My work as a volunteer began when I seventeen. I helped the local chapter of the U.S. Jaycees with our high school project graduation fundraiser: a Halloween haunted house. From there, I joined the Jaycees and worked on other charitable events. In 1989 I began a three year stint of organizing the Old Hallowell Days Parade, and a few years later took on publicity for the UMA Mile of Art event and did that for two years running. After becoming a teacher, my work became more focused on the school community and left little or no time for anything outside of that.
I have always enjoyed organizing and volunteering, and living in a small town such as Lubec, there are more committees and needs than there are people available to do the tasks. Overwhelmed with my full-time teaching job, running a business, being an artist, and keeping self, family connections, and relationships healthy, I have had to say "no" more times than I like.
In January, Maine artist Natasha Mayers sent me an email about the UMVA (Union of Maine Visual Artists) and the possibility of "arting-up" a town. My excitement at the thought of Lubec as a possibility for this project put me right back into full-swing organizer mode. Before I had a chance to think logically about how much work this would require, I was deep into planning and networking. So here we are, five months later, with an incredible event being planned. What is different for me this time, though, is that I am not in charge of only one aspect of a proeject, but I am involved with all aspects of this one. I am increibly excited about the event this summer, and have decided to put a lot of things on hold in my life for the next couple months so that the project will be a success.
The basic idea is that a bunch of accomplished Maine artists will visit our town as "artists-in residence" for one week in August. Along with local community, we will paint a mural, sculpt, create installations, paint iconic images on signs, share artwork, feast, and enjoy the energy of a group of of artistic visionaries working together for a common cause.
This is most exciting for me because I get to work with artists whose work I admire: Natasha Mayers, Robert Shetterly, Karen Adrienne, Rose Marasco, Kenny Cole, Diane Dahlke, Barbara Sullivan, Alan Crichton, Richard Brown Lethem. What is doubly amazing is that the grant that was applied for to do this project is unlikely to happen as expected, and, these artists are, in the true spirit of artistic community, still coming to our town! I am so heartened by this.
So, we have town support and a super duper committee in Lubec that is organizing housing and food for the artists, publicity, schedules, and fundraising. We need donors and volunteers and the search is on! I have begun a blog dedicated solely to the Lubec Arts Alive 2009 event and will start updating that with solid information: who, what, when, where, how, etc. as the planning develops. I expect to have that information posted within two weeks, or most of it anyway! There is also an email address for folks to use if they have questions or ideas. So, if you are reading this blog, be sure to check-in and follow the Lubec Arts Alive 2009 blogsite as well.