College of the Atlantic alumni, faculty design exhibit for celebrated Islesford artist
ISLESFORD, Maine — An exhibit for one of Maine’s most celebrated artists was designed and conceptualized with the help of College of the Atlantic alumni and faculty.
“A Visit with Ashley Bryan,” on display at Acadia National Park’s Islesford Historical Museum through September, features work from Bryan’s 80-year career in art, literature and music, and includes paintings, drawings, illustrated books and puppets featured in his newest book of poems.
“Ashley’s personal story of courage, perseverance, and dedication is presented in a timeline that includes seldom-seen work from the artist’s years serving in the segregated U.S. Army in World War II,” according to a description of the exhibit.
Viewers of the exhibit also can view a trailer of a documentary film soon to be released about the artist’s life and work. The free exhibition is presented in partnership with Acadia National Park and the Island Institute, with support from the Partridge Foundation and Simon & Schuster.
The exhibit was conceived by a group of admirers in the fall of 2013. That group consisted of Ashley Bryan Center board members and founders Henry and Donna Isaacs, Dan and Cynthia Lief, and the artist, as well as exhibition developers Dru Colbert, a College of the Atlantic faculty member; and Betts Swanton, a COA alum.
As the project developed, the group was joined by Ashley Bryan Center project manager Josh Winer, a COA alum and current COA lecturer; local Islesford resident and craftsman Courtney Chaplin; and graphic production designer Danielle Meier, another COA alum.
“He’s active all over the world. He’s very philanthropic,” Winer said. “He is someone who takes the educator part on his own professional background extremely seriously and continues to do that work in, what some people would call retirement.”
Winer said the exhibit serves as the flagship project of the Ashley Bryan Center and is intended to create awareness of efforts to share Ashley’s work and creative spirit. The center on Little Cranberry Island offers unique opportunities for artists, and conserves and displays Bryan’s drawings, paintings, puppets, stained sea glass work and his collection of international toys, puppets and art objects.
“A Visit with Ashley Bryan” is one of at least two current local art exhibits designed by COA associates this summer.
The Mount Desert Island Historical Society’s Somesville Museum is displaying “Portrait of an Island.” Designed by COA alumnae Jane Piseli and Kate Ross, the exhibit depicts the life and times of Art and Nan Kellam, who lived as the sole inhabitants of Placentia Island for nearly 40 years.
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