Category Archives: Maine College of Art

To Do: Artist Interventions with Adriane Herman

By Julia Einstein
Assistant Director of Family and Studio Learning

On Friday, June 28 come the PMA with your to-do lists, grocery lists, list of books to read or any list in your pocket! This month’s Artist Interventions was designed by 2013 Portland Museum of Art Biennial: Piece Work artist Adriane Herman. She and her team of “markers” will take over a gallery on the third floor with an assembly line, crossing items off your list.

Image credit: http://adrianeherman.typepad.com

Adriane and I talked about her upcoming Artist Intervention.

You’ve chosen to be near the painting Brushstroke VI by Roy Lichtenstein…
I am excited that the event will take place near Lichtenstein’s relief sculpture because it satirizes and pays homage to the great American tradition of personality-infused marks. I have to credit PMA Curator of Contemporary and Modern Art, Jessica May, who suggested Lichtenstein’s piece as a natural complement to my focus on the marks made when we cross things off our lists. May’s savvy connection is just one reason I’m so excited that the PMA has a contemporary curator and feel so lucky to have had this kind of collaboration from the museum.

And your “markers”?
Yes, there will be a panel of artists to cross items off people’s “to do” lists. It’s a kind of hypothetical public service, a “what if,” if you will.

You selected a great list of artists for your panel. (Lucinda Bliss, Bridget Spaeth, Clint Fulkerson, Alison Hildreth, Ayumi Horie, Jeff Kellar, Deborah Wing-Sproul, Henry Wolyniec, and Alix Lambert)
I’m inviting people to bring pieces of paper to the museum that depict, document, and essentially make up their lives, and offering them the opportunity to have items on those lists crossed out with dynamic marks by artists. The whole thing is a little silly and exaggerated—forced, you might even say! This is an exercise that might give people the chance to experience the relief and release of having everything “done.”

The Artist Intervention series is about interactive engagement in the galleries between visitors, art, and artists. What are your thoughts on this?
On one level I am simply agog about all things to do with lists and I want to talk to people about their lists; on another level I am interested in how this event could help some people see that their lives are relevant to an artist’s work and that my working process, if not finished work, might help them see their own lives in a new and possibly fruitful light. It doesn’t get better than that for me—that kind of symbiosis. We’ll see what happens!

Adriane Herman’s latest work on lists is about the mark made by crossing-out. She studies the details of each crossed-out line, looking at the gesture and for the inherent abstraction. PMA visitors can check out her exhibition, Finish Lines, at Rose Contemporary Gallery in Portland. Make plans to see her work in the 2013 Portland Museum of Art Biennial: Piece Work when it opens on October 3!

The Next Level of Contemporary Design: The New PMA Brand

By Elizabeth Jones
Director of Visitor Experience and Brand Management

PMA Launches New Brand
The PMA rebranding initiative anticipates an exciting new chapter in the museum’s history with the opening of the Winslow Homer Studio. The new brand speaks to the PMA’s vision of the future, while honoring Maine’s rich cultural history. The crisp, clean, red arch and circle are contemporary and evocative of the iconic architectural presence of the Charles Shipman Payson Building, while at the same time acknowledging the historic red brick facades prevalent in 19th-century Portland. The brand’s use of color also echoes Winslow Homer’s bold use of red in many of his paintings. The letters “PMA” within the circle add new energy to “Portland Museum of Art,” but they also recall traditional block-lettered signs painted on buildings and echo iconic symbols that have become part of the nation’s visual lexicon during the past century. “The new brand takes into consideration the postmodern Henry N. Cobb designed building, the iconic public face of the Portland Museum of Art, and brings it to the next level of contemporary design,” said PMA Director Mark H. C. Bessire. “It has been inspiring to work with Maine designers who really understand the Museum and our community.”

The Local Businesses and People That Helped Us Get Here
Garrand is a full-service Maine-based communications agency. Brenda Garrand, president, brought her 25 years of creative marketing and communications experience and trademarked Golden Threads™ process to the table to develop the brand. Ken Murphy of Murphy Empire Design, a graduate of Maine College of Art, has more than a decade of design experience working with Portland businesses and developed the design for the brand. Mark Jamra of TypeCulture, an independent digital type foundry in Portland, designed the award-winning Expo family of fonts used in the new brand.

Brenda Garrand:
“The Portland Museum of Art is an exceptional institution, not only representing Maine and American art history, but acting as a key participant in contemporary issues of national and international concern. The museum serves as an inspiration and a rich resource for both our local community and the northeast.”

Ken Murphy:
“As a local designer, I consider this a perfect opportunity to show my admiration for such an important institution. I appreciate the involvement of local designers on this project, and have enjoyed greatly the collaborative efforts put forth during the process.”

Mark Jamra:
“Expo Serif contains warmth, character, and versatility in a classic typeface design. Expo Sans is distinctive and legible with multiple weights and styles. They combine easily to provide options for developing a typographic system that communicates the blend of classic, time-honored tradition and unique, contemporary qualities the museum will evoke with a new brand.”

Educating Artists and Families

By Julia Einstein
Coordinator of Youth and Family Programs

February vacation week is almost here and we are getting ready to welcome families into the Museum with some very special activities. It’s all the result of our collaborative project with Maine College of Art that has brought four Maine College of Art students, Maggie Muth, Nikkie Stroumbos, Meghan Gervasio, and Hannah Godbey into the Museum to be inspired to create an education program for families with children of all ages.

I’ve told my perspective of the project and Gail Spaien has shared her thoughts and now is the chance for these talented young art students to share their learning experiences.



“In the Museum, I look at Mary Cassatt’s painting of the young woman and child. The artist’s use of restless marks and warm colors remind me of my mother’s own embrace. In my studio, I look at my body and explore my self-image and transformation. I document the changes and the many layers.” Hannah Godbey will graduate from Maine College of Art in 2011.

After your family finds the portrait of mother and child in our Impressionist Gallery, you’ll meet Hannah on the lower ground floor to pose for a family portrait.

“In the Museum, as I look at the painting, The Drop Sinister, I’m drawn in by the contrast between the dark and light shapes and seek to find the underneath stuff that tells a story. In my studio, I surround myself with receipts and to do and grocery lists that I’ve collected in order to give me a peek into the lives of people.” Margaret Muth will graduate from Maine College of Art in 2011.

Maggie will be in the Great Hall of the Museum to give out special drawing and looking kits for families to take on a trip around the Museum. When you return to the Great Hall, Maggie will help everyone make a book to take home.



“In the Museum, I look at the Portrait of Maria McLellan Edwards and wonder about her identity. In my studio, I look with a gendered eye and my body image is my medium. Societal definitions of beauty, ideal, woman, and feminine help me think about my work.” Nicole Stroumbos will graduate from Maine College of Art in 2011.

When you walk back in the Museum to the 19th century collection, Nikkie will be there to help you see yourself in the portrait paintings of boys, girls, and families and teach you to create a very fun and modern parlor game!



“In the Museum, I look at the Anselm Kiefer work for inspiration. I am mesmerized by the tactile surface and thick paint alive with trapped energy and fragility as each piece of straw falls below the painting. In my studio, I explore growth, loss, and the space in between. I’m interested in exposing the beauty in the decay of surfaces. My choices in evocative materials allow me to create an open dialogue with the viewer. “ Meghan Gervasio will graduate from Maine College of Art in 2011.

Up on the 3rd floor of the Museum, your family and Meghan will view the biggest paintings in the Museum. She will help you to discover the differences as you create a contemporary art box.

Here’s the schedule and location of art activities in the galleries:

Tuesday, February 22
McLellan House Parlor:  Identity Collage
In the Great Hall:  Collection Stories

Wednesday, February 23
Lower Ground Floor: Pastel Family Portrait

On 3rd floor Contemporary Art gallery: Texture Boxes

Thursday, February 24
McLellan House Parlor:  Identity Collage
In the Great Hall:  Collection Stories

This blog post is the third in a series on a collaborative project between art educators at Portland Museum of Art and Maine College of Art. Learn more…