The Inspired Hand 5, the juried biennial exhibition of work by members of the Maine Crafts Association (MCA) at USM’s Atrium Art Gallery features work by 35 artists from around the state representing an inspired perspective of contemporary crafts in Maine. The exhibition includes work in all media — ceramic, fiber, glass, metal, wood, and stone. In addition, the work of 6 recipients of the Master Craft Artist Award are also be featured. The exhibit includes the unexpected — a hut made from woven saplings, ceramic teapots that look like life-sized musical instruments, a dress made with children’s board books, a paper kilt, as well as beautifully made pieces that are inspired by tradition.
The Atrium Art Gallery is located at USM’s Lewiston-Auburn campus, 51 Westminster Street in Lewiston.
With support from the Maine Humanities Council, the Writing Center at USM’s Lewiston-Auburn College and the Atrium Art Gallery collaborated on The Inspired Pen, a selection of 16 poems inspired by handmade objects or the process of creating them. Jurors for the final selection of poems were Annie Finch and Robert Farnsworth. The opening reception featured a poetry reading by Maine’s Poet Laureate, Wesley McNair. A poetry chapbook is available free for gallery visitors.
The Maine Crafts Association, a non-profit state-wide organization founded in 1983, is dedicated to the support and encouragement of Maine craft artists. Noted for its outstanding educational and exhibition programs, MCA is committed to promoting and advocating for contemporary crafts throughout the state. Since 2008, MCA has brought craft to a broad segment of Maine’s population and visitors through its Centers for Maine Craft, year-round at the Maine Turnpike Service Plaza in West Gardiner and seasonally at the Maine Mall’s summer Creative Common and Bangor Mall’s winter Maine Craft Holiday Store. More than 500 Maine craftspeople benefit from these non-traditional arts venues, while shoppers gain easy access to fine craft and new insight into the work of local craftspeople. website: mainecrafts.org
Located in the University of Southern Maine’s Lewiston-Auburn College, the Atrium Art Gallery features year-round exhibitions of sculpture, painting, drawing, and contemporary crafts. In 2000 the Atrium Art Gallery, working in collaboration with the Maine Crafts Association, hosted The Inspired Hand, an invitational exhibition of 60 craft artists from around the state. Its success led to the development of the biennial exhibition, “The Inspired Hand,” as a showcase of work by members the Maine Crafts Association.
Jurors for The Inspired Hand 5 were recipients of MCA’s annual Master Craft Artist Award, recognizing excellent craftsmanship, inspired design, and contributions to the field of craft: Christian Becksvoort, 2009, Katharine Cobey, 2010, and Jacques Vesery, 2011. The exhibition essay was written by noted arts writer Carl Little.
The exhibition continues through March 17. The Atrium Art Gallery is located at 51 Westminster Street in Lewiston. Admission is free; gallery hours are Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m.-8 p.m.; Friday, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. The exhibit website is www.usm.maine.edu/atriumgallery “The Inspired Pen” poems are available at www.usm.maine.edu/writing.