A New Year’s Reflection

We just wrapped up another amazing year here at Spindleworks!  This year saw the creation of large scale sculpture installations from the woodshop, collaborative totem poles from the pottery studio, and miles of colorful warps on the looms. The artists came together to create a coral reef float for the All Species Parade; and our fashion designers collaborated to make a golden and glittering Pegasus costume for the community Altered Couture Contest. Our writers stepped up for a community Open Mike Night at the library to celebrate Poetry Month, our actors returned to the stage for a spring production at The Theater Project, “The Color on the Leaves”, and our faithful group of artists continued to work with the 1st and 2nd graders each week at the Coffin school. Individual artists also had success this year; Kevin Babine and Micah Webbert both had solo shows, and Anna McDougal took a stand in Augusta against LD 1236, a proposed bill that would limit the opportunities to provide input on changes that impact the services she and others with disabilities receive.

The Art by our 48 member artists has made it to numerous locations throughout the state and beyond this year. We started the year with a group exhibit in Augusta to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act at the Holocaust and Human Rights Center. Once again Spindleworks hosted a community exhibit at Frontier Café to raise money for the local animal shelter, and Dow Studio in Deer Isle once again represented a variety of artists for their exhibit season. Spindleworks participated in The Brunswick Outdoor Arts Festival, Celebrating Bowdoinham Festival, the first ever Rhode Island Outsider Arts Festival in Pawtucket, and the Picnic Music & Arts Festival in Portland. Two exciting projects have come to completion this fall. The first was an exciting commission from the Maine Arts Commission for 300 gifts to give guests attending their 50th anniversary party in November. The request came at the end of the summer so the artists set out to make a series of colorful small bowls in our clay studio. This was both a source of pride and a great pay check for a number of artists who worked hard to complete the project by the deadline. Our other end of the year highlight comes in the form of a labor of love finally completed. Bill Kunitz has become a dear friend to Spindleworks over the past three years while crafting a documentary about the program. With no help from us, Bill has tirelessly shadowed the artists and staff in order to tell the story of Spindleworks through his eyes.  We are so grateful to Bill for spreading the word about what we do in this format, and hope that you and many others are able to see the film. We are now selling a limited supply of his film “I Dream the Colors” in the Spindleworks store!

There have been many additions to the Spindleworks family this year, helping us along, supporting our efforts, and collaborating with us to make the program possible. We have had 4 interns this year!—Franci, Penelope, Alex and Breanna—each bringing their own creative energy and compassion to the studios. And of course we have a roster of dedicated volunteers Carol, Anne, Kendra, Maura, Priscilla, and Sam who have spent countless hours helping out in the studios. We are very thankful for their help! The Spindleworks staff have continue to excel in their roles as mentors; this year we welcome new faces to our team: Celina Garcia, Bo Dennis, Liz Korson and Andrew Edwards who all bring new energy and ideas to Spindleworks. I am delighted to welcome aboard Liz Korson as the Program Supervisor. She has been an amazing mentor since she joined our Spinoff program earlier this year.  Liz runs a successful business as a printmaker and brings great skills in marketing and organization to the role.  I hope that you all have the opportunity to meet her while visiting the program.

Although it will take time for us to adjust to Liz McGhee leaving her post as Program Manager this December, I know that her work here will continue to guide us in the years ahead. She has put her whole energy into the program and I am extremely grateful for the strong foundation that she has built for the program.  Although I will dearly miss her presence here, I am excited to take on the role of Associate Director of Spindleworks and Spin Off Studios in the coming year.   Although there are many challenges ahead, I have learned from my experience as a mentor and supervisor over the past 4 years that with the right supports there are no challenges that cannot be overcome.  I see this every day in the tireless work of the artists and the staff at Spindleworks through the patient, endless dedication to creative growth and pursuit of true independence.   Can’t wait for what the new year has to bring us!

Brian Braley
Associate Director
Spindleworks and Spinoff Studios