BANGOR, Maine — Along with his travels in Maine, George Kinghorn has spent plenty of time driving up and down Interstate 95 to meet with artists, visit galleries and spread the word about the University of Maine Museum of Art.
Kinghorn, the UMMA director, is hoping soon the art world will travel north on I-95 to come visit him and the museum.
In an attempt to increase its visibility, the museum will host the inaugural I-95 Triennial Invitational Exhibit: Bangor to Providence, which goes on display April 23, 2010.
Artists who qualify for the exhibit — that is, any artist living within 50 miles of I-95 — should start thinking about the show now, however. Organizers will accept submissions beginning Monday, Sept. 21, with a deadline of 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 16. Acceptances will be mailed out Dec. 18.
UMaine’s museum, located at 40 Harlow St., is known throughout Maine, Kinghorn said, but he has found some artists around New England are still unfamiliar with the site.
“The main objective is to bring to Bangor artists who are working along the major hubs of activity, and points in between,” Kinghorn said recently. “Beyond Maine’s borders, people are not necessarily aware that we’re here and we have such a quality exhibition venue for contemporary and modern art.”
Because the museum is here, Bangor serves as a logical northernmost point (although a 20-mile radius around the city means artists working in Orono, for example, will be eligible).
Needing a logical endpoint, Kinghorn chose Providence (which also has a 20-mile radius eligibility limit) because it is still within a day’s drive from Bangor, as the artists will be responsible for getting their work here. To extend the I-95 concept to Connecticut or New York might have made for an overwhelming process as the museum tackles its first cycled exhibit.
This time, Kinghorn alone will judge and curate the show. He may institute a jury system for future triennials.
Several Maine museums have exhibits set to a certain cycle of time, including the biennials held by the Portland Museum of Art and the Center for Maine Contemporary Art in Rockport. Those exhibitions, however, typically focus on Maine artists or artists with Maine connections.
Although he expects to receive most of the triennial entries from within Maine, Kinghorn is eager to see the kind of work elicited and the look of the exhibition with the inclusion of New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
“It [makes for an] interesting kind of dialogue among the artists when you have a Maine artist next to an artist from Rhode Island, or wherever,” he said. “It’ll be interesting to see if there are any common threads. That’s the exciting aspect of the curatorial process, to identify if there are any common threads, stylistic similarities in the works of art. Sometimes there are not. Sometimes it’s just a showcase of what’s happening in the region.”
Those clamoring for New England artists will get a dose of it in the museum’s exhibit, “Abstract New England: Six Perspectives,” featuring work from artists in the region. That show, along with “Roadside Ghosts: Photographs by Dave Anderson” and “Evergreen: Installation by Wendy Wischer” will open Oct. 2.
For those who want a closer look at the current exhibits, Kinghorn said tickets are available for the museum’s Summer Oasis fundraising event Saturday, Aug. 22, in the museum’s courtyard. Tickets are $45 for an individual or $80 for a couple.
For more information about the I-95 Triennial Invitational Exhibit: Bangor to Providence and to download submission criteria and the entry form, go to www.umma.umaine.edu. Call 561-3350 to learn more about the museum.