The Joseph A. Fiore Art Center in Jefferson will host its first-ever gallery exhibit beginning Saturday, featuring the works of 16 artists who live or spend summers in Maine.

All 16 artists were invited to be guests at the art center’s 2016 artist residency program, farm-to-table dinners and studio visits.

“(Last year) was a very exciting first step for our artist residency program at Rolling Acres Farm,” said co-director David Dewey, a watercolorist, in a news release. “Having distinguished artists join us for weekly studio visits and delightful farm-to-table dinners was a valuable experience for our artists-in-residence as well as an important contribution to the residency program.”

Dewey said the gallery exhibit was a natural outcome as the conversations begun in the studio turned into lively discussions around the table on art, agriculture, the relationship between humans and the environment and how art can be a voice for awareness.

The Fiore Art Center — a program of the Maine Farmland Trust — aims to attract artists for whom the relationship between human and environment is an important element in their work.

“At the art center, we hope to cultivate the cross-pollination of different creative disciplines, including farming and gardening, the visual arts, writing and research, all weaving together to inform the continually evolving dialogue between human and environment,” said Anna Witholt Abaldo, the gallery curator and co-director of the Fiore Art Center.

One of the featured artists is Kimberly Callas, a sculpture professor at Monmouth University in New Jersey. Her piece, called “Honey-Eyed,” is a 3-D-printed, digitally created mask made from a corn-based plastic, coated with yellow and black iron oxide pigments in a solution of acrylic and beeswax.

She said she wanted to explore working in 3-D printing because it’s a growing medium in the arts, sciences and construction.

“Creating masks gives me a way to integrate patterns of nature with the human form,” Callas said in the release. “Sometimes when you speak behind a mask, you can speak more truthfully and open up that ecological voice.”

In contrast to Callas’ work is a small landscape by Lois Dodd called “Will’s Cabin.” Dewey said it’s a modest piece that shows the little white building artist Will Barnet would stay in when he’d come to be with his daughter at the Rock Gardens Inn near Bath. Dewey said he chose the piece because it “marks the long relationship between the artist and Barnet.” They became close friends while Dodd was a students of Barnet’s in New York City.

Other featured artists include Richard Abbott, Sam Cady, Lois Dodd, Nancy Glassman, Cynthia Hyde, Frances Hynes, Jim Kinnealey, Dennis Pinette, Carol Rowan, Susan Stephenson, Susan Van Campen, Tim Van Campen, Mary Jean Viano Crowe and Patricia Wheeler.

Abaldo said the residency is a special opportunity for any artist to step back from the hustle and bustle of life and escape into their own world.

“Whether a week or a month or more, (a residency) is like a gift of time and space to be freely creative, away from the demands of daily life, yet in a container created specifically to foster creativity, focus, experimentation and the exchange of ideas,” she said. “Where in our fast-paced culture would we ever find such time otherwise?”

A residency, she said, also allows artists time to recharge and develop their artwork with a clear mind. Abaldo said it can be a period of critical artistic growth from which both the artist and the public can benefit.

The exhibit aligns with the overall mission of the center to represent excellence in ideas and creative vision and to demonstrate that creativity can be a significant voice for environmental awareness.

“If visitors leave having their own internal conversation sparked in regards to their relationship to place, food and environment, and possibly what creativity they can bring to this important dialogue,” she said, “then we have met our goal.”

The Gallery at Rolling Acres, on 152 Punk Point Road, will host the exhibit, called “Conversations: Studio and Table.” It will be open through Sept. 4 on Saturdays from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. or by appointment, and there will be open studio days the last Saturday of July and August.

Jason Pafundi — 621-5663

[email protected]

Twitter: @jasonpafundiKJ

 

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