In April, the Union of Maine Visual Artists (UMVA) will be exhibiting at the Harlow Gallery in Hallowell, Maine. The topic is “Occupy Art! The Union of Maine Visual Artists in Action.” And I am one of four poets invited to read at the reception.
Here are the details:
Harlow Gallery announcement
I will remember this honor all my life. The reason is that I greatly respect the people who run UMVA; in fact, they are my ethical heroes. They have wedded passion and brilliance to art and activism. They have done many great things over the years, visiting poor rural communities, speaking out against tyranny, and, yes, producing some of the best art in America.
Natasha Mayers, for instance, was the daily artist for commondreams.org for quite a while, until she chose other avenues of meaning. She has travelled the world, bringing communities together to paint empowering murals. Her art is well-known in Maine and beyond, shown in galleries and universities.
Go here to see hundreds of her common dreams pieces. The creativity and variegation are unbelievable; the use of color and icon, in surreal plays of archetypal angst, beyond astounding:
Natasha Mayers Common Dreams
As with the next two artists I am going to mention (below), Mayers has accomplished far more than I am mentioning here. Far more. I apologize for my feeble quick biography.
Robert Shetterly writes essays for national venues as well as merging his visual genius with ethical imperatives. He published “Americans Who Tell the Truth” a collection of his portraits of people like Sojourner Truth, Noam Chomsky, Emma Goldman, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Rachel Carson, and Caesar Chavez.
Go here to see the portraits and learn more:
Robert Shetterly Americans Who Tell the Truth
Shetterly recently won an honorary doctorate from the University of Maine, Farmington. The provost said he was being awarded for “remarkable accomplishments as a painter, as an educator, and as an unfailing and articulate voice for social justice in America.”
Shetterly’s work is shown far, near and wide. Like Mayers, he works tirelessly, blending art, activism and projects of community healing. I’m leaving out vast amounts of his accomplishments, and I apologize.
Kenny Cole is a fountain of original, incisive work that often blurs the boundaries between art and poetry. I’ve reviewed Cole before:
Here is a sample of some of his virtuosity. He continues to produce art that fearlessly emanates passion. His style is so expressive, so vivid, so cutting, it often brings me to the edge of tears:
Gold, God, Guns and Girls
UMVA, including the three great human beings above, is a cynosure where leadership and honest emotion dare challenge ignorance. The light of the unfettered soul, expressed in art and words, intrudes on the dark.
There is no nobler pursuit. I look forward to my few moments, sharing my meager poems, at the reception. I will be reading with three seasoned, talented, devastating poets: Lee Sharkey, Henry Braun and Mark Melnicove.