Showing posts with label Art. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Art. Show all posts

Monday, February 18, 2013

In Bangor, Maine the Library is Much More than Books

© Copyright Gail J. VanWart 2013  All rights Reserved
Bangor Public Library, 145 Harlow Street, Bangor, Maine 

Since the days of its humble beginnings in 1830 as the Bangor Mechanics Association, with a collection of just seven books stored in a footlocker, the Bangor Public Library has served its community as a place of learning and sharing, not only in the form of books, but also in the form of exhibits, lectures, workshops, and social gatherings.
Bangor Public Library, Bangor,  Maine
The Bangor Public Library
displays art and artifacts from both
the past and the present.

Gardens, Grounds, and Children Exhibit by Debbie Story Alexander
Gardens, Grounds, and Children
Exhibit by Debbie Story Alexander
February 2013  at
the Bangor Public Library
I have known this library since I was a child, but even to this day I feel small climbing its massive stone steps and entering through its immense oak doorway that leads the way to a wealth of knowledge—vast knowledge I can merely sample portions of over my entire lifetime. I love this place!
I love the Bangor Public Library even more when its exhibits, lectures, book signings, and other events pay tribute to people I know in the area. With that being said, I’d like to introduce you to Debbie Story Alexander. Over the years we have been both colleagues at EMHS and friends, so I am delighted the Bangor Public Library recognizes her talent as an artist. Her acrylic paintings are presently part of the library’s many exhibits. You’ll find her work on display in the Stairwell Gallery. Other local Maine artists with works on display are Peg Hanson in the Stairwell Gallery Display Case and members of the Bangor Art Society in the Lecture Hall.
Pictures are worth a thousand words, so I’ll scatter some images of Debbie’s paintings throughout the rest of this blog, which will focus on the rekindled passion Debbie has for creating them. Her own words and works of art tell her story best.
Maine Artist
Debbie Story Alexander, Artist
I am not sure if I have always had the good fortune to be surrounded by very talented people or if I just recognize that all people have talent, they just don't always know it or show it.

A family friend used to have me scribble on a piece of paper and he would add some scribbles of his own and turn my little scribble into a cartoon character or scene. Each little scribble can be the start of an amazing painting and each person scribbling has the potential to be an artist.
Painting by Debbie Story Alexander, Maine Artist 
I did some drawing in high school art classes under Christopher Pike. After high school I didn't draw very much. I had three children and worked full time so there was no time left for drawing or painting.”

After Debbie’s marriage of twenty-seven years unfortunately ended in divorce in 2007, and with her children grown, she found she had time on her hands and needed something to do. Watching her sister, Linda Story Kam, paint made her realize it was something she missed. With the encouragement of her best friend (and current husband) she purchased supplies and took some art classes offered through Bangor and Hampden Adult Education programs.

Painting by Debbie Story Alexander, Maine ArtistShe also credits her husband, Joe, for lending a critical eye and advice, as well as his moral support. “If I’m in the middle of a painting and can’t get the color just right, I get input from Joe. He is very good with color. I have tried to encourage him to paint, as well, but have not succeeded, yet. We do watch Bob Ross painting shows together.”

Painting by Debbie Story Alexander, Maine ArtistNow that she’s back into the swing of it, she is dedicated to her art. Debbie says, “I paint almost every day. I am inspired by my grandchildren, gardens, nature, and architecture.” You can clearly see that in her work.

If you are in or near Bangor, Maine, it’s worth a trip to Harlow Street to check out what is happening at the Bangor Public Library. You are sure to run into much more than a collection of books. Debbie Story Alexander’s exhibit, Gardens, Grounds, and Children, will be displayed at the library through the end of February. Her work is also currently on display in the cafeteria at Eastern Maine Medical Center on State Street, also in Bangor.

Gardens, Grounds, and Children Exhibit at Bangor Public Library, Maine
Paintings by Debbie Story Alexander, Maine Artist
Stairwell Gallery Lobby, Bangor Public Library
145 Harlow Street, Bangor, Maine 

Note:  A Commemorative History of the Bangor Public Library
Seven Books in a Footlocker, is offered for sale at the library’s circulation desk.

© Copyright Gail J. VanWart 2013  All Rights Reserved

Gail J. VanWart is a regular contributor to theSCENE:
a publication of Courier Publications LLC in Rockland, Maine with distribution in Waldo and Lincoln Counties

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Place of the Rocks

© Copyright 2012 Gail J. VanWart all Rights Reserved
Penobscot means "the place of the white shining rocks".

I can't tell you how many times I have passed by this place in the course of a routine day. It's the "place of the white shining rocks" situated conveniently by the on and off ramps of  I-395 on South Main Street in Brewer, Maine. At first glance, it seems like there are simply three huge rocks strategically placed in a rest area. A second glance will bring the realization there’s artwork carved on the front of the tallest center rock. But, as with most things, you really do have to take a minute to stop in order to appreciate everything you will never see just driving by. 

©Copyright 2012 Gail J. VanWart All Rights Reserved©Copyright 2012 Gail J. VanWart All Rights Reserved©Copyright 2012 Gail J. VanWart All Rights Reserved

A sign by the rocks, I had never read before, told me the story of why “the place of the rocks” exists. While discovering the artwork cleverly crafted on the other sides of the rocks not visible from the road, I also walked on bricks manufactured in Brewer a long time ago and artfully laid between the rocks in a pattern representing continuity. Since my husband’s grandfather, Bruce VanWart, had worked in a Brewer brickyard, I was touching a bit of family history at “the place of the rocks” as well. An old Bangor Daily News clipping (below) of an article by Lawrence Carroll Allin, published on October 21, 1987, tells the Brewer brick story extremely well. The reason we have the article today is because my mother-in-law spied Bruce VanWart in the1939 photo that accompanied it and she passed it on to my husband with an arrow pointing out his grandfather, a man he’d never met.

All in all, I decided this little rest area is a beautiful place on the Penobscot River bank to stop, whether you're traveling though the area or a local, like me, taking a moment to embrace the local scenery. I'm sure I'll stop here again to enjoy the tranquil beauty of the river and the pictorial story sculpted in the monumental Maine bluestone rocks of it's natural resources and haunting image of Penobscot Indian Princess Molly, all created by Carole Hanson and Andreas Von Huene to commemorate Brewer's Centennial in 1989.  

Beyond all else, it's simply a nice place to walk a dog and imagine what the river was like when the bricks, that lay there now, were made.

Nosing Around Maine  © Copyright 2012 Gail J. VanWart All Rights Reserved.