AUGUSTA — Seven Maine artists from throughout the state are recipients of its $5,000 Maine Artist Fellowship Awards, according to a news release from the Maine Arts Commission. The Maine Arts Fellowships are annual, merit-based awards designed to recognize artistic excellence and to advance the careers of Maine artists. The awardees are selected by out-of-state expert panelists. In addition, the commission announced the 2019 participants in its Traditional Arts Apprenticeship program. This annual year-long, one-on-one program pairs masters and apprentices based on their experience and commitment to the traditional art form they practice, for the purpose of sustaining and passing these traditions down from one generation to the next.

The 2019 Maine Artist Fellowship recipients are:

• Diana Cherbuliez, of Vinalhaven, Visual Arts

Since moving to an island community off the coast of Maine, Cherbuliez has incorporated themes of isolation, access and physical and conceptual structure into her craft. The long winters, the constant of the tide and variable of the weather, and the intense and extreme physical beauty of Vinalhaven; it all appears in her work. Cherbuliez said she enjoys researching her projects, and working with collected and salvaged materials that stem from her respect for history, craftsmanship and conservation, according to the release.

• Lynn Duryea, of Deer Isle, Belvedere Handcraft (for a craft artist located in Hancock or Washington Counties, in partnership with the Maine Community Foundation).

Ever since Duryea set foot on Deer Isle, it has been an ongoing source of inspiration: the geography, the architecture, the harbors full of work boats, and the culture. She moved to Stonington in 1974, and has been living and operating a studio on the working waterfront. Through elemental shape and form, she uses architectural, structural and mechanical elements in a variety of scales. Duryea said she will soon embark on the creation of a body of work for Darkness and the Light, a curated group exhibition that will be installed at the Institute of Contemporary Art at the Maine College of Art during the summer of 2019, according to the release.


• Jennifer Lunden, of Portland , Literary Arts

In 1989 Lunden became ill. She was just 21 years old and she had just moved to Maine. Following 25 years of recovery, Lunden said she believes her identity as a dual citizen raised in Canada and living in the U.S. — disabled for many years by a controversial and misunderstood illness — offers her a unique perspective on some of the issues we face in America today. American Breakdown: Notes from an Industrialized Body, blends memoir, history, science and social criticism to reveal the health hazards of unfettered industrial capitalism. With the fellowship award, Lunden says she will spend the first three months of 2019 working on her book, carrying it through to completion, according to the release.

• Jan Owen, of Belfast, Craft Arts

Owen moved to Bangor in the late 1970s and worked as a graphic designer, calligraphe, and played string bass with the Bangor Symphony Orchestra. Soon thereafter she began making handmade books and panels. Her books are often created on textured, handmade paper or scrolls on translucent polyester, luring the viewer with color, pattern, texture or a brush mark. She resides in Belfast where she continues to work as a letter and book artist. In recent years, she has collaborated with Maine poets John Tagliabue, Wes McNair and Stuart Kestenbaum. In the summer of 2019, Owen plans to contribute work to the ‘Darkness and the Light’ exhibit at the Institute of Contemporary Art at the Maine College of Art, according to the release.

• Sarah Sockbeson, of Kingfield, Traditional Arts

While Sockbeson grew up living on and off of the Penobscot Indian Island Reservation, she always knew that she would one day pursue a career in the arts. Although she comes from a long line of basketweavers, she first had to seek out the knowledge and cultural heritage of the traditional art form. Sockbeson soon learned the intricacies of traditional ash and sweetgrass basketry. From picking the sweetgrass, to locating an ash tree with very specific qualities, to cutting, dying and weaving the materials, she takes part in every step of the process. With help from the Maine Indian Basketmakers Alliance, Sockbeson is now a master basketmaker who teaches apprentices to preserve the cultural heritage. She says she hopes to continue sharing her knowledge, vision, and voice for future generations, according to the release.


• Daniel Sonenberg, of Portland, Performing Arts

Composer Sonenberg appreciates the different styles and genres of music that have inspired him throughout his life. Fortunately, he says, the multiplicity that defines his art is more in vogue today, which is something that has helped him resolve what he calls a “musical split personality crisis.” Drawing from an eclectic array of musical genres, he composed The Summer King in 2014. The opera was first developed and presented in a concert performance in Portland, Maine. Three years later The Summer King was revised for a world premiere at the Pittsburg Opera. In the last several years, Sonenberg has written two operas and released two albums and an e.p. of rock music, as well as numerous other works of chamber music. Having lived in Portland Maine for 15 years, he says he sees a remarkable level of professional creative activity and is awe inspired by the work of his colleagues across the performing arts, according to the release.

• Thomas Willey, of Southwest Harbor, Media Arts

A lifetime resident of Southwest Harbor, Willey’s work has included camera operating in the Motion Picture and Television industry since 1990. While he has traveled the world over for many a grand film project, he says he really enjoys producing small documentaries that are of local importance. His current film projects include an interactive for the Schoodic Marine Center on the health of the Gulf of Maine, and a documentary, “The Calvineers Movie,” centered around a Maine teacher, his junior scientists, and a Right Whale named Calvin. Willey says the fellowship is “a most wonderful surprise,” and will allow him to update his well needed camera package for future projects, according to the release.

This year’s apprenticeship recipients are:

• Jawad Al Fatlawi, Master, Ghasssan Al Hamdany, apprentice. Support for apprenticeship in Middle Eastern Music.


• Brian Theriault, Master Snowshoe maker, Benjamin Latvis, apprentice. Support for crafting traditional Maine snowshoes.

• Atiya Haji & Khadija Ibrahim, Master basketmaker and textile arts, Malyn Negye and Halima Mohamed, apprentices. Support for Somali Bantu traditional arts.

• Thomas Cote, Master woodcarver, Kennedy Bancivenga, apprentice. Support for Acadian woodcarving.

• Jeffrey Allan Miller, Master blacksmith, Hannes Dale Moll, apprentice.

For more information about the Maine Arts Commission’s programs and services, visit or call 287-2724.

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