On the morning of December 22nd, in the spirit of celebrating light at the winter solstice, a small crew of UMVA Portland members prepared and painted the walls of the UMVA Gallery at the Portland Media Center. The group included Gregg Harper, Jen Joaquin, Arthur Nichols, Janice Moore, William Hessian and John Ripton. A new color idea was added. To attract attention to the spaces in the Gallery, the front window corner (to the left from the outside), the middle hallway wall on the left, and the back wall in the interior room were painted “museum red.” Cream-colored lettering reading “The Union of Maine Visual Artists presents …[exhibit title]…” will now be pressed on the middle hallway wall and, if the artists/curators wish, in the corner walls of the front window, these walls now painted museum red. The new color draws eyes inward to the Gallery. See photographs below.
The UMVA Gallery will be opening the New Year and 2019 booked season of gallery shows with photographers Jesse MacDonald (Gray) and Jules Mogul (Orono), mounting their first show in Portland at the UMVA Gallery: “The Passage of Time.” UMVA Portland welcomes these talented young photographers as they launch promising artistic careers!

UMVA Portland Gallery 516 Congress St

2019 Exhibition Schedule

January – Passages of Time: Jules Mogul and Jesse MacDonald

February – The Way Life Is: Maine Working Families and Communities, Group Exhibit Curated by John Ripton

March – Ours is a Life of Lights and Shadows – Semi-Curated Open UMVA Show – Harper/Hessian

April – Title TBA: Bob Riemann and Rabee Kiwan

May – Into the Nation: Norajean Ferris

June – First UMVA Open Members’ Show

July – Go Figure: Group Show with Joaquin, Rose, Wade, Kelly

August – Julia Durgee”s Illustrations and Paint-cations

September – Visible Discourse from Maine’s Western Foothills: Group show with Schneider, Arcadipone, Best, Millonzi

October – Imposition & Yielding: Travail en Cire – Group Show with Tracy, Strout, Deutsch

November – Second UMVA Open Members’ Show

December – Holiday Event


The Way Life Is – Maine Working Families And Communities

is an exhibit planned for February 2019 at the UMVA Gallery on Congress Street in Portland. Two- and three-dimensional work of any media (paintings, wood block prints, photographs,sculptures, fabric, etc.) will be considered for exhibition. Artists around Maine, from Kittery to Fort Kent and from Rangeley to Eastport, are encouraged to submit up to three pieces (see submission requirements below) to this juried exhibit (juror TBA soon). Artists are asked to respond to the curator’s statement:

            Maine is often seen as two states. There are coastal communities dependent on wealthy summer residents and several million tourists. Amidst the extraordinary wealth often found on its coast, though, there is another Maine. Most Maine people, from the Atlantic to the interior, are involved in wage employment that provides the production and services on which all of us in the state depend.

            Across Maine hard-working people are employed in logging, factories, construction, fishing, agriculture, restaurants, area supermarkets, area nursing homes and clinics, hospitals, automobile gas-and-repair stations and more. Periods of unemployment and underemployment are common since these enterprises are especially vulnerable to national and global markets and government policies. Substandard housing is common. Many children qualify for subsidized school lunches and opiate-addiction affects hundreds of young people. College education and training for the trades are often out of reach.

            Even in Maine’s larger towns and cities it remains difficult for many people to find living-wage work. While abandoned factory buildings are repurposed as apartments and condominiums, restaurants and breweries, and farmers’ markets and art galleries, these investments create relatively few long-term good-paying jobs. Less money in the hands of wage-earners to drive and improve the economic vitality of Maine communities threatens a way of life.

            “The Way Life Is” is an opportunity for artists throughout Maine to produce critical work addressing the loss of many living-wage jobs and the lagging recovery from the Great Recession (2008-2012) that continues to make it extremely difficult for most Maine people to achieve their full potential. In our efforts and work we must also find ways to celebrate their lives and work, revealing the dignity of people and families making a living and producing culture despite the challenges. 

            Thoughtful, provocative and respectful portrayals of “The Way Life Is” provides a positive message and becomes part of an essential and vital popular platform for progressive political voices and forces dedicated to making policy changes that benefit all Maine’s people. In trying times, artists are called to play a constructive role for social change.  – – John Ripton, Curator

Submission Requirements (please read curator statement above first):

  1. Submit up to three images of work in any medium (images must be 1500 pixels on the smaller side) by January 4 (2019) at midnight.
  2. Label the images with title, artist name, medium/a, dimensions, year, price or NFS (eg. paleolithic workplace/Fred Flintstone/ gelatin silver photographic print/18”x24” framed/2018
  3.  NFS – or price in $). Please enter labels in the space for naming the image.
  4. Send an artist bio (up to 250 word-processed words) with the images to be included in a binder for the visitors to the exhibit .
  5. Submit an artist statement (no more than 150 word-processed words) to be included in an exhibit binder as well.

Artists will be notified of selections by January 14. The exhibition will open on February 1 and close on February 22. Delivery of selected works of art with paper copies (8.5×11 paper size) of artist bio and statement to the UMVA Gallery, 516 Congress Street in Portland will be Jan. 26,10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Artists must pick up art on Feb. 23, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.