Brian Smith is a visual artist sculpting queer approaches to ecology. He has shown in a growing list of national, and select international art sites. He was raised in Vermont, got a BFA from Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston, and later his Masters from Maine College of Art & Design, next door to SPACE. He now feels rooted to the Maine rocky coastline after making this place his home.
Smith has a robust studio practice in Westbrook, where he works in metal, foam, wood, epoxies, and photography/photographs. His work hybridizes sculpture and image in an ever-evolving quest for the perfect marriage of the two. It’s an exciting challenge!
Michael Cormier-O’Leary is a tireless collaborator. As drummer for the Philadelphia-based alt-country band Friendship, for luminary guitarist/songwriter/improviser Wendy Einsenberg, and for the mystifying indie musician Abi Reimold, he has played many hundreds of shows since 2009 and has criss-crossed the country extensively. He is a multi-instrumentalist who releases song music under his name (most recently 2021’s More Light!!) and is the primary composer/bandleader for the instrumental collective Hour. Founder of Dear Life Records, Cormier-O’Leary has shown a commitment to championing music by indescribable songwriters, experimentalists and improvisers. The current roster includes Kath Bloom, Karl Blau, Nat Baldwin, Joanna Mattrey, Natalie Jane Hill, MJ Lenderman and more. He lives in Biddeford with his wife, dog, and cat.
Bobby is an English Language Learner (ELL) teacher in the Portland area. He is the sound engineer for Community Voices for Change, a talk show hosted at WMPG every Thursday night from 7:30 – 8:00 PM focusing on progressive voices in the community. He is also DJ BC at WMPG and hosts Joynoise every Sunday night from 7 – 9 PM, where he plays mixes of electronic and indie music (think Burial, Angelica Garcia, and Sufjan Stevens). He collects vinyl, dabbles in film photography, strives to see more live shows, loves meeting new people, and needs to walk his dogs more often.
Sampson Spadafore (he/they) is a white, queer, gay, nonbinary trans man currently living on settled Wabanaki tribal land known as Portland, Maine. They are a consent and violence prevention educator and are a trained theatre artist with a BFA in Musical Theatre from Nazareth College of Rochester. He also identifies as a poet and writer where he centers his trans and queer experience while unpacking his mental health journey. Sampson focuses his activism on trans and queer rights at the intersections of other oppressed identities and continues to deepen their own learning about layered intersections of anti-racism and decolonization while incorporating that into all areas of their work. They’re a leading organizer with Maine Renters United. He also serves as an at-large member of the MaineTransNet steering committee.
Peter’s first night in Portland, back in October 2006, was spent at SPACE, where Wolf Eyes melted his face and destroyed his ears. He remarkably still had enough hearing to join the event staff as a sound engineer in August 2010. He joined the staff upstairs in the office as music programmer in 2014. As a drummer, he has played more than 600 shows across North America, Europe, and Asia over the the past decade, with bands such as Family Planning, Mehetable, Woodpainting, Villages of Spaces, Names Divine, Ora Cogan, Lina Tullgren, Jacob Augustine, Lisa/Liza, Lady Lamb, The Casco Bay Tummlers, and many more. He runs a small record label, Pretty Purgatory. His favorite color is purple.
Jocelyn Leighton is a queer human who uses she/they pronouns. As an INFJ, she uses her intuitive and feeling powers as a way to intrinsically navigate the world. Originally from Downeast Maine, land belonging to the Passamaquoddy Tribe, Jocelyn loves to travel and has been to many different places that have stirred her soul. Jocelyn received her B.A. in Art and Humanities from the University of Southern Maine, and her M.A. in Gender and Cultural Studies from Simmons University in Boston, Massachusetts. They are an artist, performer, and writer. Jocelyn wrote and performed a piece titled The Unkindest Cut which was in PortFringe 2019 and they author/manage the website Getting to Know Jane Doe. Jocelyn also serves on the South Portland City Council, representing District 1, and raises awareness and advocates for changes in policy that enhances social justice issues, particularly race and gender equality. She lives in South Portland with her partner Connor and their fur babies Quila (doggo), and Meri and Pippen (kitties).
Kelsey Halliday Johnson (she/they) is an organizational strategist, eco-feminist, and artist from Philadelphia, living in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. Prior to SPACE, Johnson worked as a museum curator, performance and live art coordinator, archaeological ceramic collection specialist, community radio DJ/Music Director, art collective member, art publishing intern, and instructor at the University of Pennsylvania and Interlochen Center for the Arts. She is a graduate of Princeton University, the University of Pennsylvania, and Wesleyan University.
Johnson’s research has included the aesthetics and rhetoric of fascism, the intersection of art and technology, and the body as a political instrument in performance. The care, spirit, and values in her work are modeled after the inspiring academic mentors she hopes to honor: Terry Adkins, Matt Freedman, Sam Miller, and Emmet Gowin. Her 2016-2017 multi-site independent curatorial project Making/Breaking the Binary: Women, Art & Technology (1968-85) garnered support from the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage and activated ten organizations throughout the Philadelphia region to explore women-identifying artists ahead of the personal computing age. Some thoughts by Kelsey on the future of the art field can be found in the Common Field “Field Perspectives 2019” with Title Magazine.
When not reading books or getting outside, Kelsey is passionate about volunteering for queer and reproductive justice, in addition to serving on the Executive Committee of Sierra Club Maine, the Collections Committee of the Portland Museum of Art, and the Cultural Steering Committee for the City of Portland. She actively identifies as an ambivert and is an avid gardener.
Jonathan is a musician, artist, parent, punk, friend, and lifelong Mainer. They love creating and collecting equally, with an ever growing hard drive full of beats and a basement full of toys and instruments. Jonathan has spent the last several years at Bomb Diggity Arts, collaborating with disabled artists on gallery art, short film, music, animation, puppetry, and cable access television. Prior to that they ran an adorable karaoke night, created a podcast for Archie Comics, and played in an award winning children’s music band. Their hero is Pippi Longstocking and their favorite thing is Christmas.
Carolyn Wachnicki is a habitual non-profit employee that also identifies as a graphic designer, painter, athlete, music aficionado, documentary photographer, educator, and now, exhibition coordinator. Carolyn comes to SPACE from The Long Now Foundation, an organization in San Francisco established to inspire long-term thinking.
New to Portland, but not New England, Carolyn was raised in the Mount Washington Valley. There, amongst people that wore many hats (literally and figuratively), she learned early the virtues of being a generalist. This led her to study liberal arts at Wesleyan University with the intention of also playing Division III ice hockey. However, she quickly traded in her goalie gear for a paintbrush and double-majored in Studio Arts and Art History (with an unofficial minor in community radio–WESU 88.1FM).
After college Carolyn set out on her hero’s journey, stomping the trails as AMC ‘hut croo’ before heading to NYC for a curatorial internship at the Whitney’s Altria Space (RIP–’the corporation giveth and taketh away’). After putting in her 10,000 hours on freelance exhibition and collateral design, Carolyn joined the New Museum as their first female in-house graphic designer. The New Museum’s proximity to the lower east side inspired her to moonlight as a documentary concert photographer (note: she did not sleep much those years).
Carolyn climbed out of her creative rabbit hole briefly to work as a packaging designer for beverage companies and as an album art print production specialist for record labels (whilst slowly migrating west to California). After taking a brief sabbatical to write and illustrate a children’s book (Olin The Greyhound), Carolyn rejoined the non-profit world at the Museum of Sonoma County–just in time to celebrate the 40th year anniversary of Christo & Jeanne Claude’s Running Fence.
Carolyn‘s curatorial interests at present are found at the intersection of monuments, sites, and memories. She is particularly drawn to work that activates historic spaces and landscapes in new and transformative ways.
Elisabeth Fuchsia (she/her or they/them) is an artist in search of a medium, currently working primarily in photography, metals, and fiber on usually small but sometimes installation-size scale. She has close artistic ties to music festivals The Thing in the Spring (Peterborough, NH) and Cropped Out (Louisville, KY) and drag collective Switch ‘n’ Play (Brooklyn, NY). Also a classically-trained violinist and violist, she frequently performs as part of a revolving lineup in Footings (Peterborough, NH) and with Mehetable (Portland, ME), in addition to session/arranging work and continuously adding to her own collection of perpetually-unfinished ambient and not-so-ambient sounds. Aside from working at SPACE events, she is a tax advisor with Brass Taxes, working primarily with freelancers, artists, and other nice people, so you won’t see too much of her between February and April.
Quinn Farwell is a musician, electrical engineer, and sound engineer born and raised in Maine. They spend their free time taking pictures of their cat and plays drums, guitar, or bass between 6 bands or so.
Julia Whyel is an archivist, media producer and visual artist. She came to Portland, Maine for a three month detour and ten years later, here she still is. Julia oversees digital and print archival management, exhibition installation, the SPACE internship program, in-house production and serves as the staff-board liason. Julia is a Salt Institute alum, she holds a BA in Media Studies from University of Southern Maine and an MA in Museum Studies from Johns Hopkins University. She loves Christmas slightly more than Jonathan does.