Artists from Brooksville, Limestone, Exeter honored

Posted Sept. 30, 2009, at 6:03 p.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine – The Maine Arts Commission has named five Maine artists, including a woodcarver from Limestone and a Penobscot basketmaker from Exeter, as 2010 Traditional Arts Masters.

Acadian woodcarver Thomas Côté, weaver Susan Barrett Merrill of Brooksville and basketmaker Paula Thorne will join Normand Gagnon, who is a Quebecois accordionist from Rumford, and Auburn fiddler Greg Boardman in teaching their traditional arts to an apprentice for eight to 12 months.

The Maine Arts commission offers each artist a $4,000 stipend funded through a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts Folk and Traditional Arts program.

Côté, who teaches carving at Limestone High School, will instruct apprentice Ellysabeth S. Bencivenga in carving. Merrill will work with Barbara Egan in the traditional technique of weaving. Thorne will teach Emily Bell how to collect and prepare the brown ash tree for basketmaking.

Boardman will work with apprentice Hannah Rodrigue, and Gagnon will instruct Michel Giasson.

The Traditional Arts Masters will demonstrate their art forms during a free night of entertainment Oct. 23 at the Strand Theatre in Rockland as part of the Maine Arts Commission’s Fellowship Showcase.

For information about this event, or any of the Maine Arts Commission’s Traditional Arts programs, visit www.MaineArts.com.

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