MODspoke Gallery and Art Studios are currently on pause
MODspoke partners Liz McGranaghan and Erin Thomas recently moved forward to open the doors to a modern art gallery and art studio space in the One Sullivan Building in Berwick Maine, but are now delayed due to financial constraints.
Erin Thomas released this statement today:
"MODspoke has been planning a large Art Gallery and Art Studio space in Berwick Maine and had a financial backer in place in February. We were unable to make the May 1st deadline that was required of us due to delays beyond our control. We were hoping we would still be able to move forward in June by subletting the art studio spaces, but the costs for the needed improvements and utilities will increase studio costs, making it difficult to get the artists and creatives in the space that deserve the opportunity.
I feel like I am letting everyone down as I know this was wanted by both the artists and by so many people in our community. We have a strong business plan in place, but without minimal financial backing to launch, it will take many more moving parts to come together at just the right time, and that just isn't happening this month. We are considering this only a "pause" and will be considering the options available to us to move it forward. I can't even find the words to express how impressed I am with the talent and creativity of the people that are needing or wanting this to happen, those are the people that are keeping me to motivated not to give up on our ideas. Maine has some of the most talented creative minds around, it's frustrating that there is not currently enough opportunity or support for them to shine in their own communities with greater ease."
The Importance of Creating a
Sustainable and Active Creative Economy
M O D S P E A K S
Public and private agencies are always seeking innovative ways to draw-in (pun intended) arts and culture to their communities. It has been proven that an active arts scene increases public engagement, civic awareness, raises real estate values and increase revenue for nearby small or large businesses, restaurants and storefronts as well as makes for an all around more attractive commonwealth.
The ironic and inevitable forecast is that more often than not the artists that seed community growth will eventually be priced out of a district as it improves and grows around them until they are forced to move on to more affordable areas, so the importance of integrating the creative community and the business populace is that much more important to create a more effective long term and sustainable relationship. Fostering an exchange with, and educating business owners on the value of investing in art is one of the best places to start for any place that wants to attract and maintain creative culture.
Let's face it, an artist needs super affordable work space, expensive materials or equipment, lots of time and a place to make a mess to often create a masterpiece that is woefully underappreciated financially and that everyone expects to be able to revel in for free.
Artists are often mislabeled as crazy, unreliable or difficult, but the truth is that they are skilled at developing ideas and entrepreneurship, and often have expertise in carpentry, photography, custom framing or graphic design. That level of creativity and skill are valuable to a business owner, but the artists process of getting to an end may be vastly different than a typical business model expects. Artists may work harder at 2am instead of 9am, or pace relentlessly outdoors to find that cutting-edge answer... the most innovative and powerful work comes from that freedom to create, and from an often unusual process that doesn't often fit a 9-5 conformity. A business owner may not understand how to distinguish that value from it's equivalent in a 9-5 worker, unless they are educated on the creative process or have witnessed the return first hand.
art is an investment from the ground up
outsiders as well. It's about the child that is talented at drawing instead of sports feeling like what they do well at will remain respected where they live. It's about giving community members options, hope, expression and soul and celebrating what makes us human.
Sports and recreation budgets are more often than not considerably higher even though the chances of a student becoming a designer are higher than the chances of a student become a professionally paid sports figure. (that is not me knocking sports, but rather a hope of someday having a more balanced and varied financial playing field in my own community.)
It's about both small and large businesses turning the tide by hiring and paying artists what they are worth and knowing confidently, that their business and customers will benefit greatly from it.
It's about communities remembering to take those investment risks on creative culture and having a sense of place, identity and voice in a community to allow room for expression and identity.
And if expression is not your thing... and you are more concerned about business deals and financial bottom lines...
Below is a list of businesses and organizations that need a strong relationship with creativity to survive or thrive:
1. All of them.
• M O D S H O U T O U T T O C R E A T I V E E C O N O M Y •
written by: Erin Thomas
• M O D S P E A K E R •
MODspoke is attracting emerging and professional artists with a unique approach to gallery ops and art creation
MODspoke recently went through a long process with the town and One Sullivan building owners to have the opportunity to put in a proposal in for the space on the second floor of the One Sullivan building in the middle of the construction zone that is downtown Berwick Maine.
Erin Thomas stated, "We have waited a long time for a space to open up that will work for both a fine art gallery, project space and art studios, and I'm thrilled that we have finally found this space. The new vision for Berwick includes art and culture, and I want to finally be able to work hard and share my own talents within this community that I've lived in for 17 years."
The second floor space includes 6 studios, each of them unique and fairly priced, with a large open gallery floor overlooking the river and downtown Somersworth. The space needs some minor cosmetics and slight improvements to be gallery ready, which Thomas and partner McGranaghan are expected to make this month.
If you would like more information about each studio available, you can find the listings and rental agreements at: www.modspoke.com/art-studios
Corner Point Brewing is expected to move into the building in 2018.
If you are interested in renting an art studio in the One Sullivan building with MODspoke, you can contact Erin Thomas at 207.337.3713 email@example.com
or visit www.modspoke.com/art-studio
written by: A. Bowman
MODspeaker McGranaghan is told
"Patience is a good virtue" at the May 4th Planning Board Meeting
approval for another two weeks with conditions, with the next meeting being held Thursday, May 18th.
Towards the end of the public forum, Liz McGranaghan spoke out that the longer wait could potentially hurt the businesses. Planning board member Niles Schore responded "Patience is a good virtue."
"I understand why the procedures are in place, but it can be easy to lose patience in this process we are itching to get going and keep our momentum...some days, it feels we are stuck in the red tape like flies on fly paper, but really, we got this." Thomas said "Instead of losing our patience, we will get creative, that's what we do best."
One Sullivan spokesperson Frank Underwood presented the updated building plans to the Board with his building owner partners in attendance along with potential tenants MODspoke, Corner Point Brewing Company and several town residents, including Pine Hill resident Jeff Soucier who stated "It's a great plan for the Town of Berwick...a dock up there to have access to the river...it's great stuff right there, and would be wonderful for this town."
There was no one in attendance that took up any issues with any of the current plans, so if all goes well, May 18th will be another very important date for the next phase of downtown Berwick.
With a prime location,
Berwick envisions its revitalization
READ about DOWNTOWN BERWICK, Envision Committee and MODspoke
in an article in the PORTLAND PRESS HERALD
Be sure and LIKE MODSPOKEART on FACEBOOK
or subscribe to MODSPOKE updates so we can celebrate together when we finally get the keys!
Artist Gayle Fitzpatrick creates an installation that heals and transforms . . . and tells a personal story of suffering and triumph
Gayle Fitzpatrick could be hiding...perhaps, she should be hiding.
She could remain anonymous strolling down the seaside resort towns of coastal Maine in dark sunglasses or blend seamlessly into the street crowds of Portland... instead she is choosing to fight back the best way she knows how and helping to heal herself as well as open a dialogue for others in the process.
It's an understatement to say that her latest work parallels her own personal story and viewing the work in person and understanding where it comes from, is at a minimum, superbly powerful.
"TURQUOISE IS ONE OF THE OLDEST PROTECTION AMULETS"
Fitzpatrick is working on an upcoming installation that will be presented at Engine in Biddeford Maine this May. This install will put the work, and her, front and center in the Southern Maine art community and with the press, which is no small feat of bravery considering Gayle's past. She has spent much of her previous artistic exploration vying for her sense of safety and place and had previously created work pieced together from a slightly more abstract angle of what she has gone through, mapping her way out.
"Healing and transformation take place over time, and it involves side trips. I was traveling in the dark, without a map."
The new work puts her story, and her, on full display uncorrupted and unapologetically. It presents with the soft and feminine colors of a gentle and kind infanthood and has an approachable heart-warming quality which successfully becomes a soft invitation to explore of the darker side and enduring edges that will gently walk you through the final (and more despicable) parable.
The upcoming install includes a beautiful formal dress, books and symbolic forms and icons that are fully created from paper that Fitzpatrick crafted from raw materials. The Japanese paper dress is a symbol of promise and joy for her, but it's filled with scars and repairs, it's cut and torn and repaired with red thread that is intentionally not cleanly finished. There are vignettes of her life attached directly within the dress, including prints of her previous "Without a Map" series. Gayle tells me that in one day, Maine's eight domestic violence programs served 439 victims and survivors and that 55 requests for services were denied due to lack of resources. She also stated...
"THE TURQUOISE GEMSTONE IS A STONE THAT REPRESENTS SELF-REALIZATION"
The final work begins to peak emotionally after realizing where all the pieces have come from, and the power of the symbolism in each and every choice that has been made for this piece.
"Sewing, quilting, and knitting have traditionally been labeled as "woman's work". I've deliberately included these into the install because they are part of our total history as a civilization. Artists create. Artists repair and rearrange. We are all artists, each of us the creator of our own life."
FItzpatrick has created a true visual diary of everything it means to be a survivor of domestic violence. The healing process is evident in the creation and the where, who and why of how she ended up in a violent situation does not much matter, it's the compass that guides where she is going where the actualization rests its strength.
"In 2013, 5,487 domestic violence incidents were reported to Maine Law Enforcement, comprising almost half of assault reports. Many other domestic violence incidents went unreported. Arrests were made in only 17.4% of reported incidents."
There is a collection of handmade books that lay at the base of the dress.
Last fall, Gayle lead a workshop on bookbinding where other survivors crafted their own books, They spent hours meticulously sewing and crafting the books that will be borrowed as part of this installation. The books will be sealed shut and become a library that is evidence of remembrance.
"The books will be sealed shut."
The allegory continues in each and every created piece including small, clean white paper hearts that she hands to other women as "Orders for Protection from Violence". There are snippets of torn up court papers hidden throughout the work and blocks of beautifully colored papers from a series Fitzpatrick calls "One in Four" which fills an entire wall behind the dress display.
"Each piece is composed of a handmade sheet of paper measuring 8"x10" and has four 2"x2" squares attached. One square is different."
The series blocks in her background and sets the same soft inviting tone for exploration.
"One in Four women will be a victim of Domestic Violence."
The art deservingly laments how the system and courts 'handles' women in domestic violence cases and concurrently fully hands the power back to Woman with a kind and guiding hand. Gayle certainly isn't bitter or angry about her past, she instead has handed this story over to give others strength, statistics and ownership of what it means to be a modern woman that has had to overcome brutality, oppression or raw fear while holding on to traditions that are emotionally endearing. This presentation is a persuasive and compelling way for us to move forward to remember these important statistics and begin to consider a future that does not reject, injure or ignore our Mothers and Daughters.
May I just take a moment to scream....
Brava Gayle Fitzpatrick!
Whether you are an art lover or patron or just curious, for sure this is the one art installation this year not to be missed.
written by: Erin Thomas
MODSPOKE is seeking to open the doors to a gallery and art studio space in Berwick Maine
4.20.17 UPDATE: The next Town Planning Committee meeting is a public forum on May 4th at 6:30 pm
MODspoke co-founder Liz McGranaghan appeared at the Town of Berwick Planning Committee meeting on April 6th in support of a planned usage change to the One Sullivan Building in downtown Berwick Maine.
Along with the support of the building owners at One Sullivan, MODspoke and Corner Point Brewing would like it made available to them as a leasable space to open the doors as new businesses in town, which would require approval for a change in building usage by the Planning Committee.
The previous occupants, Summit Church, relocated after their lease ran out and have recently left the building unoccupied except for limited church counseling services which will be relocating to a new space on Saw Mill Hill within The House of Hope Mission.
The Berwick Planning Committee is currently addressing parking, building capacity, esthetic and safety issues and plans a site visit and walk through in the upcoming month to address the concerns before approving the plans.
as well as provide a network base of operations for other creative endeavors and projects throughout the area. MODspoke is also exploring the possibilities of offering custom framing, art preservation or graphic design and photographic services.
Corner Point Brewing is hoping to open their doors on the first floor, facing the state line bridge.
The Envision Berwick Committee recently completed a vision report on Berwick outlining the goals and desires of the town as it rebuilds. Thomas and McGranaghan are confident that MODspoke upstairs and Corner Point and a potential restaurant sharing the first floor will fit in well with the Vision Statement for the community. MODspoke is planning on utilizing many of the results from the Envision Berwick plan within their final business plan.
Envisioning Downtown Berwick's Vision Report:
Several talented emerging and professional Maine artists have already expressed a commitment to the studio space and to the One Sullivan Gallery while they are in the process of getting approval to enter and utilize the space. Erin Thomas also stated that there is currently one or two potential studio spaces still unreserved and available for lease. Thomas founded The Berwick Art Association in 2012 and formed MODspoke not long after to insure that area artists had promotion, representation and guidance for their work, represented a handful of local artists and since then MODspoke has hosted and assisted several creative initiatives in the Berwick area, including events for The Berwick Art Association, the MAINERS mural and several events designed just for artists for a day of networking and creative creation, they are also working closely with watchdog non-profit Arts Industry Alliance to insure that the needs of the artists are being properly met through representation.
Photographer Liz McGranaghan came on board as a partner in MODspoke in 2015, and the pair spent the last year researching the needs of both the artists and art buyers to formulate a sustainable plan that would also cultivate a creative culture around downtown Berwick.
"When Erin approached me a couple of years ago with her ideas and business plan of opening an art gallery - I realized what a force she was in the art world and couldn't resist collaborating with her. Berwick is begging to have its own local and neighboring artists celebrated. There are so many talented folks in the area, that are creating amazing work, but are currently struggling with exposure and sales-that's where Modspoke will step in and assist. Artists shouldn't be working for free - they deserve to be paid just like any other professional. Berwick is the perfect location to have an art gallery - it's a quick stop off Route 95 North for all those who travel to their coastal summer homes and vacation destinations during the summer-yet it's a quiet enough town to avoid the beach crowds. It's an old town with a young heart, and is on the cusp of a great re-transformation. We are truly fortunate to be in a small, country town where are agriculture and farming will continue their traditions but also allow for growth in culture that it is currently lacking. Erin and I are truly excited to be part of the town's vision of the future, and to support our local artists along with the incredibly important part of humanity - the arts." - Liz McGranaghan
If you would like more information about the plans for MODspoke's Gallery at One Sullivan or would like to assist in it's launch, please call Erin Thomas at 207.337.3713 or EMAIL
written by A. Bowman
Arts Industry Alliance came to Somersworth and Berwick for the great vibes...
and a serious chat about "The Arts"
A new wave of "artrepreneurs" is gathering quietly around the Seacoast to tackle the modern hurdles that artists are facing
MODSPOKE and ARTS INDUSTRY ALLIANCE stopped by V!BE Art Gallery in Somersworth NH this weekend to sit in a round table chat with a group of local art professionals about the state of the "arts", and more importantly, to work on closing the divide between artists and local business.
V!BE is made up of actual local artists that have newly turned themselves over into being gallery and business owners, so of course, there wasn't actually a table, because that would be much too customary for these creative and ambitious minds.
What WAS here at V!BE (instead of an actual round table), was great art, friendly people and a deeper conversation about the state of the arts and the choices that artists and galleries are facing right now in order to successfully keep plugging along at what they do best. The meat of the convoy was that everyone desires artists and galleries in their community, but there is still limited support for it showing up financially, which sparked a longer conversation about continuing to build that span over the existing divides between the needs of the artists and how business operates to stay competitive.
"There isn't an easy or overnight answer to building that bridge because it seems the brand of being an artist has recently been hijacked by outside agencies while we weren't looking."
If you are an artist, musician, dancer, writer... you may have noticed this large shift of funding sources, sales and livable wages have now become quite the elusive bitch...and competing for small funds doesn't work well within a small community full of big hearted creative souls that have no desire to act as blood thirsty wolves fighting for a small slice of the pie.
Artists are having to come up with new and creative ways to work together to reach audiences and generate revenue while continuing to create completely original work and remain vigilant about their shared value... a perfect example of coming up with solutions that work for the artists is within V!BE's model of an artist-run gallery.
ARTS INDUSTRY ALLIANCE:
V!BE Art Gallery has bravely gone in with both bare feet on this gallery model where the artists themselves own and operate the gallery space. They are testing the waters in a small town like Somersworth NH that is not exactly known for it's arts community on any given day, but has shown in the past that they want more of an arts and culture presence within the town, and they are just not sure how to get it.
If V!BE receives the proper support they will most definitely have a positIve affect for the community... it's citizens, developers, business owners and real estate agencies will all benefit....If this happens, if the community itself engages, purchases and supports this gallery, then...
they. will. stay. open.
(hint hint SUPPORT V!BE because then you will be directly supporting these genuine local artists and crafters that will enhance your community and downtown!)
This rare gem of a space that houses both original art as well as some of the finest hand crafted treasures from this area is a wonderful destination spot for a discerning buyer, the prices are affordable, the artists are on hand regularly to discuss their work, and it's something this
To bring art directly into a smaller community like Somersworth or Berwick takes great amounts of effort and a strong fight against a tide that has given the artists the back seat and the notion that art should be freely given "just because" it's art. We can only hope that communities stop utilizing artists only to gain the attention of developers and real estate buyers and start holding artists in long term regard as the community treasures they are!
TOOT TOOT (our own horn)
MODSPOKE is currently in the midst of launching plans for a sustainable model art gallery, artists studio and image agency in Berwick, Maine, and would like to personally thank Arts Industry Alliance for the guidance, support and time they have given us to insure that we ALWAYS first consider that the artist is our most valuable commodity.
Be sure to LIKE MODspoke on Facebook, and hit that "See First" button under "Follow" so you don't miss any updates on our gallery progress!
SOFT SPOKEN WITH A LOUD MESSAGE
her artistic voice is through the roof.
Berwick Maine hasn't exactly been known for it's art in the past, with most of the artists working quietly in their homes and showing work outside of town, this all changed with the 2012 forming of the Berwick Art Association. Anne Vaughan was a founding member of the BAA, dedicated with a few others to change the artistic brand of Berwick from hayseed to a cultural rose, and I can only hope that this community truly understands the powerhouse they have in their midst. She brings with her a fresh spring of experience in the arts, including her time in Philadelphia as a docent for the museum, and her intense empathetic heart and mind for others that have no voice to call their own. Her paintings are always beautiful moments at first glance, but the underpinnings of pain and social struggle emerge as you read the titles or speak with her about the inspiration driving the inception.
This oil painting of a Sugar Cane worker from Puerto Rico was created while she was studying the influences in the destruction of the Everglades by wealthy refiners that were supporting Jeb Bush. She notes the recent New Yorker article "Swamped" and Sidney Mintz' 1960s book, Worker in the Cane.
Each of her pieces, even the simplest of landscape paintings, have a true soul and meaning injected into the brushstrokes in the hopes that her message will be heard loud and clear through the whisper.
Deep and thought out social issues or strength within show up time and time again from this woman that you'd think was a sweet grandmother headed home to feed her cat if you passed her at the market. For those of us that know her, we know that she not only cares about complex global issues, she cares about her neighbor and community first, and is committed to holding both accountable through her art.
FIND ANNE VAUGHAN ART ON FACEBOOK CLICK HERE
Artist Anne Vaughan will be displaying her oil paintings at the Berwick Public Library with a reception on Wednesday, March 15 from 4-6pm
Nancy Kureth on a creative ride
back with a new language
I asked her at the start of 2016 what was next...
Nancy stated (matter-of-factly) "Go with the flow."
Apparently what "Go with the flow" really meant was "Sell a home and gallery, buy a vintage truck and some land, write a performance piece, live in a tent surrounded by hummingbirds during warm months and commute from an island in the cold ones, paint over a hundred paintings, go on a complete and total media blackout, run a business, visit Detroit Michigan, ski, swim, hike, love, practice activism, scavenge for home building supplies and build assemblage art pieces, contemplate, reflect, read, write, ski and swim some more because I am going to live the shit out of this one life."
This recent tide has taken Kureth on a year long wicked Mainer ride, beginning with that packing up of her long time studio on Alfred Street, which she parlayed into the purchase of a half acre of fine Southern Maine land filled with perennial blooms and buzzing bugs. She tore down the existing structure, which, I'm quite sure she will admit, was a cathartic experience and representative of what she was about to do both artistically and mentally.
"One of the most uncomfortable things an artist can do is pack up their existing studio for an indefinite period, it was awful at first, but, creativity is a state of being, not a product."
After the island move, and in the throws of a Maine winter, Kureth fell comfortably back into one of her first and early passions of writing. The solitude of the Island, the media blackout, and the ease of reading and writing on the ferry commute made writing a truly contented creative outlet to settle into…and she begin to write a play. Vignette's, her anticipated performance, or play, will be premiering next month at Machanics Hall in Portland Maine. She described it as "Just as it's titled, it includes moments. It's funny, dramatic and…you will just have to wait and see." …. and it's the final result that started with the winter writing on Peak's, but that was only the beginning of a year of truly living as an artist and creative soul in Maine.
She was only planning on a few weeks in the tent and it quickly turned into a three month stay to finish writing, gather materials for the upcoming house build, clearing debris to lay a foundation, working and yet more inspiration and creativity…including walking down a path each morning for a swim in the lake.
"Waking up in a tent in the summer was impossibly hot, so my routine became to walk the path to the water for a swim everyday, come back to my cat greeting me joyfully at the edge of the property ready to start the day."
When the cold weather inevitably came back in the fall, she then moved to Ocean Park to a tiny studio apartment and she began to create the paintings out of her top dresser drawer. Kureth is truly dedicated to spending time with her materials and inspiration, and I feel I can more than fairly state, that she is one of the hardest working artists I have ever known and truly authentic to the core.
The large number of small paintings that she has created will be on display in the same location as her performance (Mechanics Hall), offering us a more complete glimpse into her creative insight. Vignette's (the paintings) will be part of First Friday Art Walk in Portland Maine April 7th.
She told me that Vignette's, the play, has some comedy, some drama and is written as fiction, but as with any artistic voice, real experiences have crept their way in.
The media blackout, big moves and decontruction/construction actions have all assisted her in creating l'art pour l'art (art for art's sake), she is creating work for herself.
I imagine, that allowing life to creep into your work is an impossible side-effect to avoid when you are living your art, rather than just creating a product for a marketplace. Even her discarded home materials have been given a new life, and this is the gift that this artist is offering us. She's throwing off convention like a woman throws off a bra at the end of the day…. I can't wait to see what's next for Nancy Kureth.
Director: John Bryson
Narrated by: Todd Perry
Actress: Carrie Vinette
Written & Produced by: Nancy Kureth
APRIL 8th and APRIL 15th at 7pm
519 Congress Street Portland MAINE
- Oscar Wilde
Titi De Baccarat
and the pain of immigration
Gabon Africa, although considered a sovereign state, has been plagued by corruption, violence and political turmoil and has been feeling the pains of a growing democracy for just over 50 years....and this eventually drove Titi De Baccarat to seek asylum in the United States. He is now finding the current political climate in the US to be another new challenge, but his tenacious positive message and the welcoming manner remain contagious beyond words, even in the face of strong adversity.
2010 was the year to celebrate 50 years of independence in 17 African countries, and a wide celebration was engaged with radio, television, newspapers, professors and politicians to make an inventory of African democracy from 1960 until 2010. Titi began to create 18 paintings split into two categories, one of the categories included the African independence fathers and Presidents who contributed to the development of democracy and autonomy, he hung them proudly on the walls in senatorial buildings,
Art is his universal language and he has something extremely relevant to say...
He works in several different mediums, including sculpture, paint, jewelry and clothing design, and always with an old, thoughtful, and very intellectual soul feeding the engine of his creative process.
"When I left Africa, I was convinced I had come to a safe haven, but very quickly my illusions have given way to the reality. I have experienced fear at different levels."
He is finding that although there is an underlying desire for diversity expressed publicly around him, that many Mainers are demonstrating racism under the name of secularism and dreaming of a republic with only one identity.
"It's like communities are built to give a false sense of security."
Recently Maine's Governor, Paul LePage had described Indian workers as “the worst ones to understand" during a xenophobic rant at the state’s Republican convention, and the Governor spent 2015 (the year Titi arrived in Maine) publicly going after immigrants suggesting they are spreading diseases like HIV and "the ziki" (doesn't exist) virus and taking Maine's valuable resources from "real" Mainers. A message that many Lepage supporters are taking with them and tossing into the current civic delicacy around Maine (and the country).
More thoughtful Mainers are seeing the truth, the underlying story and the larger picture... that people like Titi De Barracat, are in fact, our most valuable resource going into a progressive and thoughtful global future. Here is the a solution, not a divide or a barrier as is being publicly presented to us by our leaders. These are all too similar to the issues that caused Titi to speak his mind and thus leading to him flee his home country.
COMING UP IN APRIL:
Art, Culture, Unity and Soul
in Berwick, Maine