Our Vision

We recognize that artists’ connections to one another and the world enhance their creativity and support, as well as enrich the common good. Our vision is the creation of an interconnected, mutually-supportive, ever-growing, and sustainable, State-wide community of visual artists and an informed public that treasures and supports the arts and artists.

A Brief Overview

The Union of Maine Visual Artists is on an exciting new path and we have already done a lot. We’re building on our historical activism with a new emphasis on “Artists Helping Artists.”

We started by clarifying our mission: “Advocate for Maine art and artists to promote the common good.” We replaced three of four executive officers and recruited five new board members out of twelve (all listed at the end of this report). We modernized the by-laws, surveyed our members for their opinions, added sixty-eight new members, launched a new Mid-Coast Chapter, shifted emphasis to directly benefit artists, developed a strategic management plan of action, showed a budget surplus of $5,928, and transparently reported our progress in the Maine Arts Journal.

Look what we’re doing on seven new foundational goals, based on what members want.

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UMVA Leadership Retreat 28 February 2024 (photo: Janice L. Moore).


We’ve just begun to offer connecting initiatives, with plans for developmental, informational, inspirational studio visits, and other gatherings for artists at all levels around the state. We’ve already offered free membership to full-time art students who help with exhibit installation or gallery-sit for shows in which they participate.


We’re going through a difficult transition. We vacated a rented gallery in Portland as unsustainable. So our Mid-Coast and Portland Chapters, along with a new Exhibitions Committee, are exploring viable temporary and permanent exhibit and sales opportunities around the state. We also are publishing in the Maine Arts Journal an instructive series on exhibiting.

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December Holiday Sale (photo: Ann Ginn).


Our four longstanding advocacy projects are among the most attractive, passionate, successful, and visible of our activities.

Artists’ Rapid Response Team! (ARRT!) collaborates with nonprofit community organizations to affect positive change through artists’ creation of banners, props, placards, yard signs, and digital images for advocacy, parades and rallies.

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ARRT! banner for labor unions (photo: ARRT! website).

LumenARRT! also works with community organizations, using video and light projections, and large-scale messaging in public places to increase awareness of economic, social, and environmental injustice.

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Lumen ARRT! projection at Merrill Auditorium for Climate Aid: The Voice in the Forest (photo: LumenARRT! website).

Maine Arts Journal: UMVA Quarterly is a quality forum for arts and artists around the State which showcases the work of visual artists as well as essays and poetry to connect artists to one another and the public to their work. The articles are often from the point of view of a diverse number of artists, on a different theme for each issue, presented in an attractive, inspiring online publication accessed by some 1500 subscribers, with ten years’ worth of archived articles.

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Maine Arts Journal Winter 2022 (cover Sally Stanton, Knuckle Sandwich, mixed media, 35 x 36 in., 2021)

Maine Masters film series featuring well-known and emerging visual masters is often seen on public television. The most recent release was about Robert Shetterly’s national project of portraits, books, and lectures on Americans Who Tell the Truth, which educates the American public about their rights and responsibilities as citizens. It has been shown and discussed in over 100 forums at schools and other institutions around the country. PBS has agreed to distribute Truth Tellers to all US affiliates through 2025. A new film in the series, about UMVA founder Carlo (Pittore) and His Merry Band of Artists, is being promoted now to schools and colleges and has been accepted already in two 2024 European film festivals.

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Maine Masters films composite (photo: Kane-Lewis Productions).


We have appointed a communications coordinator, developed a branding effort and placed a bargain three-page ad in the 2024 Maine Gallery + Studio Guide to increase visibility and promote member benefits (image at top). We are emailing a bi-monthly newsletter directly to all members to share helpful tips and report significant activities. We applied unsuccessfully for a Maine Arts Commission grant to build a bigger, better website but we are going ahead anyway. We expect to have a totally new, more efficient and more user-friendly site by mid-summer.


We have reached out to partner with other arts organizations and just begun to form relationships for mutual benefit and support. We made three appeals to all 1500 or so subscribers of the Journal and increased membership by 25 percent. We kept the fee to a low $25-$45, and free to full-time art students. We sent personal welcome messages and are making personal phone calls to our new members.


We are committed to lead and grow an effective, efficient, sustainable, and transparent nonprofit organization dedicated to Maine art and artists, and we have put detailed actions in place to insure it. Our new leadership and strategic plan intend to grow our proven advocacy projects and jumpstart our relevancy to Maine artists with a focus on connectivity. This first year of transition has posed significant new challenges but we already have had much success.


Our goal is to become financially self-sufficient and we did show a budget surplus in 2023. However, we are highly dependent on significant grants and donations. Memberships, related incomes and small donations have increased but they alone cannot sustain us. That means successful grant applications, new fundraising efforts, and expanded community support will be absolutely essential for our continued success. Our projected budget is at the end of this report.

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UMVA calling card.

What’s Next?

Now that we have shored up our management practices and strategic planning, we want to build on our successful advocacy projects, concentrate on our role as a catalyst connecting artists to one another and the resources they need, and find the community and financial support we need to be sustainable.

Some Exciting Events

UMVA All-Membership Zoom Meeting—We tentatively have scheduled a long-overdue Zoom meeting of all members who want to attend on 17 April at 7:00 p.m. to ratify the board of directors and exchange views on the future of the organization. A link will be sent by email.

New Website—By mid-summer, we expect to have a new site with easier access, a calendar of events, project updates, artists’ self-management of their membership and profile pages, links to their websites and member locations, benefits, promotions, and news alerts.

Pecha Kucha—Robert Shetterly, former UMVA president, artist, author, lecturer and creator of Americans Who Tell the Truth, will describe in pictures and narrative the history, projects, and benefits of UMVA membership at the Strand Theatre in Rockland on 5 April, 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., as one of nine creative presenters. Ticket $5 at the door. Call the Theatre at 594-0070 to reserve.

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Robert Shetterly (photo: Kane-Lewis Productions).

Lois Dodd: Maine Master—The film will be screened free via Zoom on 11th April at 6:30 p.m., followed by a discussion with painter Lois Dodd (who turns ninety-seven in April), curator Suzette McAvoy, art critic Karen Wilkin, and UMVA filmmaker Richard Kane. Email kanelewisproductions@gmail.com to request a Zoom link for any slots still available. If you can’t attend but want to see the film, it is available here.

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Lois Dodd-Maine Master (photo: Kane-Lewis Productions).

Carlo and His Merry Band of Artists—The latest film in UMVA’s Maine Masters series, on the life of eccentric founder Carlo Pittore by filmmaker Richard Kane, will premiere at the Maine International Film Festival in July at Waterville. Stay tuned for some fun activities surrounding the event, including a panel of the founders, all in celebration of UMVA’s 50th year in 2025.

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Carlo Pittore self-portrait (photo: Kane-Lewis Productions).

Television PSA to Recruit UMVA Members—With the generous help of the Portland Media Center, we are producing a free thirty-second PSA for their online platforms, Channel 5 and possibly other broadcast stations.

Alan Magee and Katherine Bradford—We’re planning members-only studio visits with these well-known artists and others of very different styles, starting in late summer.

Developing Exhibits—Our Mid-coast and Portland Chapters are working through plans for exhibits, fundraising and sales opportunities at various locations around the state. Stay tuned.

Managing Legacy Art—Board member Cynthia Hyde, Co-owner of Caldbeck Gallery, is researching what to do with a lifetime of art to help us decide whether we want to partner with the Maine Arts Commission to explore and advocate for practical solutions.

Executive Search—Three of our four executive officers plan to step down by the end of the year, so we will be seeking volunteer replacements for vice president, secretary and treasurer. Current VP, Joanne Tarlin, will become president.

In Summary

We hope to capture the imagination of more and more newcomers and convince them to join us by building on last year’s success. That means promoting connectivity—inspirational gatherings, meaningful exhibits, impactful advocacy, helpful communications, supportive partnerships, effective management, and existential funding—all in support of Maine art and artists.

Please join in making our vision a wonderful reality.

David Estey, President


UMVA 2024 Budget Projection

This budget projection is largely a rollover of 2023. It reflects a second-year grant of $22,000 for ARRT! & LumenARRT! It also reflects a remaining $5,000 grant and a matching $5,000 withdrawal of restricted funds earmarked for the Maine Arts Journal. It includes $7,000 to install and manage a new website and withdrawal of a remaining $46,234 earmarked to complete Maine Masters film projects, with no expected UMVA income from them. The starting balance of $115,280, largely in donations earmarked for specific projects, will be reconciled and verified by an independent accountant at tax time. That plus a projected net budget income of $5,928 and minus a total restricted funds withdrawal of $51,234 would leave a bank balance of $69,974 at year’s end.


Camaraderie                                                                                                                                   0.00

Exhibitions, holiday sales & fundraisers                                                                                    5,000.00

ARRT! – Grant/donations for ARRT! and LumenARRT! fund balances from 2023                      25,707.00

Maine Arts Journal – Grants/donations                                                                                 10,428.00

Maine Masters – Remaining 2023 restricted funds earmarked for MM projects                     46,234.00

Gallery Guide Ad                                                                                                                   3,987.00

Outreach                                                                                                                                     0.00

Management                                                                                                                                  0.00

Donations not restricted                                                                                                         5,460.00

Interest                                                                                                                                         12.00

Membership dues (+66 new X $35 average)                                                                            9,969.00

Mid-Coast Chapter, exhibit donations                                                                                       160.00

Sponsorships                                                                                                                                    0.00

TOTAL INCOME                                                                                                                   106, 957.00


Camaraderie – Studio visits, promotion, refreshments                                                                500.00

Exhibitions                                                                                                                              5,000.00

ARRT! – ARRT! other, LumenARRT! And Broadreach Community project                               20,086.00

Maine Arts Journal                                                                                                              10,030.00

Maine Masters – Truth Tellers, Carlo and Yvonne Jacquette                                                  46,234.00

Video                                                                                                                                         280.00

Gallery Guide ad                                                                                                                     4,500.00

Website – Conversion and management                                                                                  7,000.00

Other Communications – Press releases/postings and display posters                                        355.00

Outreach                                                                                                                                      0.00

Insurance (liability and damage/theft)                                                                                        650.00

Licenses & Permits                                                                                                                    245.00

Office Supplies                                                                                                                          879.00

Professional Fees (accountant, bookkeeping)                                                                                4,520

Funding                                                                                                                                                      0.00

Mid-Coast Chapter Zoom subscription, exhibit expenses                                                             500.00

Portland Chapter                                                                                                                         250.00

Sponsorships                                                                                                                                 00.0

TOTAL EXPENSES                                                                                                                  101,029.00

Net Income                                                                                                                            $5,928.00



Image at top: UMVA three-page ad spread in 2024 Maine Gallery + Studio Guide (photo: Kerstin Engman).