Painters, Players and Poets: Maine artists unite
In 2009, writer/producer Con Fullam asked several well-known Maine musicians and poets to name a Maine painter that inspired them, and then to choose a specific work by that painter to translate in a musical composition or poem.
The results of this creative collaboration are showcased in an art exhibition titled “Painters, Players and Poets” that debuted on Aug. 3 in Boothbay Harbor and has since been traveling to different cities throughout the state. The “Painters, Players and Poets” exhibition opened at the Hathaway Creative Center in downtown Waterville on Saturday, Dec. 3, and it will remain on display for the rest of the month.
Paintings line the walls of the airy oak-floored room; in front of each painting is a chair. On each chair is a CD player with headphones and a booklet: the CDs feature the songs and poems that were written for each painting, and the booklet features the artists’ biographies and other interesting background information on each piece.
Fullam recruited fine-furniture makers from Maine to design and construct the chairs that face each work of art, and the chairs are works of art themselves. Their styles range from contemporary to classical, from wooden to woven and from rocking chair to bench. The chairs make each sitting experience unique.
The inspiration for having seating in front of the paintings was so that visitors could take the time to absorb and appreciate the artists’ work. “We hope the chairs will cause people to spend three-and-a-half minutes in front of a painting and actually see it and hear the music,” Fullam said in an interview with the Portland Press Herald. “We want them to be comfortable.”
As an art exhibition, “Painters, Players and Poets” is unique in that it appeals to three senses: touch, sound and sight. Visitors sit in a chair and listen to the audio that corresponds with the painting they are looking at. While it is easy to become distracted in a large art gallery or museum, the exhibition’s set-up decreases the potential for distraction and allows visitors to completely immerse themselves in the art.
The art on display is delightfully eclectic. Visual components include watercolors, black-and-white sketches and three-dimensional frescoes by acclaimed artists such as DeWitt Hardy, Robert Shetterly and Dahlov Ipcar, all of whom currently reside in Maine. Audio components range from a guitar tune by Noel Paul Stockey (of the legendary Peter, Paul and Mary) and a jazz song by celebrated clarinetist Brad Terry, to thought-provoking poems by Jeffrey Thompson and the College’s own Zacamy Professor of English Peter Harris.
Painters, Players and Poets will be on display to the public every Thursday through Saturday in December from 2-6 p.m., so students should be sure to stop by to experience this impressive concentration of Maine’s wide-spread creative talent.