September 22, 2019
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Maine-Japan international print exchange exhibition to be held at University of Maine Fort Kent

Community Author: Kerri Watson-Blaisdell
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FORT KENT — The University of Maine at Fort Kent is pleased to host the traveling exhibition, MAPS (Maine-Aomori Printmaking Society), from Sept. 28 through Nov. 2 in the Blake Library Gallery. The gallery will be open during regular library hours.

“In 2019, a group of local artists visited Maine’s sister state of Aomori, Japan while communities in both countries have hosted exchange exhibitions of prints,” said Jeff Badger, president of Friends of Aomori. “The traveling MAPS exhibition is a cultural exchange program facilitating the exchange of art and artists between the states sponsored by Friends of Aomori that is now in its fourth year.”

MAPS is organized by Friends of Aomori, an all-volunteer non-profit that supports the Sister State relationship between Maine and Aomori, Japan.  The same collection was shown at the Aomori Arts Pavilion in Japan during the Citizen Culture Days in October 2018, and will be exhibited at locations in Aomori prefecture throughout the year.

“We are privileged to have such an intriguing international exhibit here in our community,” said university president Dr. Tex Boggs. “I strongly encourage our campus and community to view the exhibit and learn more about this art exchange program.”

The 2019 series of exhibitions builds on the successful series of exchanges and exhibitions held in both countries since 2015, now numbering sixteen shows in varied locations throughout both states. The relationship between Maine and Aomori has been in place for 20 years, but the fascinating connection between the two states goes back to a shipwreck in 1889 (read more here: maine-aomori.org). In addition to MAPS, Friends of Aomori supports high-school exchange programs, educational events and programming about Japan, and economic development opportunities.

In 2018 the print exchange expanded to a student art exchange with a show at the Children’s Museum of Maine. Later that year the Rotary Club of Aomori and Friends of Aomori sponsored a Maine art teacher to visit K-6 art classes in Aomori.  In March of 2016, Friends of Aomori welcomed five Japanese artists to Portland for a residency program, and the upcoming delegation of Maine artists will visit Aomori prefecture for a reciprocal program in October.

The MAPS 2019 collection features prints by: Jane Banquer, Laura Dunn, Nicole Em, Hideo Kawamura, Amanda Lilleston, Nathaniel Meyer, Daniel Minter, David Morgan, Mitsumaro Ogawa, Katsuma Ohsato, Jun’ichi Okabe, Kei’ichi Okuta, Anna O’Sullivan, Shouzou Sasaki, Debbie Schmitt, Emiko Seki, Nobuko Shimazu, Satoshi Suzuki, Kei’ichi Wada and Cornelia Walworth.

MAPS is presented by Friends of Aomori and made possible by the generous support of Maine Community Foundation and Ocean House Gallery and Frame.

For more information about the exhibit or library hours, please call Sofia Birden at 207-834-7527 or go to umfk.edu.