Julia Muzyka sits on the couch at Craft Brew Underground beneath some of her artwork. Muzyka’s work is being featured at CBU through the end of February. Nicole Mannix photo

AUBURN — Through the month of February, Craft Brew Underground will feature the artwork of Maine native Julia Muzyka. This is the first show of a new series of featured artists called Art & Brew at CBU.

With the assistance and support of CBU owner Mike Williams, as well as local artists and curators of the new series, Corey DuFour and Angie Lafrance, Muzyka was able to help them organize the event in a way that would be safe for the public to enjoy original artwork up-close and personal.

Pictured from left are ‘Silver Lining,’ ‘Soul Symmetry’ and ‘Fierce Yet Fragile,’ works from one of Muzyka’s three-piece series. Nicole Mannix photo

Muzyka’s work is inspired by music, nature and existential thinking. She creates original images, turning her creativity into abstract pieces that capture the eye with bold and bright designs using a variety of mediums, from acrylic paint to pipe cleaners. Her artistic endeavors, which really took hold when she was about 17, led to her founding Julia Hope Artworks in 2012.

Curators DuFour and Lafrance were instrumental in assisting Muzyka with the organization and hanging of the 49 pieces Williams’ establishment could accommodate, all of which were created between 2009 and 2020.

DuFour, co-owner of Kimball Street Studios in Lewiston, said of Muzyka’s display at CBU that he has “infinite gratitude to Mike (Williams) for his continued support of the arts, providing a venue for local artists to display their work during these challenging times, and to Jules for sharing her prolific creative brilliance. The vibrancy of her work contrasted by the brick and stone backdrop is absolutely fantastic.”

‘Two For One Special,’ mixed mediums on canvas. Nicole Mannix photo

‘Pinky’s Brain,’ acrylic and ink on canvas. Nicole Mannix photo

‘Dizzy in the Head,’ acrylic and ink on canvas. Nicole Mannix photo

Artist and illustrator Lafrance of Lewiston strongly echoes DuFour’s sentiments, saying, “Jules is such a prolific artist with an impressive body of work. Her vibrant collection was a perfect contrast to these darker winter months. You can’t help but feel the good energy radiating from each piece, much like it radiates from Jules herself.”

Lafrance further emphasized the impact of being able to expose folks to the many creative offerings of artists in their community. “This past year has been difficult for our art community without the events we usually count on to show and sell work, so Corey (DuFour) and I have been working to help organize exposure for local artists in any way we can. We’re so grateful to Mike Williams for his support and for working with us to bring local art into his warm and welcoming space on a regular basis,” she said.

Williams, who opened his doors in winter of 2018, has been a consistently staunch supporter of local artists and participated in every L/A Art Walk held in 2018 and 2019, prior to cancellation due to the pandemic. He continues striving to provide a place for folks in the community to safely enjoy the creativity and beauty local artists have to offer.

Paula Drouin and Jay Raper of Auburn attended the recent opening, spending time talking with Muzyka about her inspirations for different works. “Jay and I support local artists because their work brings so much uniqueness and positive energy into our community. I learned at Julia’s show that in addition to being bright, bold, and beautiful, each of her pieces has a story. I find that fascinating,” said Drouin.

‘Attayah’s Ribbon,’ acrylic and ink on canvas. Nicole Mannix photo

‘The Spiritual Search for the Setting Sun,’ acrylic on canvas. Nicole Mannix photo

‘Shiny, Happy People,’ acrylic and ink on canvas. Nicole Mannix photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

Williams remains open to new ideas for future showings, and he and Muzyka have also discussed the possibility of her holding Paint Nights sometime in the future. Muzyka’s approach to such events is a bit different than many others.

“I want my students to tap into their own creativity,” Muzyka said. “We all have creativity inside us, we just need to learn to access it. I feel that my approach for these kinds of events helps people discover that they are creative, whether they realize it or not, they can create something beautiful and unique for themselves, I hope that they take that confidence home with them after my class and implement it. I never thought of myself as an artist until I actually started painting. It’s a great way to help yourself through hard times, as well as discover potential in yourself you didn’t know you had!”

Muzyka resides in Lewiston with her husband Zak and their two dogs. Her other hobbies include reading, film, enjoying the outdoors, attending concerts, expanding her music collection and cooking. For more information about Muzyka, her art and upcoming events, email her at [email protected] People can also check out her Facebook page, Julia Hope Artworks.

For more information on Lafrance, visit ramblerow.com. For more information on DuFour, visit kimballstreetstudios.net or stop by the studio at 191 Lisbon St., Lewiston. People interested in collaborating with DuFour and Lafrance to feature work at a future Art & Brew at CBU show may contact them by emailing [email protected]

CBU is located at 34 Court St., Auburn, and current hours of operation are from 4 to 9 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays until further notice. Masks are required for entry. For more information, visit their Facebook page or call 207-241-8520.

Julia Muzyka marvels at the 50-plus pieces she brought to choose from for her February showing at Craft Brew Undergound. Of them all, Muzyka and fellow local artists and Art & Brew CBU curators Corey DuFour and Angie Lafrance (not pictured) managed to hang up 49 throughout the establishment. DuFour and Lafrance are working with CBU owner Mike Williams to continue with the Art & Brew installations. Muzyka is the first artist to be featured in this new, ongoing series that DuFour, Lafrance and Williams are working on. Angie Lafrance photo


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