest memories, mark their height on a wall, take a photo in the Instagram closet or listen to the voices recorded on a pair of rotary phones.

Other notable elements include a wedding dress constructed of paper and incorporating dozens of hand-written memories. And, in the living room, the TV will play a film edited together from assorted family movies shot on Super 8 film.

Joining Evarts on the project were: Sandy Barry '15, Liz Brown '17, Rachel Church '09 & '17, Tommy Davis '17, Farrin Hanson '15, Patricia Kaczmarek '17, Solange Kellermann '96 & '16, Jazmin Knapp '16 and Jill Osgood '17.

Though the exhibit opens on January 25, an opening reception is scheduled for Feb. 1, from 6 to 8 p.m. with a talk scheduled for 6:30 p.m.

The USM Art Gallery is located at 5 University Way in Gorham.