Monson Arts receives grant from National Endowment for the Arts – Piscatakis Observer

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MONSON – Monson Arts has been awarded a $10,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to support “Working In Wood,” a project that will engage the community by showcasing wood and forestry artisans working in Piscataquis County and photographing and documenting their work and processes.

MONSON – Monson Arts has been awarded a $10,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to support “Working In Wood,” a project that will engage the community by showcasing wood and forestry artisans working in Piscataquis County and photographing and documenting their work and processes. The Monson Arts project is one of 1,125 projects nationwide totaling more than $26.6 million selected in the second round of 2022 Arts Project Grants.

“The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support arts and cultural organizations across the country through these grants, including Monson Arts, providing opportunities for all of us to live artistic lives,” said Dr. Maria Rosario Jackson, president of the National Endowment for the Arts. “The arts contribute to our individual well-being, the well-being of our communities, and our local economies. The arts are also critical as we emerge from the pandemic to understand the situation from different perspectives and plan for a shared new normal based on validated experiences.”

The project will be overseen by Kathleen Mandel, an award-winning folklorist, author and Camden’s Cultural Resources Director. She also worked with Monson Arts in curating both the “Forest Artists” exhibit in 2019 and the “Always Home: Traditional Wabanakia Art” exhibit in 2021. Here are Kathleen’s words about the “Working In Wood” project:

“This region is home to some incredible people who continue to practice forest-based arts and traditions,” Mandel said, “and this study will help us identify woodworkers and forest-based art forms, such as furniture makers, bowl turners, cabinet makers, dogsled makers, boat carpenters, canoe makers, snowshoe makers and those who work in the forest products and wood turning industries in Piscataquis County.”

The fieldwork-based “Working In Wood” project will focus on identifying woodworkers and forest-based art forms in Piscataquis County. Mandel will team up with photographer/musician Peter Demski to document woodworkers pursuing traditional forms, with a particular focus on former employees of Moosehead Furniture, once the largest furniture manufacturer in New England.

Additionally, project leaders will work with Maine College of Art and Design’s Salt Institute Documentary Studies program to organize gatherings of woodworkers to record participants’ experiences, craft processes, and stories, capturing a past way of life that continues to thrive in the present. These live anthropological studies and audio recordings will be the basis for future public programming at Monson Arts, including a potential traveling exhibit that will tour the Northern Forest region of New England.

Monson Arts was founded in 2018. Their mission is to provide time and space for creative work through residencies, workshops, and educational partnerships. monsonarts.org To learn more about all programs.

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