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Maine Art Education Association members’ “Portals” exhibit opens with large reception and workshops


On January 28, the USM Art Department and galleries celebrated the opening of “Portals: Work by Maine Art Education Association Members” at the USM Art Gallery in Gorham.

"Portals," an interpretation of the concept of portal –a gate or entrance that is especially grand or imposing; or, an entryway, doorway or threshold, brings together the creative work of art educators from around the state of Maine to celebrate the studio practice and exploration that takes place beyond the classroom. 43 artists, 10 of which are USM Art Alumni, created 57 pieces.

artThe artists represented in this show teach in Maine’s public and private schools and universities and are members of the Maine Art Education Association (MAEA): an arts advocacy organization that promotes the artistic learning of children, encourages innovation and research in art education, and the exchange of ideas and practices among teachers.

Prior to a well-attended opening reception on January 28, MAEA members had the opportunity to take workshops with USM Art faculty. Michael Shaughnessy taught simple plaster mold-making and experimental paper-casting, and Damir Porobic taught a 3-D multiples workshop, utilizing non-toxic and cost-effective advanced mold-making techniques.

workshopAllison Price, the "Portals" exhibition coordinator for the MAEA and art teacher at Brunswick High School, said “I think it’s a fabulous opportunity for all the art educators to get together, draw from the wisdom of university professors and learn new processes," adding "we’re very grateful for USM." Price collaborated Director of Exhibitions and Programs Carolyn Eyler and her gallery students on mounting the MAEA display at USM Art Galleries. 

groupKelly Hrenko Ph.D., Associate Professor of Art Education at USM, said “I think its really important for art teachers to show that they make work as professionals. I think there’s a nice sort of dual identity teachers have where they are a teacher, teaching art, but they are also a maker and an artist, so this show really helps make that really clear to folks who don’t understand [that] all their teachers are also artists and make work that is gallery worthy and interesting, and also [in] a variety of mediums, too.”

glennPresident Cummings attended the event and spoke about the significance of the exhibition's theme, saying “the theme of 'portal' is a really great theme for a university, because we really believe that we’re helping students through a portal that opens up the door to a whole new world, and part of that is about what they will learn in places like the art department and other places," adding "there’s a gift to being an artist, and there’s a gift to being a teacher, and we have to take some time to figure out how do we learn from each other, not just how to be great artists, but how do we transfer and translate that to other people? It is a gift."

For more information on "Portals" and other USM Art Department and Gallery 2017 exhibits and events, visit the USM Art Galleries website.

Portals: Work by Maine Art Education Association Members
January 25-March 2, closed for Winter Break February 22-24
Wednesday & Thursday, 12 pm-6 pm, Friday-Sunday, 12 pm-4 pm
Other days and times by appointment.
USM Art Gallery, Gorham Campus, 37 College Ave.