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Image of a woman, child, and horse with differently rendered sections
Text reading: The Collaborative Portrait Project- Farmers Edition, Collaboration by Susan Bickford with Photographs by Allison McKeen, 10 Organic Maine Farmers, 10 High School Teachers + over 200 of their students assemble 10 four foot collaborative portraits

Collabortive Portrait Project:

Farmers' Edition


9 high schools and 1 elementary school, 200 students, and the UMA Danforth Gallery come together in collaboration.

The Collaborative Portrait Projects: Farmers’ Edition opens January 16th at UMA’s Danforth Gallery.  
    Exhibited will be 10 large-scale portraits of local organic farmers produced collaboratively by 200 students from 10 area schools.  

This fall, 10 local school art classes started working on collaborative art portraits depicting local heroes; Maine organic farmers. Each portrait starts with a photograph of the farmer that is enlarged to a four by four foot square, and then divided into a grid of thirty-six eight-inch squares. Each square is given to an individual student to create their own artistic interpretation using various multimedia techniques.  The eight-inch squares are then put back together to create a portrait.

     “When it gets assembled up on the board, a magic happens.  The individual pieces come together to form more than the sum of their parts,” said Susan Bickford, adjunct Art Professor at UMA and a driving force behind the project.  “The project allows students to experience the transformative power of assembly and offers an opportunity to incorporate civic lessons into art techniques and vice versa, “ added Bickford. 

     The exhibit is part of an effort to maintain the value of local school art education and connect to the greater community outside of the classroom.

“This project couldn’t come at a better time, high school art programs across the state are being cut from schools.  Many students thrive in their art classes and when programs are cut, those students not only lose their creative outlet, but also a window into their future, “ said Gregory Fahy, Dean of UMA College of Arts and Sciences.  “Working in conjunction with UMA and exhibiting work at the Danforth is a way for students and teachers alike to show the state of Maine the value of arts education,” he added. 

     The exhibition runs from January 16th – February 21st at UMA’s Danforth Gallery located in Jewett Hall.  An opening reception and farmers market will be held from 5:00pm - 7:00pm on Thursday Jan. 16. 

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