Performance Art Initiative (PAI)
PAI supports exposure, development, and exhibition opportunities for Maine-based contemporary performance artists. Founded by Patricia Brace and Bethany Engstrom, in consultation with artist Deborah Wing-Sproul, PAI is an artist-led collaborative effort that facilitates a deeper, more diverse dialogue of performance in contemporary Maine art. PAI’s goal is to create a community for artists while serving as a resource, providing opportunities for expansion and sharing of the medium through rich dialogue around performance-based work. PAI collaborates with both emerging and established artists with a focus on interdisciplinary and varied approaches to community engagement and outreach.
PAI’s 2024 public programming includes a performance art series, an exhibition of performance-based works, lectures and talks, and ongoing development of PAI’s website.
Bethany Engstrom, co-founder of PAI, is an artist, curator, and educator living and working in Belfast, Maine. Engstrom’s recent work utilizes objects, installation, audio, video, and performative actions, focusing on how these materials can express ideas of time, environment, labor/work, and motherhood. She has participated in residencies at the Volland Foundation, Vermont Studio Center, Hewnoaks Artist Colony, Ellis-Beauregard Foundation and Mildred’s Lane. Her work has been included in exhibitions at the Newport Art Museum, Collar Works, Speedwell Contemporary, Cove Street Arts, Center for Maine Contemporary Art, Waterfall Arts, and the University of Maine. She is an adjunct Assistant Professor in Intermedia at UMaine and a part time Lecturer in Visual Arts at the University of Maine Augusta. Formerly Associate Curator at the Center for Maine Contemporary Art, Engstrom also has an active independent curatorial practice.
Co-founder Patricia Brace is an interdisciplinary artist whose work addresses the relationship between intersectional feminism and the environment through her use of dance, technology and installation. Brace currently teaches at Maine College of Art and Design and has recently attended the Studios at MASS MoCA. She has exhibited at The Charles Danforth Gallery, University of Maine at Augusta, Center for Maine Contemporary Art, The Institute of Contemporary Art in Portland, Maine. Brace's work has also been shown at Gary Snyder Project Space and SOHO 20 in New York and Ortega Y Gasset Projects, Smack Mellon and Trestle Gallery in Brooklyn.
Cover image: Patricia Brace, Dance for Radio, 2022, MASS MoCA, Assets for Artists Residency, collaboration with A. P. Vague, photo credit Carolina Porras-Monroy, sculpture Sarah Oppenheimer S-334473, video