(PORTLAND, ME) SPACE Gallery is pleased to announce it has awarded a total of $68,500 to 15 independent, artist–organized, Maine-based projects for its 6th year administering the Kindling Fund. The 2019/2020 application process was the most competitive year for the Fund yet, with 84 eligible artist applications. The Kindling Fund is one of fourteen nationwide re-granting programs established by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.
This year’s grantees are Rachel Alexandrou; Vanessa Anspaugh with collaborators Allie James, Ryan MacDonald and Kristen Stake; Kim Bernard; Caitlin Cameron; Grant Corum; Alexandra Cuadros and Pendeja Studio; Darren Ranco with Jennie Hahn and Cory Tamler; Dan Hawkins; the Bare Portland performance company; Sarah Loftus with collaborator Michel Droge; Pamela A. Moulton with collaborators Chris Akerlind, Maxwell Burns, Alban Maino and Anne Williams; Thalassa Raasch with collaborator Dan Bouthot; Asata Radcliffe with collaborators Jordan Carey, Fred Greenhalgh, Reggie Hodges, Annabelle Richardson and Marco Soulo; Hillary Savage with collaborator Steph Richardson; and Sarah Sockbeson.
An outside panel of distinguished jurors selected the awarded projects from applications submitted from across the state of Maine. This year’s jurors were Leah Triplett Harrington, Assistant Curator at Now + There and Senior Editor of The Rib (Boston, MA); Daniel Quintanilla, Maine-based filmmaker, VR artist, and prior Kindling Fund grantee (2017, 2019); and Christina Vassallo, Executive & Artistic Director of SPACES (Cleveland, OH), where she administered The Satellite Fund, another re-granting program established by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. Vassalo was also recently hired to be the next Executive Director of the Fabric Workshop and Museum (FWM) in Philadelphia, effective January 2, 2020. The FWM has long ties to Maine with its late founder Marion (Kippy) Strouds famed invitation-only Acadia Summer Arts program (fondly called “Camp Kippy”). SPACE is proud to connect not only our grantees but the greater applicant pool with these distinguished jurors.
“SPACE is tremendously proud and excited to watch these projects take shape. Our sixth cohort of Kindling Fund grantees is reflective of the most pressing social issues facing us today, ” said Executive Director, Kelsey Halliday Johnson. “With the Maine Bicentennial, 2020 is a year to not only reflect back but consider new paths forward. From unsung Maine histories to the urgent environmental issues facing our landscape today, these artists will provide alternative fresh perspectives in a landmark year for our state.”
In 2019, The Kindling Fund embarked on two major projects: a five year capstone publication (12.7 MB publication online) to celebrate the first five years of grantees, as well as an initiative to partner directly with Wabanaki Nations and their creative communities. The Kindling Fund sponsored the Artist’s Choice Award at the Abbe Museum Indian Market in Bar Harbor, the first and largest Indigenous art fair of its kind in New England. SPACE attributes the record number of applications to the increased visibility provided by the archive publication, and are proud to announce that two prominent Wabanaki culture bearers, Sarah Sockbeson (artist and basket weaver) and Darren Ranco (Associate Professor of Anthropology and Coordinator of Native American Research at the University of Maine), are among these 2020 grantees.
This grant opportunity was established in 2015 by former Executive Director, Nat May, in response to the needs of individual artists across the state and the needs of Maine’s arts community at large. With a focus on risk and experimentation, successful Kindling Fund projects have championed unconventional engagement, critical dialogue, and collaboration. As part of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts’ Regional Re-granting Program, SPACE’s Kindling Fund is the first (and only) to be administered as a statewide program, playing a crucial role in the greater contemporary art ecology of Maine.
Last winter, the Warhol Foundation announced the reboot of the Baltimore branch of the Regional Regranting Program, and announced new regranters in Cleveland and Denver. “Informal experimental artistic practice comprises the majority of visual arts activity in this country, yet is often overlooked and lacks existing mechanisms for funding, which tend to favor high profile exhibitions at large institutions,” said Joel Wachs, President, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. “My goal is a program in 50 states. To do that we would need more money and partners in each state capable of administering that program.”
Kindling Fund 2020 Grantees
Lead Artist: Rachel Alexandrou (She)
Project summary: Foraged Feast is a series of performative, foraged meals. Through an open call process, three participating artists and one lead artist will work together to harvest, process and create three foraged feast pop-ups. The feasts will be offered free to the public and will feature visual art made by the artists inspired by the process of gathering local edible flora.
Funerals for the Ocean
Lead Artist: Vanessa Anspaugh (She/They)
Collaborators: Allie James, Ryan MacDonald, Kristen Stake
Project summary: Funerals for The Ocean is a participation, performance series inspired by climate activist happenings addressing the global climate crisis, rising sea levels and a rapidly dying oceanic ecosystem. Ritualistic gestures and choreographies of memorial and gratitude are intended to be felt and witnessed as we explore the material of salt; that which remains when ocean water evaporates. In Funerals for the Ocean, audience participants, alongside hidden plant performers are quietly guided to enact/perform a variety of carefully choreographed rituals intended to provide space and bodily gestures for grieving what we have lost while also paying homage to what has been.
Lead Artist: Kim Bernard (She)
Project summary: My project is to build four machines that will convert plastic waste into sculptural components using a shredder, injector, compressor and an extruder. All four components will be compact and portable allowing me to create upcycled plastic sculptural installations in schools, arts centers, neighborhood communities and public settings where the local community will (after being encouraged to collect plastic) deposit their plastic waste into one end and a new, malleable plastic would emerge from the other end. I would then, with the participation of the community, use the newly upcycled plastic (extruded and molded) to create on-location sculptural installations.
Lead Artist: Caitlin Cameron (She)
Project summary: Daily Path is an on-the-ground map installation and experimental guidebook to the city of Portland following a day in the life of residents who rely on walking as their primary mode of transportation. The project physically maps the paths of five diverse residents using painted lines throughout the city. These residents become your guides in a unique companion art book that uses their real, daily paths to reveal how car-free locals experience Portland.
Instagram: @cityfound, @dailypathportland
Ro-He-Ge & Psychic Sounds
Lead Artist: Grant Corum (He)
Project summary: Ro-He-Ge is a little bastion of experimental music, performance and film in rural Maine. The 170 year old structure named from Roweena, Heloise and Gertrude, three women who lived on the property in mid-20th century, has become the official East Coast headquarters of Psychic Sounds, a documentary music label founded originally in Portland, Oregon. Their community-based performance series aims at infusing national & international presentations into midcoast small town as to further diversify and stimulate Maine’s musical & artistic ecological flow.
Pendeja Studio: The Workshop Series
Lead Artist: Alexandra Cuadros (She) with Pendeja Studio
Project summary: Pendeja Studio is a multidisciplinary creative alliance whose mission is to facilitate representation for first-generation immigrants, black & brown people, & underrepresented & underserved communities. We accomplish this by using our platform to support & create space for their expression, & invite artists from the community to practice & showcase their skills & talents as official collaborators.
Instagram: @pendeja.studio, @thiccpendeja
In Kinship Archives & Performance Fellowship
Lead Artist: Darren Ranco (He)
Collaborators: Jennie Hahn, Cory Tamler
Project summary: What possibilities emerge when we look at social repair and environmental care as public, creative acts? We are seeking funding to support a transdisciplinary performance resulting from a year of cross-discipline research and dialogue. Following the tradition of Wabanaki Guiding, the In Kinship Archives & Performance Fellowship connects Native and non-Native people to place through experience, language, and story. Over the course of a year, four In Kinship Fellows along with fellowship co-creators and guides, are collaborating to create a participatory performance work that addresses ecological recovery and social justice.
Lead Artist: Dan Hawkins (He)
Project summary: Maine has the highest percentage of second homes of any state in the US, with over 5 times the national average. Its 5,000 miles of coastline attracts 36 million visitors each year. There are 97 towns bordering the Atlantic Ocean in Maine. As fisheries and industries migrate, many of these towns have ceded their waterfronts to tourism-based development, and the coastline of Maine has become more and more unaffordable for Mainers. Those who do own waterfront property often live elsewhere, spending a few weeks each year in Maine; the coastline has become a ghost line.
[Storage]: An Installation + Performance Experiment
Grantee: Bare Portland company
Company members and collaborators: Dana Hopkins (she), Catherine Buxton, Christina W. Richardson, Dana Hopkins, Douglas W. Milliken, James Patefield, Kate Hunter, Kerry Anderson, Marissa Sophia Schneiderman, Sokvonny Chhouk, Tarra Bouchard, et al.
Project summary: [Storage] is an interactive performance/installation created by a team of artists working across identity and medium to tell a story of an abandoned storage unit and Portland’s changing socioeconomic landscape.
Site-specific performance collaborative Bare Portland scoured local auctions before acquiring The Unit, piled high with items someone stowed away. Our year-long process is informed by The Unit’s contents and stakeholders in the self-storage industry. The culminating public performance/installation will engage community members in an ethnography of stuff: a story of place and displacement.
Farm Tools Project
Lead Artist: Sarah Loftus (She)
Collaborators: Michel Droge
Project summary: The project engages Maine farmers in a visual exploration of the use of hand tools on small farms working outside of industrial agriculture and the exchanges that take place between farmers and the land. We’re traveling around the state with a portable, hand-built cyanotype kit (an old form of non-toxic photography relying on water and sunlight) and creating images with people in their fields, barns, and greenhouses and talking with farmers about their practices, the significance of the tools they choose to use, and how they engage with the earth to produce and harvest food.
Instagram: @potpiechimichanga, @michel.droge
The Forest: An interactive multi-sensory environment in a retirement community
Lead Artist: Pamela A. Moulton (She)
Collaborators: Chris Akerlind, Maxwell Burns, Alban Maino, Anne Williams
Project summary: “The Forest” is the creation of the first multi-sensory immersive environment based in a retirement community. Pamela Moulton and her multi-disciplinary team, will develop this fanciful forest installation. Pamela will lead a series of intergenerational workshops where College and High School students partnered with Elders from the Cedars will create elements for the sense-driven installation. Casco Bay HS students in tandem with elders will create a multi-sensory environment in their school, during a one week intensive. The Project will culminate with a yarn-bombing at both the Cedars and CBHS. The Cedars will welcome other retirement communities to visit “The Forest.”
Monson Telephone Co.
Lead Artist: Thalassa Raasch (She)
Collaborators: Dan Bouthot
Project summary: Monson Telephone Co. recreates a telephone booth that previously existed outside of the former “Appalachian Station” building. The booth showcases short stories and audio compositions featuring different aspects of life in Monson, Maine. Capturing the town at a moment of great change, this storytelling project gathers the recollections of lifelong residents alongside the impressions of newcomers. At any time of day or night, visitors are welcome to dial codes to access the different vignettes. New collections of curated audio are regularly introduced to the booth. Stories are archived, alongside additional visual materials, on a website.
Black Guards Living Installation
Lead Artist: Asata Radcliffe (She)
Collaborators: Jordan Carey, Fred Greenhalgh, Reggie Hodges, Annabelle Richardson, Marco Soulo
Project summary: This installation is a replicated representation of how the Black Guards lived while stationed along the railways of Maine during WWII. Visitors of the installation can enter a historic boxcar set with personal and historical military objects that tell the story of these Black army soldiers that protected the railways of Maine.
Lead Artist: Hillary Savage (She)
Collaborators: Steph Richardson
Project summary: Banditry Press is a letterpress printshop under development on Vinalhaven island. Kindling Fund resources would assist in the shop build-out, restoration of the 1920’s letterpress and a residency wherein artists/activists working on the front-lines of resistance movements would be invited to the island for nourishment and regeneration. We will print posters, signs and pamphlets that will be carried back for use in direct actions for social change alongside printworks for local community engagement. The paradox of the island’s isolation is fertile ground for mutual exchange and can tether both needs: empowering a rural voice and providing retreat for front-line activists.
At the Intersection of Tradition and Innovation
Lead Artist: Sarah Sockbeson (She)
Project summary: To create a series of 2-3 pieces with the intention of pushing the boundaries of what is considered “a basket”. Utilizing a foundation of culturally traditional techniques, I aspire to infuse new elements, materials & innovations to create a contemporary amalgamation, what I’d refer to as “modern-traditional Native art.” With primary focuses on sustainability and pushing the boundaries, I’ll reexamine and incorporate materials that are outside of the box, overlooked, or discarded. My hope is to create new and exciting works; to challenge or dispell narrow definitions/ perceptions/ labeling of Native American art; and present works in new contexts.