Donate to support future exhibitions
Waterfall Arts needs your help in order to sustain our free, engaging, and noteworthy exhibitions in our galleries. We want to continue providing our community with rich cultural experiences through the arts.
Waterfall Arts invites creatives from all over the world to participate in our open call for mail art, “Signed, Sealed, Delivered”.
Mail art is simply art that has been sent through the mail, but generally is made knowing the piece will journey via the post. Painting, drawing, collage, photography, and writing can all easily be mail art. Stamps, how the piece is addressed, and the marks made by the postal service also add to the final art that arrives at its destination.
As a medium, sending art through the post office allows for a new type of physical connection between people, places, and ideas. All work will be exhibited in our Corridor Gallery. The collection will be on view beginning with the first piece received and will grow as the entries arrive, providing a space for a living breathing connection between any visitor who steps through our doors and the artworks we receive. We’ll host an opening reception on October 20, 2023.
Our goal is to create a community show where everyone can participate, regardless of their art experience. All ages, creative abilities and cultural experiences are not just welcome but celebrated!
Directions for Participation:
*Please note: All works received will become part of the Mail Art collection of Waterfall Arts and will not be returned to the artists.
Sponsored by Stanley Buick Maine
“This is an exhibit of hope, where the actions of a few scientists changed the outcomes of seabirds forever. Art can communicate to people of all ages and backgrounds to understand this powerful story and contemplate their own actions for the future of seabirds,” said Pippin Frisbie-Calder.
The Gulf of Maine is one of the fastest-warming bodies of water on earth, and seabirds are struggling to find the fish they rely on for food as a result. This project highlights the triumph of puffins’ return to their historic nesting range on Eastern Egg Rock, as well as the care and collective action needed to ensure their long-term success in the face of climate change.
May 20, 2023 — the Seabird Institute, Waterfall Arts, the artists and the scientists who created “Welcome to Egg Rock” hosted a discussion about the development and implementation of this immersive, multimedia installation. They discussed how this installation combines art, science and storytelling to inspire visitors to act on something as big and complex as climate change. Panelists shared why collaboration is important for innovation, how the team worked together on this particular project, and what impact art can have on conservation efforts. A Q&A followed. This event was free and open to the public.
Welcome to Egg Rock Artists: Pippin Frisbie-Calder, Terri Frisbie
Waterfall Arts: Amy Tingle, Program Director
Her prints and installations have been shown widely around New Orleans, most prominently as a solo show at the New Orleans Contemporary Art Center. She has also exhibited at the Urban Institute for Contemporary Art in Michigan, Biennale Internationale d’estampe contemporaine, Canada, Indonesia, Denver, Maine, South Carolina and Rhode Island. She has held residencies at the Joan Mitchell Center, A Studio in the Woods, Big Cypress National Preserve, Jakmel Ekspresyon, Haiti and AS220. She received her MFA in printmaking from Tulane University in 2017 and her BFA with honors from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2008. She was the Artist-in-Residence at Waterfall Arts in September 2022.
To get in touch, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
She is currently represented by LeMieux Galleries: 332 Julia St, New Orleans
Sponsored by Stanley Buick Maine
Waterfall Arts celebrated Youth Art Month with its seventh annual Young Artists’ Gallery Takeover. More than 200 works by Waldo County’s next generation of artists were on display throughout the month of March, not only in both galleries at Waterfall Arts, but also in the Belfast Free Library, and in shop windows throughout downtown Belfast. This epic display of creativity is always a must-see and inspires viewers of all ages.
Special appreciation and honors to the dedicated professionals
in our community who guide and support students’ artistry.
This year our educator-participants include:
Nancy Brown, Captain Albert Stephens School and Nickerson Elementary
Samantha Maheu, Troy Howard Middle School
Heidi O’Donnell and Kim Baker, Belfast Area High School
Jill Schvartz, East Belfast, Ames, and Gladys Weymouth Elementary
Kathie Gass, Extended Learning Program RSU 71
Mary-Ann Ashe, Leroy Smith Elementary and Wagner Middle School
Andrea Harris, Searsport Elementary, Middle, and High Schools
Casey Robison, Cornerspring Montessori
Victoria Barnes, Ecology Learning Center
After many years of dormancy, a new effort to bring back the Midcoast Chapter of the UMVA (Union of Maine Visual Artists) culminated in the chapter’s first juried exhibit at Waterfall Arts in Belfast from January 25th to February 24th, 2023.
The exhibition featured works chosen from submissions by UMVA Midcoast chapter members – ranging from photography to painting to monoprints and mixed media work. The judge for the show was David Estey, a well-known Maine abstract-expressionist painter whose work has been featured in 24 solo shows and in more than 100 group and juried exhibits.
“At the outset, we had decided I should be as inclusive as possible, to support submitting artists and encourage participation in the new UMVA Midcoast chapter,” said Estey. “Judging by the digital submissions, the resulting exhibit should be a surprisingly wide and perhaps little-known spectrum of esthetics, styles and artistic expression being created in the Midcoast area.”
The Midcoast chapter of UMVA formed when Liv Kristin Robinson, Sally Stanton, Ann Tracy and Deb Vendetti met to discuss taking turns traveling to Portland to carry work to exhibits. They wondered if enough UMVA members in the Midcoast area would want to form their own chapter. An internet survey showed there was great interest and the chapter began to take shape. After the Winter Exhibit at Waterfall Arts in Belfast, possible shows may be held in Waldoboro and Damariscotta later in 2023.
The Union of Maine Visual Artists (UMVA) represents visual artists statewide in all fields of endeavor and welcomes those who support contemporary artists in Maine. The UMVA is dedicated to upholding the dignity of artists, while creating positive social change through the arts. By collaborating with other cultural and progressive organizations, we raise awareness for significant issues while promoting an inclusive arts community in Maine. We are grassroots and we are active.
Esteemed juror, David Estey is an abstract-expressionist painter in Belfast, whose current solo exhibit “Emergent Phenomena” at Cove Street Arts in Portland showcases that his improvisations leave him “as surprised and intrigued as anyone else by what I make.” He graduated from Crosby High School, Rhode Island School of Design and George Washington University. Besides a stint in the army as an illustrator and a federal career in public affairs, he has lived, worked, taught art and exhibited in Baltimore/Washington, Philadelphia, North Carolina and Mid-coast Maine. He is on the UMVA Board of Directors and was an early Board member, instructor and longtime monitor of figure drawing at Waterfall Arts.
After 70 plus years of making art, Estey has produced over 100 sketchbooks and more than 10,800 pieces of art. In the past three decades of exhibiting, he has been in 24 solo shows and over 100 group and juried exhibits. His work is in private and organizational collections in 20 states and seven countries. To learn more, visit www.davidestey.com.
Artist Statement: Paul Valentine creates woodcut prints and paintings that celebrate the beauty and power of the earth and asks the viewer to consider the impact that their lifestyle leaves upon it. We all consume material goods at a horrifically fast rate. We buy our freshly grown produce wrapped up in plastic, eat our food out of foam containers, and throw away last year’s electronic gadgets to make room for the newest models. These things we throw away leave our mind as soon as they enter the waste bin, but they will exist somewhere in the world for hundreds of years. Our lives are so short but our trash’s life is long. Paul’s artwork draws attention to the mindset that trades long-term natural beauty for short-term satisfaction.
About the Artist: Paul Valentine is a multidisciplinary artist living in Surry, Maine. Formerly an architectural and museum exhibit designer, he graduated from the University of Tennessee with a Bachelors of Architecture. He has exhibited artwork and painted murals in Qatar, Russia, New Zealand, Nicaragua, and the United States, as well as participated in a 9-month Artist-in-Residency at the FireStation Museum in Qatar. Paul has dedicated a significant portion of his life to exploring the natural world, having backpacked over 7,000 meters of long-distance trails, walking across the US twice, on the Appalachian Trail and Pacific Crest Trail, and the Te Araroa Trail in New Zealand. The impact that sleeping under the stars for a combined 2 years during these adventures has had on his work cannot be overstated. Seeing the first-hand effects that humanity is having on the world propels him to use his art to help inspire people to take better care of the beautiful and magical places we have all around us.
It is a radical act…to take up space when society has trained you to make yourself small, to spend time exploring your story and voice, to center yourself in your own narrative, to come together in community to discuss hard things, to make time to create art about yourself, to participate in something greater than oneself, to collaborate, to trust, to stand up and declare – this has value and it deserves to be completed and shared, to create space for other marginalized voices, to speak your truth, to ask for help, to respond to a request for help, to try something new, to learn something new. Thank you for being here. It is a radical act to support radical acts.
About the artist:
Shannon Downey aka Badass Cross Stitch is an artist, activist, craftivist, community builder, and general instigator. She blends her politics, activism, and art into projects that are designed to inspire others to take action, think, discuss, engage with democracy and their community, and find some digital/analog balance. She uses art as a vehicle for positive change through creative interventions whether that be through open-source street art campaigns or global craftivism projects.
She is the instigator behind #RitasQuilt, #MakeDontBreak, #YearOfStitch and @BadassHerstory. She is on a quest to teach 1 million people to embroider and invite society to rethink how we categorize, and value craft and art. Shannon sold everything she owned and moved into an RV in June of 2020 to bring art, activism, and community to the country.
She teaches at Columbia College and DePaul University and is founder of Seriously Badass Women. Her life motto is: Make Art. Smash Systems.
This woodcut series focuses on the flora, fauna and stories of the Gulf South. Using printmaking techniques Pippin Frisbie-Calder explores the scale of the swamp, the microorganisms within, and the complex ways that we extract and benefit from these fragile ecosystems.
About the Artist:
Pippin Frisbie-Calder’s prints and installations have been shown widely around New Orleans, most prominently as a solo show at the New Orleans Contemporary Art Center. She has also exhibited at the Urban Institute for Contemporary Art in Michigan, Biennale Internationale d’estampe contemporaine, Canada, Indonesia, Denver, Maine, South Carolina and Rhode Island. She has held residencies at the Joan Mitchell Center, A Studio in the Woods, Big Cypress National Preserve, Jakmel Ekspresyon, Haiti and AS220. She received her MFA in printmaking from Tulane University in 2017 and her BFA with honors from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2008. She is currently represented by LeMieux Galleries.
I stand quietly in the midst of the trees, examining their texture, following the vein-like branches reaching upward and out. I imagine the network of communication and support beneath the surface and feel the effects of this far reaching community. They/we are interconnected.
In these years we have lost much in the way of human connectedness. Each decision to do so has been fraught with fear. As we imagine the days going forward can this human-nature relationship help us? Do the trees have something to teach? This work is an exploration of interconnectedness. It is a deep, intimate conversation, an embrace.
About the Artist:
Karen Olson is a lens-based artist working at the intersection of human emotion and the natural world. In her figurative and nature-inspired work, Karen uses concept-based projects to explore the human-nature connection and its role in fostering mental health and communication. Karen seeks an open dialog with subjects such as grief, trauma, empathy, and forest bathing. She illustrates these multi-sensory experiences with two and three-dimensional works.
Thanks to the following in-town locations for sponsoring artwork in their windows:
Alexia’s Pizza, Bay Wrap, Belfast Fiber Arts, Better Homes and Gardens, CG Bikes, Downshift Coffee, Chocolate Drop Candy Shop, City Drawers, Coyote Moon, Darby’s, Eat More Cheese, Epoch, Fiddlehead Artisan Supply, Heavenly Yarns, Home Supply Center, Katwalk, Belfast Free Library, Local Color Gallery, Nordic Aquafarms, Out On A Whimsey, People, Places, Things, Quench, Satori, Colonial Theatre, Good Table, Green Store, TJ Eyewear, TOKO, Vinolio, Yo Mammas.
We are proud to share the hard work of our local art educators; the 2022 show included work from:
Captain Albert Stephens Elementary
Troy Howard Middle School
Belfast Area High School
Searsport Middle and High Schools
Leroy Smith, Wagner, and Nickerson Elementary Schools, Cornerspring Montessori
Tuesday through Friday
10 AM – 5 PM
11 AM – 3PM
Closed Sunday and Monday
All exhibitions are free and open to the public
Using book illustrations and a piece of Karen Jelenfy’s original work, students will reflect on artists’ use of abstraction as a response to the landscape. Artists to be explored include Andrew Wyeth, Emily Carr, Joan Mitchell, and John Walker.
An original painting by the instructor will then be viewed. Participants will discuss the influence of remembered places and other works of art (such as books, films, music) on the painting, in addition to contemplating the materials and colors used.
After a brief demonstration by the instructor, students will create 2 painted works in response to a landscape, either chosen from the materials provided or done from memory. Individual instruction throughout. If you have participated in Karen’s previous classes here, new information will be explored so consider this both a standalone class for new students or Part 2 (or 3!) for prior students. An informal critique will complete the class. All materials included. Bring a brown-bag lunch!
At the center of Belfast’s long and colorful history is its dynamic waterfront. From boat building to chicken, sardine and potato processing, Belfast’s shoreline has evolved and transformed with the changing tides of industry, economic cycles, and tourism. Today, we enjoy public access and recreation opportunities alongside a working shipyard.
This extensive photography exhibition explores how Belfast’s identity has evolved –and how it has stayed the same– in tandem with the varied activities and bustle of its harbor. Held at Waterfall Arts in partnership with the Penobscot Marine Museum and the Belfast Historical Society and Museum, the show includes historic images as well as photographs from over a dozen contemporary photographers. The featured works reveal the rich maritime history, commerce, recreation and scenic beauty of Belfast’s waterfront, as documented over the last several decades.
Liv Kristin Robinson, lead curator, has been documenting the evolving Belfast harbor since 1988 and is known for her hand-painted photographic works of the Belfast waterfront, several of which are in the permanent collections of the Portland Museum of Art and the Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland. Other participating photographers include: Marcie J. Bronstein, Leslie Gregory, Susan Guthrie, Betsy Headley, Jaap Helder, Terry Hire, Kevin Johnson, Lynn Karlin, Mark Kuzio, Ben Magro, Peggy McKenna, Richard Norton, Neal Parent, and Louise Shorette.
This exhibition would not be possible without the curatorial support of Kevin Johnson of the Penobscot Marine Museum and Megan Pinette of the Belfast Historical Society and Museum.
On Friday, June 18th, 5-7pm, Waterfall Arts opened our doors and Gallery for small group viewings. The opening event featured a poetry reading of works themed around the Belfast Waterfront, planned in collaboration with the Office of the Belfast Poet Laureate. Enjoy some images from the evening, below, or find the entire photo album here.
The idea of this exhibit grew out of my decades-long interest in documenting Belfast’s evolving waterfront. When I first arrived in Belfast in 1986, poultry and sardine processing and other manufacturing plants were still active industries along the shoreline. Since the Great Depression— more than a half-century earlier– economic decline had left much of Belfast’s infrastructure derelict. Belfast was then known as where the “chicken met the sea” and few tourists made it a destination when traveling up the coast.
Inspired by a chance meeting in 1988 with legendary Berenice Abbott at a Gallery 68 opening, the famous photographer admonished me to focus my camera on “what was really important– Belfast’s vanishing industrial waterfront!” And so I began taking long walks along Belfast’s neglected shoreline with its disappearing marginal landscapes. I also thought about how Belfast was changing— how young artists and other creative types who had settled in the 1970’s (when real estate was seen as affordable) had helped create a vibrant and exciting community. As a result, many others –like myself, liking the changes they saw– also wanted to call Belfast “home.” But, with their arrival had also come some of the inevitable process of gentrification and more change.
In the 1990s as part of a newly appointed Comprehensive Plan, I advocated, along with several other women from “away,” to restrict future economic activity along the waterfront to “marine-related uses only.”
In 2004 while continuing to document some of what was still left of Belfast’s marginal landscapes and industrial buildings, I made my first digital photographs and soon discovered that with some small adjustment, I could continue to emotionally color or ‘tint’ my images as I had previously done in my black and white, handpainted photographs from the 1980s and ‘90s.
I also thought about what Befast must have been like during its prosperous past with shipbuilding, commerce, tourism and local recreational opportunities.
Today, with its vibrant waterfront, Belfast has reinvented itself and has once again become an exciting destination.
Every place changes over time but the rate of change is usually slow and gradual. It often goes unnoticed or slips under the radar of day to day life. How a place changes and evolves is a fascinating study and the photograph is the perfect medium to examine it. A photograph is much more accurate than our memories and one can fill books with the words it would take to describe the details and stories a single photo can hold. As we look at over a hundred years of Belfast’s waterfront we learn a lot about the town. There were good years and hard ones. At times it was beautiful and stately but other times it looked harsh and ugly. Each photograph captures a single moment in time, a second or less. These singular moments though, each represent a greater period of time and serve as a gateway to tell the stories of what was happening. How people lived, worked and played. It’s all part of the story, Belfast’s story, our story.
“Photographing Belfast’s Waterfront, Then and Now” is a great opportunity to showcase photographs from the Belfast Museum collection and to work in conjunction with the Penobscot Marine Museum and Kristin Robinson, show curator. Photographers have been documenting our waterfront dating back to the 1870s which gives us a broad timeline of images to draw from to illustrate this show.
Attracted by the state’s unique character and way of life, artists have established communities and flourished in Maine for over a century. In 1980, a number of young Waldo County artists teamed up to form the Artfellows, a group committed to supporting artists and to creating more local opportunities for exhibiting contemporary art. For over a decade, the Artfellows gallery served as a hub of ingenuity, dialogue, and camaraderie. Dozens of Maine’s best-known artists got their start at Art Fellows. This show celebrates the 41st anniversary of the founding of this dynamic community, featuring works made by Artfellows in the 1980s and 1990s, and what they are making today.
Liv Kristin Robinson
Squidge Liljeblad Davis
Scott W. Redfern
Driving in my car one day in 2019, it occurred to me that in 2020, forty years will have passed since the founding of Art Fellows. An idea began to ferment. I proposed to Waterfall Arts that we honor this historic moment by having an exhibit of as many members as we could gather, to celebrate and remember this extraordinary time in Belfast.
Waterfall Arts embraced this proposal and an exhibit was planned for the summer of 2020. Due to Covid, it comes a year later, but with no less enthusiasm. Liv Kristin Robinson and Lorna Crichton jumped on board as co-curators to bring the show to its fruition. I’d like to extend my gratitude to Laura Sheinkopf, Education Director at Waterfall Arts, for her unwavering help.
I was one of the early co-founders of Art Fellows and in 1980 along with Richard Norton, Michael and David Hurley, Marika Kuzma, Margot Balboni and Michael Reece, put together the very first exhibit: ART FELLOWS at the ODD FELLOWS.
The space became a hub of creativity and fun, and in its heyday, a respected venue for contemporary art. It had over 50 members and included many known guest artists such as Alex Katz, Yvonne Jaquette, Neil Welliver, Rudy Burkhart, Rackstraw Downs and others. It was truly a catalyst for Belfast’s creative community.
Looking back, I recognize how unique and remarkable that time was and how grateful I am to have been a part of it.
Inspired by a group of wildly creative artists she met after marriage brought her to Waldo County, Lorna took up photography as her medium. At the Maine Photographic Workshop she learned the basics of black and white, hand-coloring, darkroom techniques and alternative printing processes. She later studied in New York at Hunter College and the International Center for Photography. Along with husband Alan and friends, she is one of the founders of Waterfall Arts and is happy that the Arts Center has grown to be a vital part of our community. One of the early members of Artfellows, she has exhibited in Maine and New York and continues to enjoy the magical alchemy of a handmade image – light time color experience chemical capture paper shadow image emotion reflection beauty.
Attracted by the architecture, sense of community and creativity in the air, I moved to Belfast from New York City in the Spring of 1986 to pursue my passion for photography. Certainly, the two art galleries in town as well as affordable real estate were strong draws. We soon met Harold Garde (another New Yorker) who was making amazing monoprints at Gallery 68 and I was also introduced to Richard Norton who invited me to join the cooperative gallery, Art Fellows, that was just up Main Street. Here I was able to learn from other artists and develop my skills – eventually showing in commercial galleries and museum shows.
A year or so later when Richard decided it was time to close and disband this artists cooperative, a small group of newer members (including Randy Fein, Lucy Carver and myself) took over the administration of the organization and space as we still saw the need for local artists to get together, share their work and build creative community.
“Cradle” (2021), by artist Nina Elder, is being exhibited among seven other large-scale drawings and a video installation.
“Uplift,” a multi-media exploration of the act of lifting by artist Nina Elder, opens at Waterfall Arts on Friday December 10 (National Human Rights Day). Through a residency at Waterfall Arts (with support from The Onion Foundation) during the summer of 2021, artist Nina Elder created eight large-scale drawings. Her inspiration began as she witnessed the care, collaboration, technology, and resources that are used to move yachts from water to land in Belfast harbor.
As a counterbalance to the exclusivity she observed in the conspicuous care of yachts, Nina made these drawings while considering what else is carried in more private realms. Created using marine motor lubricant and industrial pulp mill waste—materials that point to certain non-recreational realities in Maine—these drawings abstract what is uplifted and are meditations on the kinds of invisible emotional lifting we all do.
The attention to the technologies of cradling and carrying boats in the harbor subsequently led Nina to create “Overburden,” a video installation that is debuting as part of this exhibition.
overburden: (verb) to give someone a weight that is too great to carry.
overburden: (noun) the geologic material that is removed to expose a desired underground mineral
From 1902-1987 the Dodge Phelps Corporation dumped massive piles of slag along the United States/Mexico border in Douglas, Arizona. This final product of copper mining is a toxic landscape defined by radioactivity, unfertile soil, and acidified rain and rivers. It is a dramatic and dangerous place that has become a theater for United States politics as enacted by border patrol employees, walls, and myriad forms of surveillance and incarceration technologies.
“Overburden” documents artist Nina Elder’s attempt to care for and carry away the slag. She uses hand-sewn devices, accentuating both her strength and her softness, to uplift and dignify the pulverized, leached, melted, dumped, and forgotten rocks.
Amy Tingle, program director at Waterfall Arts, says, “Nina’s work is a direct response to the extraordinary weight in our current world—so many of us feel overwhelmed, overtired, nearly incapacitated by the burdens of the pandemic and the sytemic issues it has unearthed. Nina created from a space of true heartache as she witnessed firsthand the destruction of land caused by greed and cruelty, yet she still managed to ask and attempt to answer the question: ‘what if recognizing internal resiliency and healthy interdependence becomes the hallmark of this challenging time?’ These questions are crucial: Can we help someone else carry a weight that is dragging them down? Can we find beauty in the hoisting, joy in levitation, can we be awed by the miracle of understanding that not one single organism on this entire planet is doing it alone?
Artist and researcher Nina Elder creates projects that reveal humanity’s dependence on and interruption of the natural world. With a focus on changing cultures and ecologies, Nina advocates for collaboration, fostering relationships between institutions, artists, scientists and diverse communities. Her work takes many forms, including drawings, performative lectures, pedagogy and critical writing, long term community-based projects, and public art. Find out more about Nina and her work at http://ninaelder.com
Artist Nina Elder during her July artist residency at Waterfall Arts. Photo by: Chris Battaglia
Albums of images coming soon!
Waterfall Arts needs your help in order to sustain our free, engaging, and noteworthy exhibitions in our galleries. We want to continue providing our community with rich cultural experiences through the arts.
Following CDC recommendations and guidelines, Waterfall Arts will no longer require masking, proof of vaccination, or a negative COVID test for patrons, students, or visitors to attend classes, openings or any events at the Waterfall Arts building.