December 16, 2018
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Abbe Museum Hosts Creative Summit

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Johannah Blackman | BDN
Johannah Blackman | BDN

On November 14th and 15th, Native artists will convene at the Abbe Museum in downtown Bar Harbor for a summit with the goal of developing and sustaining a community of contemporary Wabanaki artists. The summit, inspired by and designed to complement the Abbe’s current main exhibit, Twisted Path III, Questions of Balance, will include discussions, an open artists’ studio and a mural workshop. Twisted Path III artists participating in the summit include Patricia Michaels, Taos Pueblo, from Season 11 of Project Runway and the upcoming Season 4 of Project Runway Allstars, and Wabanaki artists Rick Hunt, Abenaki; Gina Brooks, Maliseet; Gabriel Frey, Passamaquoddy; Shane Perley-Dutcher, Maliseet, and Vera Longtoe Sheehan, Abenaki.
Friday’s events will be discussion-based and open only to Native artists. Conversations will be geared towards Native arts in Maine, and how to create support systems for emerging Wabanaki contemporary artists. In addition to the Twisted Path III artists, other Wabanaki artists and Maine Indian Basketmaker’s Alliance members have been invited to participate in the discussions, with the hopes of identifying the first steps towards creating a Contemporary Native Arts Guild. By bringing together some of today’s leaders in the contemporary Native art world, the Abbe Museum hopes to generate discussions about creative placemaking, cultural tourism, and the future of contemporary Native art in Maine.
On Saturday, the Creative Summit will open to the public with free museum admission. During the morning’s open artists’ studio, the artists will work together, trading materials and techniques, to create collaborative pieces. During the afternoon’s mural workshop, Twisted Path III Co-Curator, Rick Hunt, Abenaki, will lead the artists in the creation of a mural that will become part of the Abbe’s permanent collection. Anyone is invited to watch the Twisted Path III artists at work during Saturday’s events.
The Creative Summit is made possible through the support of Lead Corporate Sponsor, Bar Harbor Bank and Trust with additional lead support from the Maine Arts Commission. The Abbe Museum also thanks the Twisted Path III exhibit sponsors: the Sharpe Family Foundation/Douglas and Ann Sharpe, Anonymous Foundation, Fisher Charitable Foundation, Hattie A. & Fred C. Lynam Trust, The First, Maine Arts Commission, Bar Harbor Bank and Trust, MPBN, and the Bangor Daily News.
The mission of the Abbe Museum, now Maine’s first Smithsonian Affiliate, is to inspire new learning about the Wabanaki Nations with every visit. The Abbe has a collection of over 50,000 archaeological, historic and contemporary objects including stone and bone tools, pottery, beadwork, carved root clubs, birch bark canoes, and supporting collections of photographs, maps, and archival documents. It holds the largest and best-documented collection of Maine Native American basketry in any museum. Its collections conservation program is recognized nationally as a model for museums. Current exhibits include Twisted Path II: Questions of Balance, 150th Thoreau-Wabanaki Canoe Tour, Four Directions of Wabanaki Basketmaking, Layers of Time, and Kikehtahsuwiw It Heals.