The Union of Maine Visual Artists continues its forward thrust with a new emphasis on “Artists Helping Artists,” a focus on what Maine artists have said they want and need.
A small group of UMVA Board Directors volunteered to meet in September to work through my draft/strategic plan with this perspective in mind. The board already issued chapter guidelines for existing groups and members around the State who would like to form new chapters for exhibit opportunities and other mutual benefits under UMVA’s tax-exempt status and liability protection. It also is planning to sign a new memo of understanding with the Portland Media Center for better management and increased security at the UMVA Gallery there. The full board will meet in another day-long retreat on 28 October to solidify plans for the new direction and will plan an annual membership meeting this fall by Zoom to introduce them.
Meanwhile, we still desperately need people to come forth to fill three key positions. We are actively seeking a new president to relieve William Hessian of his admirable leadership of UMVA and the Portland Chapter over the last five years, as he seeks to move on with other obligations. We need to replace painter/photographer, board member and dedicated webmaster Greg Burns, who has moved to Boston but still helps with the website and participates in board activities through email and Zoom. We also need to replace Joanne Tarlin as current convener of the Portland Chapter so she can take on other leadership roles on the board. If you or anyone you know has an interest in helping us out with one of these positions, please contact any board member or me at email@example.com.
Two veterans of the board have resigned and another new member has been added. John Ripton, former convener/gallery director of the Portland Chapter, and Jackie Bennett, UMVA Treasurer, have left, while Marci Spier will become the new treasurer in October.
John Ripton is a photographer, writer and historian who has exhibited in a dozen solo photography shows in New England, New Jersey and New York. He has been a member of UMVA for seven years and was a member of the board for three years. He convened the Portland Chapter meetings and helped manage the UMVA Gallery. In 2018, he co-curated Migration Experience—Reflections of Maine Immigrant Artists, and in 2019, The Way Life Is—Maine Working Families and Communities. He also has written political essays, professional articles, and poetry published in professional outlets around the world. John’s expertise on the board will be missed, but he will continue to offer advice as a member.
Jackie Bennett has been the treasurer and a board member for UMVA since 2014. She is retiring from her position in order to free up some time for writing and historical research. She will continue as director of the Bristol Area Library, a position she has held since 2001. UMVA owes her a great debt of gratitude for a decade of bookkeeping and responsible fiscal management. We wish her well in her future endeavors.
Marci Spier is an abstract painter practicing in Portland. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Eastern Michigan University and a MFA from Lesley Art and Design in 2019. She started painting in 2013 and has worked and exhibited in several venues around southern Maine and elsewhere, garnering awards and other recognition. Her work engages with repetition and color and exploring balance and tension with the handmade grid. Marci has been known as a quick study in her work for Speedwell projects, Anthropologie and community arts organizations, so we’re looking forward to her contributions as she grows into her new role as UMVA Treasurer.
In addition to Marci, six other new board members include: Alan Crichton, Ann Tracy, Barbara Sullivan, Christine Sullivan, Daniel Sipe, and Joanne Tarlin, all highlighted in the last issue. The following members round out the UMVA Board of Directors.
Image at top: John Ripton, former board member.