PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — A first-of-its-kind art studio on wheels made its debut in Presque Isle last week as part of its mission to bring art- and health care-related activities to communities throughout Aroostook County.
The Wintergreen On Wheels (WOW) and TAMC in Your Town Mobile was officially rolled out on June 20 with a ceremony at The Aroostook Medical Center, followed by a downtown Presque Isle parade and ending with an art activity for children in Riverside Park.
The Wintergreen Arts Center is based in Presque Isle.
The arts center and The Aroostook Medical Center have developed the Wintergreen On Wheels and TAMC in Your Town Mobile to be used as an on-location art studio. It will bring wellness activities to the surrounding area while also helping both organizations with community outreach efforts. The vehicle has undergone a significant artistic transformation.
Wendy Zubrick, executive director of Wintergreen Arts Center, said that the partnership will be beneficial to the local area.
“Wintergreen’s essential mission is to bring art into the community,” she explained. “When I originally approached TAMC about partnering up, I had no idea they would respond with the incredible idea of letting us use a retired ambulance. Now, we have the opportunity to take art on the road, and share it with local underserved communities.”
Heather Harvell was the lead creative designer on the project. She said that working on the WOW/TAMC in Your Town mobile was unique because it was “one large, moving 3D canvas” and the artists pretty much had free reign over what they could contribute to the mural.
“It created an environment where there was no wrong answer to what artists contributed, allowing them to express freely what comes to mind in imagery and words,” she explained.
Harvell added that she believes that the roving mobile will allow more children to experience the arts.
“To be able to take art to schools, rec centers and groups that otherwise wouldn’t have had the art experience is going to be very exciting,” she said. “We have been seeing the arts cut back in our schools and so I think we as a community need to realize that to be healthy, well-rounded people, we need to provide many avenues for our children to learn and express themselves so they can grow.”
Wintergreen Arts and TAMC invited the community to submit logo designs for the buggy. The basic rule of the contest was to use the existing logos of each organization, and “incorporate motion.” The winners of the contest, Sydney Lavigne and Amalla Peterson, unveiled their designs as a feature of the event. The two artists were each presented a $100 gift certificate to Morningstar Art and Framing. The winning designs are now prominently displayed in the area directly above the vehicle’s cab.
The WOW/TAMC Mobile project is a collaborative effort. Students in the diesel hydraulics technology and automotive technology programs at Northern Maine Community College in Presque Isle worked on the mobile beginning in February, providing it with a tune-up and repairing and replacing parts. The NMCC logo and wording is placed on the mobile indicating that the vehicle is maintained by students and instructors at the college.
In its new form, the WOW/TAMC Mobile houses art supplies so volunteers with the arts center can take it to a community for special events and offer art activities on-site. It will continue to be used by TAMC to bring health-related activities to towns in the region as well.
The two organizations also plan to have the vehicle appear in local parades and at numerous festivals. In the coming months, the WOW/TAMC in Your Town Mobile will be present at Farm Fest at Maple Meadow Farms in Mapleton, the Potato Blossom Festival in Fort Fairfield, Easton Field Days, Caribou Cares About Kids, Wintergreen’s own 5k Color Run and various other community appearances throughout the summer months and into the fall.