May 26, 2018
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One art exhibit you can’t afford to miss at the Bangor Mall

By Joni Averill

One event I try not to miss every year is free, open to the public, completely accessible, incredibly wonderful and something you shouldn’t miss either.

This very special event is the Art in the Heart of Maine Our Students’ Art Exhibit, which will be set up in the morning and open at noon, Sunday, March 6, at a storefront in the Bangor Mall.

You can continue visiting this outstanding exhibit during regular Mall hours, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays until Sunday, March 20, when the exhibit closes.

Veazie Community School teacher Courtney Harvey reports this exhibit, now in its 35th year, will include student artwork chosen and displayed by more than 40 art teachers of schools in our area from Millinocket to Bangor and beyond.

“It’s such a wonderful tradition,” Courtney told me. “I remember being in it as a kid, back when I was in the third grade in the Pittsfield school system.”

Courtney explained the teachers have a very difficult time selecting artwork for this show.

“It’s really hard to choose,” she said. “Each teacher has one panel’s worth of art; as much as can be fitted on each side of the panel. But if you’re a teacher in several different schools — and many are — then you have to find just the right art to put there.”

As I said, there is no fee to attend, which is why you can’t afford to miss it.

Everyone visits “on the honor system,” Courtney said, adding that Art in the Heart membership dues help cover expenses for the show.

The teachers meet at 10 a.m. the day the show opens, and each teacher is responsible for not only getting the art to the site, but putting up and taking down his or her own collection as well.

“We use panels from different schools, and we’ve bought some that we use,” Courtney added.

The space, however, is graciously donated by Bangor Mall, which is why she couldn’t tell me in which storefront you will find the exhibit.

“We don’t know until we get there,” Courtney said. “It just happens to be a storefront that is empty, and if there isn’t an empty one, they’ll just put us in the middle some place.”

Courtney said the young artists are terribly excited about having their work on display for the public to see. “It’s really fun, the day we’re putting it up, because the kids are lined up, waiting to come in when we’re finished.”

Within a day or so, judges from the University of Maine Museum of Art will show up, jury the work, and place small stars on those that will become part of a yearlong traveling art exhibit throughout the state.

“Any teacher can ask to have the exhibit” brought to his or her school, Courtney said, adding contact information is provided each school.

Hundreds of pieces of artwork, by young artists from kindergarten through grade 12, are included, and I can promise you will be impressed with what you see. I always am, and I marvel at the talent we have right in our midst.

“We have such fun with  it,” Courtney said. “It’s such a great way to advocate for what we are doing in the school system.”


Here’s a reminder:  “A Devine Evening” will be offered from 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday, March 5, at Reeds Brook Middle School in Hampden to help with expenses for local kindergarten teacher Sara Devine and her young family as she undergoes treatment for breast cancer.

Admission is $6 for adults, $3 for children and a maximum of $20 for a family.

In addition to a spaghetti supper, the event includes a raffle and a silent and live auction.

I spoke, recently, with Sara, who asked I pass along to you the sincere thanks and gratitude she and her husband share for all the help, support and encouragement their family is receiving from the community.

But she also wanted me to let readers know that, when I wrote about this event earlier, one comment needed clarification.

The round of chemotherapy Sara underwent after her diagnosis, she explained, was not what we described as “unsuccessful” but rather, as was explained to her by her doctors, “a partial response”  to the clinical trial in which she was involved.

“Of course we were hoping for a full response,” she said, but that did not happen so, as she continues with her treatment, she is buoyed by the love, faith and support of family, friends and community.

Have feedback? Want to know more? Send us ideas for follow-up stories.

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