After the craziness of the holiday season, I enjoy reflecting on the year and all that we have accomplished, as well as all we have to be grateful for. There is never enough time for this sort of quiet thought, but I appreciate the opportunity to do so as each year is filled with many reasons to be grateful. Here are just a few:
2014 has been filled with exhibits near and far including our annual celebration of species at Frontier Café (an exhibit whose sales enabled Spindleworks to donate almost $900 to the local animal shelter),the inclusive annual 10 x 10 Fundraiser for Arts Are Elementary here in Brunswick, and a particularly strong season at Dow Studio in Deer Isle (sales topped $1100). Spindleworks hosted the 5th All Species Parade, this year creating at 20 ft Blue Whale Float which led several hundred parade participants through downtown Brunswick. Artists from Spindleworks were accepted into the 24th anniversary celebration of the Americans with Disabilities Act at Boston’s New England ADA center, as well as the Annual Outsider Art Inside the Beltway Exhibit in Washington D.C..
In addition to group shows, individual artists have had some amazing successes this year from Anna and Nancy S. winning awards at a local photography show in Bath, to Tom completing a 2 year long commission of a model of a Harpswell home. Kim C. entered a photo into an international juried competition in California and won the people’s choice award ($500 cash prize), while Helen’s sculpture of Boston Red Sox mascot Wally drew Wally himself to Brunswick, scoring her a spot on the evening news. And these are just some of the success stories from the studios. Others of course come in the form of goals reached, skills and techniques learned, and new creative exploration.
Our programming has been enriched through the year by visits from area artists including weaver Emi Ito who shared with us new techniques and painter David Cedrone who lead a month of relief workshops in our 3-D Studio. Three of our staff took part in professional development retreats, bringing back new skills to share with the artists: Cathy Worthington spent a weekend at Haystack Mountain School Of Crafts, where she learned Freestyle Weaving; Maureen Block also attended a Haystack session and brought back the knowledge of how to create band saw boxes, and Madeline Gielow attended a week long retreat in New York where she learned an experimental form of basketry which she has been teaching the artists. We have been graced this year by a healthy team of dedicated volunteers including Helen Mohney, a Bowdoin Studio Arts Major worked with us full time during the summer through a grant from the college.
While the studios are always humming inside, we make every effort to get out and about to see art, find inspiration and expose the artists to new ideas. While we are regulars at our local resources such as the Bowdoin Museum, Spindleworks outings have included multiple trips to the Portland Museum of Art, SPACE Gallery, we have also been further afield-to the Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village, to a fiber event in Searsport and a return to the Boston MFA for a day this fall. (What is next, New York???)
One of the huge highlights of the year was being awarded a $32,000 grant from the Quimby Foundation to support a scholarship fund for both Spindleworks and SpinOff Studio. These monies will be used to allow access to individuals on the waiting list for funding through the state. As well as being one of the largest grants Spindleworks has ever received, it was exciting to be recognized by a leading Maine funder as an important and successful organization in the cultural landscape of Maine. We have also just received a grant from the First Parrish Church to help with a much needed update to our wheelchair accessible entry. Our recent “Kiln Raiser” event held at the Little Dog Coffee Shop was an amazing success we are now able to order a new digital kiln which we will fire up before the spring comes!
Looking ahead to 2015, as well as new projects and opportunities, Spindleworks will also be facing a new set of challenges. The state will be imposing a rate restructure beginning in July which stands to cut our annual income by a staggering amount. Support from friends near and far will be more crucial than ever in 2015. We are well aware that our success and strength has everything to do with the community around us and the ways people give to the program through donations, volunteerism, and of course purchasing art.
We invite you to stay in touch-through our website, through Facebook, and of course by stopping by if you find yourself in Brunswick. We are grateful for everyone’s dedication to this amazing place that started humbly with just 6 artists over 35 years ago.
Program Manager, Spindleworks