Senior College presents ninth annual Festival of the Arts Gala

Posted May 13, 2011, at 2:14 p.m.

BELFAST, Maine — Senior College ninth annual Festival of Arts is a non-juried exhibit scheduled for May 12-15 at the UMaine Hutchinson Center, 80 Belmont Ave. (Route 3 West). The artists are both amateur and professional and live across the state of Maine.

This year 169 artists will exhibit artwork. Senior College also will sponsor an exhibit of students’ art from RSU 20, from kindergarten to grade 12, in the Conference Room in the new wing at the Hutchinson Center. The students’ art teachers chose works from all the schools in RSU 20.

The festival is free to the artists and to the public. There are no entry fees for artists, and no fees charged to the public to see the exhibit or to attend any of the events and demonstrations.

The featured artist at the festival will be Rainy Brooks with her oil painting on canvas, “Acadia.”

A  preview mini-exhibit for the festival is installed at the law firm of Lee Woodward, 56 Main St.

Nancy Hamilton, widow of Robert Hamilton, will present a personal overview of his work at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 14. A panel of experts will explain why his work is important.

Hamilton earned a degree in painting in 1939 from the Rhode Island School of Design. He earned a Distinguished Flying Cross in World War II as a captain and P-47 bomber pilot with 100 missions to his credit. In 1948, he returned to RISD to teach painting and drawing and married Nancy. He taught art for 34 years before retiring to Port Clyde. A prolific artist, he painted nearly every day for 55 years, largely ignoring self promotion. He was an influential, modernist painter in New England in the last half of the 20th century — an idiosyncratic genius highly respected for improvisation, but relatively unknown today. Hamilton’s friend and neighbor, Andrew Wyeth, called him “a real painter.” His sophisticated, yet humorous, innovations are like no one else’s — “the nth whoopee of sight,” according to disciple Richard Merkin, a reknowned bon vivant and illustrator for The New Yorker. Hamilton painted quirky interpretations of animals, children, friends, air corps buddies, faculty, performers, admired painters and other notables. Even his last works, when he was nearly blind, are fresh, funny and youthful. He was especially influenced by Max Beckmann and the jazz greats. He said that painting had to be like jazz improvisation and that “The picture makes itself. When I’m finished, I don’t know how the hell I did it.”

Nancy Hamilton’s presentation is prelude to a new exhibit, “Robert Hamilton: The Last Paintings,” which will run May 28-July 10 at the Center for Maine Contemporary Art in Rockport, and a new book and website on his work.

Festival schedule:

• Thursday, May 12, Opening Reception and Meet the Artists, 6-8 p.m.

• Friday, May 13, exhibit hours 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Watercolor demonstration with Anne Spencer of Stockton Springs, noon-2 p.m. Panel discussion: “How to Market and Promote Your Artwork” with Dagney Ernest, Thierry Bonneville and Karin Wilkes, 3-5 p.m. Kings Jazz group headlines the special performing arts concert, 7-9 p.m.

• Saturday, May 14, exhibit hours, 9 a.m .-5 p.m. RSU 20 students’ reception in new wing, 10 a.m.-noon. Presentation: “The Art of Robert Hamilton” with special guest presenter, Nancy Hamilton; moderator David Estey; panelists Suzette McAvoy, Richard Kane, Eric Hopkins, William Irvine, George Lloyd, 1-3 p.m.

• Sunday, May 15, exhibit hours noon-3 p.m.

To obtain more information, call Dorothy Alling, co-chairwoman, at 548-2425.

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