BAR HARBOR — Last month the Abbe Museum made the decision to cancel their upcoming Abbe Museum Indian Market (AMIM), scheduled for May 15-17. “The current public health crisis has created circumstances beyond our control.” Executive Director and Senior Partner to Wabanaki Nations Chris Newell said, “In the interest of public health, the health of the artists, our staff and the many volunteers, the Abbe Museum feels this is not only appropriate, but necessary.”
The Indian Market was created to shine a bright light on Wabanaki artists and deepen the economic impact of art making for tribal communities. Its cancellation, alongside the cancellation of several other markets throughout the country, will have a significant effect on native artists who are dependent on these events for their livelihoods. But with more and more people connecting with one another virtually, it became possible for the Abbe to consider bringing the market into a digital space — continuing its work toward creating accessible economic opportunities and supporting the preservation of cultural art forms. From here Digital AMIM was born.
Digital AMIM will be a one-day online event scheduled from 2-8 p.m. on Saturday, May 16. Event-goers will have the chance to meet some of the 2020 Abbe Museum Indian Market artists, learning more about them, their process and their body of work. Allowing artists to connect directly with the community to educate and also sell their wares. In addition to spotlighting artists, Digital AMIM will include performances (ranging from dancers to singers, and everything in between) and educational programming. At the end of the evening, there will also be a film screening and panel discussion.
“We are extremely excited about Digital AMIM,” said Newell, “the Abbe Museum’s mission is ‘Inspiring new learning about the Wabanaki Nations with every visit.’ The health crisis created a situation where the public can’t come to visit us, so with Digital AMIM we’re bringing our mission into your homes. We invite you to join us throughout the event both to support the AMIM artists and engage in the opportunity to learn about Native arts from the artists themselves.”
The Museum will communicate more details about Digital AMIM on its website abbemuseum.org/digitalamim, including information about the schedule and participating artists. Here you will also find artist profiles, which will introduce you to all of the artists accepted into this year’s Abbe Museum Indian Market ahead of the digital event.
The mission of the Abbe Museum, Maine’s first and only Smithsonian Affiliate, is to inspire new learning about the Wabanaki Nations with every visit. With two locations — in downtown Bar Harbor and inside Acadia National Park at Sieur de Monts Spring — the Abbe works closely with the Wabanaki people to share their stories, history, and culture with a broader audience. With a collection of over 70,000 archaeological, historic, and contemporary objects, the Museum’s collections conservation program is recognized nationally as a model for museums. The Abbe also holds the largest and best-documented collection of Maine Native American basketry in any museum.