WATERVILLE — Two interactive events centered around community-engaging art projects are scheduled in the coming weeks, as part of an effort by Colby College and the Lunder Institute to make the arts more accessible.

For Jacqueline Terrassa, director of the Colby College Museum of Art, the events are the culmination of much planning and work at the Waterville college to make the processes behind art more visible and transparent.

“It feels great because one of the things that it allows us to do is to humanize artists and make concrete the way in which artists work, because they can be visible and they can be interacting with people,” Terrassa said.

Two of the inaugural class of resident fellows at the Lunder Institute — Jose Barrionuevo and Adriane Herman — will host interactive community art events in the coming weeks.

Barrionuevo is scheduled to host a live performance and listening party of his new album at 7 p.m. Friday at the Colby College’s Arts Collaborative located at 18 Main St.

Herman is set to host an interactive “Emotional Value Auction” at noon on Friday, July 31, at the Colby College Museum of Art.

Barrionuevo, also known by his stage name, Killer Bee, released his latest album, “Blood from a Stone,” earlier this month. The album is in some ways a continuation of his past work, but takes a more reflective tone, Barrionuevo said.

Electronic music artist Jose Barrionuevo is shown Monday with instruments he uses in his laboratory at the Colby Arts Collaborative building at 18 Main St. in Waterville. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

Much of the work on the album was done in 2020, and frustrations of the COVID-19 pandemic are reflected in the album’s themes, he said.

“Usually, I make all my music, and then I sit down and try to analyze what I made, and it always has purpose. There’s always intent,” he said. “But for me this time, it was the opposite: Trying to reflect, write down my thoughts and see how all these different issues have affected me throughout my life.”

A graduate of Colby College, Barrionuevo said he has enjoyed the opportunity to return to Waterville through the fellowship, and the space at the Arts Collaborative has been a new experience that has influenced his work.

Electronic music artist Jose Barrionuevo plays the electric guitar Monday in his laboratory at the Colby Arts Collaborative building at 18 Main St. in Waterville. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

“I didn’t really know what it would look like, but it’s really been such a positive experience, seeing how much downtown has changed and is currently changing,” Barrionuevo said.

In addition to impacting his newly released album, the location has inspired his next work, as he has begun a sound installation he hopes to unveil at the end of the summer. The work would map out the Arts Collaborative building, and what he imagines it will be like in the future — students studying and hanging out, artists talking and more.

Barrionuevo has also had an impact on the physical space, Terrassa said, by helping adjust it to be more beneficial to future artists and fellows.

“These are our first (fellows), so we invited them with a notion of learning from them,” Terrassa said. “And so (Barrionuevo) has also been advising us on how to further equip this space in ways that might support future sound artists.”

Artist Adriane Herman sets up the sign she used to market the upcoming event at Colby called “Witness the Power of Witnessing.” Photo courtesy of Adriane Herman

Herman is scheduled to host her “Emotional Value Auction” a week after Barrionuevo’s event. It will be the fourth time Herman has hosted an event like this, and the concept is centered around giving important items a new life.

The process begins before the event even starts. People can contact Herman about providing an item that is important to them that they are ready to give away, but are struggling to do so.

Think of a knickknack given by a family member that is collecting dust or a book given by an old or former friend. Something you do not need but that still has sentimental value that makes it hard to throw it away.

“I think there’s this flow that happens where objects come into our lives. Sometimes they’re useful, but sometimes they sit. They might get stuck,” Herman said. “I know I personally experienced that I have a hard time letting things go.”

So participants send such items to Herman, along with a written statement about the item and why it still has emotional weight.

A previous Emotional Value Auction by artist Adriane Herman. Photo courtesy of Adriane Herman

Herman will then display them at the event, with the statement, and attendees will place “bids,” writing why they want items and what they would do with them. The donors then choose whichever bid they feel is best, and that person takes the item.

The idea for the auction came in 2017, at Herman’s local transfer station. She noticed a certain woodpile and how it would shrink and grow as people brought stuff and others took things away.

She saw how people seemed lighter after leaving stuff there, and it encouraged her to bring more of her own items to the station. She wanted to push that idea further, and eventually the idea of the auction came to her.

More than that, Herman said, it is about the vulnerability of admitting that letting go of something is hard — but doing it anyway.

“Because I know if I admit to someone, ‘This is hard,’ I find myself kind of able to do it the next day, which is interesting,” she said. “I’m not exactly sure what that is.”

To provide an item for the event, email [email protected] with a picture of the item and a statement about why you are releasing it.

Items can then be brought to the Colby College Museum of Art, or other arrangements can be made by email.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.