Boston and Maine Connection – Then and Now
Then and Now is both the title of the Topsham Library’s recent show of work by six Maine fiber artists as well as the title of this installment of the B&M Connection.
The show at the library’s Crooker Gallery was curated by Natasha Kempers- Cullen. This was the first time founding volunteer gallery coordinator Connie Bailey, selected an artist to both exhibit and curate the entire show. Being a founding member, partner or entrepreneur usually comes with a strong vision and sometimes difficult choice between “doing it your own way” and opening up to encompass the ideas and direction of others. I congratulate the Topsham Library and Connie for the long term vision and implementation of programming and the confidence to grow and experiment – as every great entrepreneurial endeavor must – in order to stay fresh and relevant.
Kempers-Cullen, brought together Susan Mills, Arlene Morris, Kathleen Bird, Kirsti Sandoy and Jill Vendituoli and encouraged each artist to explore and display their own early works and more recent pieces. Their show bios are an interesting discussion of motivation and growth in their medium of choice. From Jill Vendituoli’s observation that “the needle has long been a part of a woman’s work” and “escape from the mundane activities of daily life” to Arlene Morris’ willingness to following art where it takes you “trusting you shall discover something” each artist had a strong statement of worth, of exploration and the fearlessness of an entrepreneur to just put it out there for the world to see.
These thoughts fit well in keeping with my long standing business theme that Art Makes a Difference. Art humanizes business. It can often simplify a message and get straight to your soul. It is the modern marketing equivalent of “a call to action” just more deeply satisfying. In fact, with art, you don’t have to try to rise above the noise. You and your most important messages and endeavors can be found in a more friendly way; more human; less technological.
Implementation is the most important and powerful force for the success of any enterprise. I have consciously chosen to submit my photography to the Cryer because Charles Crosby is driven by his need for ever improving representation – of images – of stories – that make a difference to community. Then, way back in 1985, it started as a small one town newsy update. Color was like most other papers haphazard and sometimes muddled. Now, it has become a monthly compendium of activities and events in the Southern Maine Midcoast but the drive for better color, better centering of images and layout is what helps make it a success.
The Cryer champions high quality production from their vendor. This high standard supports the artist and showcases art in its best possible light. They have given over much space to telling community stories and by direct mailing much of the print run, they insure the stories are seen heard and acted upon rather than leaving it to a chance pick up from the overflowing stacks.
The same attention to community can be said of Jim Howard’s Priority Real Estate Group. Over the years, if you’ve been involved with non-profits, you’ve seen the generosity of PREG in its cash donations to area non-profits. Their long term community development philosophy matches their business development philosophy. They listen to the community, take action and give back to insure the least provided for, the hungry, the lonely, or homeless are watched out for and helped.
This is a time of great change in how people get information, gather together in community and communicate with one another. But despite all the technological advancements, most of us do best when we feel part of a community. The best businesses are those that recognize and honor these connections.