FARMINGTON — An anonymous and mysterious England-based street artist, political activist and international icon, Banksy and his work are the subject of the next New Commons Project events at the University of Maine at Farmington.

Selected by Time magazine for its 2010 list of the world’s 100 most influential people, and awarded Person of the Year at the 2014 Webby Awards, Banksy has baffled the world with his outlaw art. According to the Smithsonian magazine, his graffiti has shocked cities from Vienna to San Francisco, Barcelona to Paris and Detroit only to command hundreds of thousands of dollars in auction houses, according to a news reelase from April Mulherin, UMF associate director for media relations.

Since 1990, the graffiti master has circumvented the traditional pathways to artistic success advocating a direct connection with his audience. His work features striking, often humorous, images with anti-establishment messages. He maintains, according to the release, “This is the first time the essentially bourgeois world of art has belonged to the people. We need to make it count.”

UMF’s New Commons October events include explorations of Banksy’s work and their contemporary context, philosophy and impact on today’s world.

Events include:

• “Banksy in Context” at 11:45 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 3, on the second floor, UMF Mantor Library, 116 South St. Sarah Maline, UMF associate professor art history, explores the social, political, and artistic context of the radical graffiti of the mysterious Banksy.


• Screening of Film “Exit Through the Gift Shop,” will be screened at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 4, at the UMF Emery Community Arts Center on Academy Street. The 2010 Academy Award nominated documentary film was directed by Banksy about a French immigrant in the U.S. who becomes increasingly obsessed with street art.

The keynote event will feature Nick Tobier “Pardon the Interruption: Art as an Agent of Change in the Civic Sphere,” at 11:45 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 10, at UMF Emery Community Arts Center. Tobier, artist and professor in the School of Art & Design at the University of Michigan, will explains his unique artistic vision of being a participant-observer of street life and the social life of public places.

Water Bear Confabulum 2018 is set for Saturday, Oct. 27, throughout the day in downtown Farmington. The event is an annual alternative arts festival and series of events in Farmington that celebrate diverse artistic and community voices. This year’s installment includes art alleys in downtown Farmington, an art walk and a 5K trail run.

UMF’s New Commons Project is building a contemporary cultural commons of 24 works of art, literature and ideas that are submitted by members of the Maine community. Twelve will be shared this year through a number of unique events, public discussions, talks and community engagement projects. These 12 works have been selected from more than 150 submissions by community members from a dozen Maine counties and include, a critically acclaimed TV show, public art installations by an anonymous artist, a jazz elegy and more.

The New Commons Project is a public humanities initiative of the University of Maine at Farmington, Maine’s public liberal arts college, in partnership with the Maine Humanities Council. It is made possible by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

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