UMVA Portland has had a very busy and productive quarter. Members have researched and are presently developing a way to respond to institutional racism and be socially responsible as an arts organization and gallery. Our deliberations have explored the space between institutional cognizance and action against racial injustice and censorship. By spring, Portland UMVA will complete this process and share its recommendations with the intention of arriving expeditiously at an action or “policy” with the consensus of the membership.
Three online exhibitions have taken place this winter. The January show UMVA Postcard Mail curated by Ann Tracy exhibited postcards of “2021 visions” as a fundraiser to be scheduled at the end of 2021. An article by Portland Press Herald arts reporter Bob Keyes covered the February show, “Abstract Photography,” curated by Greg Burns (see the Press Herald review of the show), as did the first art review of a UMVA Gallery show written by Ed Beem in the Portland Phoenix. The March show, Empty Space: A New Normal, curated by Natalie Brown was designed as a hybrid gallery online/in-gallery exhibition. Portland Media Center and UMVA Gallery, managed by Portland UMVA, developed the idea with Natalie Brown. This show also brings a young curator and young Maine artists into our membership, featuring the work of photographer Natalie Brown and four other MECA artists: Jasper Gaffney, Josh Heriot, Sam Murphy, and Libby Scutt. Their work explores the pandemic as a personal and social experience. You can follow this link to the March online exhibition and scroll down to Natalie’s virtual tour of the show.
Portland UMVA has submitted a proposal to Colby College for an intern. The intern would work to design and organize a webinar on institutional racism and freedom of creative expression. The webinar would bring together selected artists and curators who have direct experience with these issues in galleries and/or museums. It would be provided as an arts culture program to UMVA membership.
Portland UMVA has distributed articles and announcements of films and links to resources for artists through its Portland UMVA email list of 70 members. The Portland group is also opening discussions on the use of Instagram and social media in general.
At the March meeting, UMVA Portland will begin the transition to a new convener, gallery manager, and recorder. The zoom meeting is on 15 March, 6–7:30 p.m.
Mid-Coast Salon Exhibit at UMVA Gallery
Art Matters! featuring work by artists of the Mid-Coast Salon is the scheduled July exhibit at the UMVA Gallery in the Portland Media Center, 516 Congress Street. The exhibit was rescheduled from last July and depends again on pandemic guidelines. The Salon is a discussion group of nearly two dozen artists of diverse disciplines brought together monthly by their love for and commitment to art. The exhibit, updated to reflect the past year’s events, will highlight the importance of art in leading our collective conscience and feeding our souls.
Assuming that an in-gallery show may be possible in July, the exhibit will run from 29 June through 30 July, with a possible opening reception 5 to 8 p.m. during the First Friday art walk on 2 July. Salon representatives are planning to be in the Gallery from 1 to 5 p.m. on subsequent Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays in July. The Gallery is also expected to be open during Media Center hours, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Thursday.
Image at top: Jasper Gaffney, Piss Napkin, multimedia soft sculpture.