Backyard Bash at the Abbe Museum

The inaugural Backyard Bash at the Abbe Museum was a huge success! More than 250 people stopped by to sample the delicious food, play some fun games, listen to show-stopping live music, check out the Wabanaki artist booths, and peruse all the amazing items in our silent auction. Word on the street is everyone had a blast and some are already asking about next year. Thanks again to everyone who helped make this event possible!

Anonymous
Atlantic Brewing Company
Bangor Daily News
Bar Harbor Catering Company
Bar Harbor Whale Watch Company
BHA, LLC
Blaze
Cadillac Mountain Sports
Coca Cola
Dawland Tours, LLC
Dead River Company
Decontie & Brown
Frogpipe
Havana
L.S. Robinson Company
Gus La Casse
Leary’s Landing
Lynam Agency -Insurance and Real Estate
MDI High School students
MDI Ice Cream
MPBN
Mt. Dessert Bakery
Martha Newell
Bonnie Newsom
Molly Neptune Parker
PeekyToe Provisions
Project Social
Queen Anne’s Flower Shop
Siam Orchid
Side Street Cafe
Stanley Subaru
Tea House 278 / Tea Garden Tea Company
Lisa Tompkins

And, finally, a HUGE thank you to all our amazing silent auction donors!

Abbe Museum Launches Online Collections Database

The Abbe Museum, the first and only Smithsonian Affiliate in the state of Maine, is excited to announce the launch of its online collections database. The Museum’s in-house collections focus on contemporary and historic Native American art, artifacts, and objects from Maine and the Northeast, and totals more than 70,000 items. The goal is to upload all of the non-archaeological items to the database over the course of the next 12 months.

“We have been looking forward to sharing our collections online for a long time,” said Director of Collections and Interpretation Julia Gray. “With only a small portion of our collections on exhibit at any time, this gives people a chance to see so much more, and to learn about Wabanaki history and culture through art and objects from anywhere in the world. We are also excited to use this as a platform to welcome Wabanaki community input and perspectives on our collections.”

The Museum has been using PastPerfect museum software since 2000 to manage its collections, and as part of the current strategic plan, they are now using their online platform to share its collections with everyone, near and far. The database allows users to browse the collections, carry out a general keyword search, and even dig a little deeper with a more targeted advanced search. Images and detailed information about each piece are available and virtual visitors can share what they find with friends through email and social media, as well as share feedback with the Museum, directly from the website.

To start, approximately 375 of the roughly 1,800 records in the Museum’s local database have been uploaded, and more will continue to be added until all of the non-archaeological collections can be seen on the site. Work to put the archaeological collections online is scheduled to begin in 2018.

Visitors can check out everything from an etched birchbark box by Tomah Joseph that illustrates Passamaquoddy life to mid-19th century Penobscot baskets that are still vivid with indigo and other natural dyes. Intricate porcupine quill boxes created by Mi’kmaq artists during the late 1800s and some of the most outstanding work being done by Wabanaki artists today can also be viewed. Visit abbemuseum.pastperfectonline.com for more details.

The launch of the Abbe’s online collections database was made possible by the outstanding work of summer intern Katy Matthews, who spent the past several months preparing records for upload and gathering information that was missing from the database.

This project is funded by grants from the Maine Humanities Council and the Maine Community Foundation.

Wabanaki Artists Win Big at Santa Fe Indian Market

Photo credit: SWAIA-Santa Fe Indian Market

Photo credit: SWAIA-Santa Fe Indian Market

Five Wabanaki artists from Maine won a total of seven ribbons at the Santa Fe Indian Market in New Mexico on August 19, 2016. For more than five years, Wabanaki artists have taken top spots at the prestigious market.

Jeremy Frey, Passamaquoddy, took first in Division B: Outside the Southwest Baskets - Plaited, Wicker category, and 2016 Wabanaki Artist Fellow Theresa Secord, Penobscot, won first place in the same division in the Twined category.

George Neptune, Passamaquoddy, placed second in Division B: Outside the Southwest Baskets - Plaited, Wicker category. Emma Soctomah, Passamaquoddy, won first and second place in Division B: Ages 10-13 - Basketry category, which is her fourth consecutive year winning the top two spots. She also won best of division.

2016 Wabanaki Artist Fellow Gabriel Frey, Passamaquoddy, got an honorable mention in Division B: Outside the Southwest Baskets - Contemporary category. Along with Gabriel Frey, Jason and Donna Brown, the duo behind Penobscot jewelry studio Decontie & Brown, attended the Santa Fe Indian Market for the first time. Jason Brown is also a 2016 Wabanaki Artist Fellow.

"I am honored and humbled to be among the many East Coast weavers recognized at the market this year," Frey said. “I’m looking forward to many more successful markets.”

For the past 91 years, Santa Fe Indian Market has been bringing together the most talented Native American artists from around the US. As the largest Native arts fair in the world, the market spans an entire plaza and surrounding streets and consists of a myriad of events — galas, art openings, music and experiences, fashion shows, and the much anticipated juried art show. Of the more than 1,000 artists who participated this year, eight were Wabanaki artists from the state of Maine.

Abbe Museum Trustee Jennifer Neptune, Penobscot, was also accepted to attend the market and showcased her brown ash and sweetgrass baskets, beadwork, and porcupine quill jewelry.

This just in from the Santa Fe Indian Market: Wabanaki artists win big!

Wabanaki artists have had a big week out in Santa Fe. For some, it's their first time attending the prestigious Indian Market as artists and as Wabanaki Artist Fellows.

First Place!
Jeremy Frey, Passamaquoddy, took first in Division B: Outside the Southwest Baskets - Plaited, Wicker category.

2016 Wabanaki Artist Fellow Theresa Secord, Penobscot, took first place in the same division in the Twined category.

Second Place!
George Neptune, Passamaquoddy, placed second in Division B: Outside the Southwest Baskets - Plaited, Wicker category.

Best of Divisions!
Emma Soctomah took best of division in Division B: Ages 10-13.

First and Second Place!
Emma Soctomah, Passamaquoddy, placed first AND second in Division B: Ages 10-13 - Basketry category.

Honorable Mentions!
2016 Wabanaki Artist Fellow  Gabriel Frey, Passamaquoddy, got an honorable mention in Division B: Outside the Southwest Baskets - Contemporary category.

First Time Attendees!
Along with Gabriel Frey, Jason and Donna Brown, the duo behind Penobscot jewelry studio Decontie & Brown, attended the Santa Fe Indian Market (SWAIA) for the first time. Jason Brown is also a 2016 Wabanaki Artist Fellow. In addition to getting a shout out from SWAIA, Decontie & Brown put on quite a fashion show.

Congratulations to everyone for such an amazing week! Follow the Abbe Facebook page throughout the day today for more photos, videos, and news about what the Wabanaki artists are up to in Santa Fe!

Abbe Museum Celebrates 88 Years with Annual Gathering Gala

Photo © by Rogier van Bakel, eagereyephoto.com

Photo © by Rogier van Bakel, eagereyephoto.com

New Gala format will offer guests opportunities to mingle and meet with Native Artists

On July 29, 2016, at 6 pm the Abbe Museum will host their signature annual fundraiser at the Bar Harbor Club.

The Gathering Gala benefit dinner and auction have become a summer tradition on Mount Desert Island, celebrating the work of the Abbe Museum with a fun evening of food, drink, friendship, and philanthropy. This year’s event will celebrate the importance of creative placemaking and how it supports Wabanaki artists and the Bar Harbor community. The live auction will be led by auctioneers Andrew Simon of the Barn Arts Collective, and Nora Miller, a former Abbe staff member who currently works for WomanCare Global.

“The Abbe board, staff, and I are so excited about this new creative work for the Museum,” said Abbe Museum President and CEO Cinnamon Catlin-Legutko. “Wabanaki artists are incredibly talented and we're thrilled to focus our Gala around their talents and showcase the exciting artistry happening in tribal communities across North America. At the Gala this year, we'll be offering a "taste" of what's to come at the Abbe, and we can’t wait to share it with everyone!”

In its 15 years in downtown Bar Harbor, the Abbe has become a Smithsonian Affiliate, an active member of the International Coalition for the Sites of Conscience, a partner to Acadia National Park, and a committed and involved community anchor. The annual Gathering Gala attracts cultural luminaries and civic leaders, as well as renowned artists, premier collectors, and devoted patrons of the arts and culture.

This year, the Gala will have a slightly different look and feel. With the launch of the Abbe’s new strategic plan in the fall of 2015, the Museum has big plans for the future, one of which includes developing a juried art show in downtown Bar Harbor. Modeled after markets like the Heard Museum Guild Indian Fair and Market and the Santa Fe Indian Market, the Abbe is planning a multi-day event in May 2018 that will invite Native artists from across North America to participate, with the intention of developing Bar Harbor as the destination for Northeastern Native Art. More details about this market will be revealed the night of the Gala.

Nuhkomoss Packbasket, by Gabriel Frey, Passamaquoddy, is one of more than a dozen items available in the live auction.

Nuhkomoss Packbasket, by Gabriel Frey, Passamaquoddy, is one of more than a dozen items available in the live auction.

The silent auction, which typically happens early in the evening, has been moved to a later event, the inaugural Abbe Backyard Bash scheduled for Saturday, September 10, 2016. The live auction is comprised entirely of exquisite Native art - from Wabanaki artists to other Native artists across the U.S. - and two exceptional experiences. The majority of the live auction items will be on exhibit at the Abbe Museum and can also be viewed online. .

The Gathering Gala will kick off with a red carpet arrival, followed by a cocktail hour outside on the Bar Harbor Club's gorgeous patio. Enjoy gourmet passed hors d'oeuvres and mingling with Native artists who donated items to the live auction before being entertained by a live performance that will bring you into the main ballroom for a seated dinner. From there, a festive live auction that is as entertaining as it is successful will end the evening.

Mahoosuc Guide Service Maine's "Ways of the Wabanaki Wilderness Canoe Trip" is one of two experiences available in the live auction. 

Mahoosuc Guide Service Maine's "Ways of the Wabanaki Wilderness Canoe Trip" is one of two experiences available in the live auction. 

Tickets for the evening are $150 per person . To RSVP, please visit www.abbegala.org, email the Abbe Museum at gala@abbemuseum.org, or call 207-288-3519. Absentee bidding and underwriting opportunities are also available for those who cannot attend.

Schoodic Institute Artist in Residence: Gina Brooks, Maliseet

Gina Brooks and Abbe Museum Director of Collections & Interpretation Julia Gray at the 2015 Native American   Festival & Basketmakers Market

Gina Brooks and Abbe Museum Director of Collections & Interpretation Julia Gray at the 2015 Native American Festival & Basketmakers Market

New this year, the Abbe Museum and Acadia National Park are partnering to offer an artist in residence program at the Schoodic Institute in order to provide more opportunities for park visitors to learn about Wabanaki history and culture.

The artist, Gina Brooks, Maliseet, works in many art forms, including pen and ink, acrylic paint, ash baskets, quillwork, moosehair embroidery, and countless more. Considering herself an artist that is informed by Wabanaki culture and tradition, Gina uses traditional knowledge and designs to create intricate, one of a kind pieces that often reflect Wabanaki oral histories. Join Gina at various times during the week to learn about her different mediums, artistic process, and cultural influence as a professional artist.

Monday, July 25

Painting Demonstration at Dorr Hall, Schoodic Institute

11 am – 3 pm

Storytelling at Schoodic Woods

7:30 – 8:30 pm

Rain Date: July 26

Tuesday, July 26

Basketmaking Demonstration at Dorr Hall, Schoodic Institute

11 am – 3 pm

Wednesday, July 27

Porcupine Quill and Moosehair Embroidery Demonstration at Nature Center Patio, Sieur de Monts Spring in Acadia National Park

11 am – 3 pm

Rain Location: Abbe Museum downtown

Wednesday, July 27

Storytelling at Schoodic Woods

7 – 8 pm

Thursday, July 28

Birchbark Etching Demonstration at Dorr Hall, Schoodic Institute

11 am – 3 pm

Friday, July 29

Pen and Ink Demonstration at Dorr Hall, Schoodic Institute

9 am – 12 pm

Location: Schoodic Institute at Acadia National Park, 9 Atterbury Cir, Winter Harbor, ME 04693

IMG_1426.JPG

23rd Annual Native American Festival & Basketmakers Market

The Native American Festival and Basketmakers Market will celebrate 23 years on July 9, 2016, from 10 am to 4 pm at College of the Atlantic (COA). The Festival is free and open to the public and features the celebrated Native arts market, Native music, dance, storytelling, craft demonstrations, and delicious food. A collaborative partnership between the Abbe Museum, the Maine Indian Basketmakers Alliance (MIBA), and COA, the Festival offers visitors, collectors, and gallery owners the opportunity to buy directly from the artists.

“This will be my 12th year participating in the Festival, as a jewelry vendor,” said Donna Brown, Penobscot, who attended the 2015 Festival as an Abbe Museum Wabanaki Artist Fellow. “This festival brings together a blend of creativity, culture, and sharing of knowledge that is surrounded by the joyous energy of vendors, festival organizers, volunteers, collectors of Native American art, and visitors from around the world. The support and exposure that I have received by attending this festival have greatly influenced my career as an artist, and as a result, I have been able to move forward with confidence, as well as the knowledge, that there is a great market for Native American jewelry.”

The Festival itself began in 1989 at the Abbe and moved around to several locations in town before landing at COA. The location on the ocean-front grounds of the college allowed the Festival to grow, with ample space for vendors and parking for many more guests. This nationally renowned Indian Market features exquisite handcrafted Wabanaki ash and sweet grass baskets, wood and stone carvings, jewelry, beadwork, dolls, and other handcrafted items representing the beauty and culture of the Maliseet, Micmac, Passamaquoddy, and Penobscot people of Maine and the Maritimes. For many visitors, this is a rare opportunity to meet the artists and learn about contemporary Wabanaki arts and cultures from Maine and the Maritimes.

MIBA, as part of its mission to preserve and extend the art of basketmaking within the Wabanaki communities, is responsible for bringing in dozens of new, “next generation” basketmakers and their families to the event. Many of these talented basketmakers first got their start at the Festival over the 23 years it has been in Bar Harbor.

From a bow-drill fire starting demonstration to children’s storytelling to a Mosquito Dance to a Wabanaki cuisine demonstration to a regalia making demonstration to a silent auction, there is undoubtedly something for everyone at the Native American Festival. Proceeds support the non-profit teaching and apprenticeship programs of MIBA.

Parking is limited, and public transportation is available. Visitors are encouraged to use the free Island Explorer bus system which stops at COA. The grounds of the College of the Atlantic are handicap accessible.

About Maine Indian Basketmakers Alliance
The Maine Indian Basketmakers Alliance is a nonprofit Native American arts service organization focused on preserving and extending the art of basketmaking within Maine’s Native American community. MIBA seeks to preserve the ancient tradition of ash and sweetgrass basketmaking among the Maliseet, Micmac, Passamaquoddy, and Penobscot tribes. www.maineindianbaskets.org

Waponahki Student Art Show Alumna

Do you ever wonder if the artists featured in our Waponahki Student Art Show keep creating art once they leave the Maine Indian Education schools?

Christiana Becker, Penobscot, is a student at the University of Maine and has been using her art as a medium through which she displays and shares her culture. When she was in the eighth grade, she participated in the Abbe Museum's annual Waponahki Student Art Show with the following submission.

Hidden Warrior Spirit

Christiana R. Becker, Penobscot
Grade 8
Indian Island School

"I've always like to read fantasy books or books with swords. I like it when there is a woman who is a hero or warrior. So I drew a woman who wanted to be a warrior. She goes to one of her favorite spots to ask for guidance from her ancestors. She then sees a reflection of herself and finds she does have the spirit of a warrior. It's hidden inside her."

Fast forward to 2016 where several of Christiana’s original pieces were recently featured in the University of Maine's Senior Art Exhibit “Ghosts of Carnegie Hall." Christiana hopes observers take from her art the importance of “giving back to the Earth, being grateful, and making sure that your descendants and your people will also benefit from your actions.”

Read more about Christiana's success in a recent article posted by the Maine Journal.

Abbe Museum and Dawnland, LLC Announce 2016 Fellowship Winners

The 2016 Wabanaki Artist Fellows, Gabriel Frey, Theresa Secord, and Jason Brown, all gave artist demonstrations at the Abbe Museum's Annual Meeting on June 3, 2016. 

The Abbe Museum is honored to announce the 2016 Wabanaki Artist Fellows, recognizing three exceptionally creative individuals with a track record of achievement and significant contributions to the arts: Jason K. Brown, Penobscot, Gabriel Frey, Passamaquoddy, and Theresa Secord, Penobscot. These fellowships are made possible through support from Dawnland, LLC, the concessioner in Acadia National Park.

The fellowships are intended to provide support for travel, lodging, and other costs associated with exhibiting at Indian art markets in Maine and New Mexico. Brown and Secord will attend the 2016 Southwestern Association for Indian Arts Santa Fe Indian Market (SWAIA) in August, and Frey will attend one of the local markets.

“It is an honor to support talented Wabanaki artists and we look forward to hearing about their success and supporting them through fellowships, our Native American Festival and Basketmakers Market on July 9, 2016, and through our museum shop,” said Cinnamon Catlin-Legutko, president and CEO of the Abbe Museum. 

Brown, owner of Bangor-based jewelry studio Decontie & Brown, handcrafts jewelry and traditional beadwork made from various metals and semi-precious gemstones. “My work is motivated by my desire to bring to life the designs created by my imagination,” Brown said. “I find inspiration in nature, and in the designs of my Penobscot culture. Historically, the Wabanaki people hired local metalsmiths to create adornments for them. I feel that as a contemporary Wabanaki jeweler, I am breaking new ground as a metalsmith and jeweler.”

Frey, a Passamaquoddy brown ash basketmaker, specializes in utility baskets such as pack baskets, market baskets, and purses. “I weave each basket solely with brown ash and handcraft leather straps for each basket,” Frey said. “My artistic process includes locating and harvesting basket quality brown ash trees from the woods, processing brown ash logs, and weaving brown ash materials into basket forms. I carve the hoops, rims, handle, and wooden pins to fasten leather straps. The majority of my tools, such as basket molds, gauges, and my shave horse, are adaptations of traditional designs. Maintaining the traditional knowledge of Wabanaki basketmakers is an important aspect of my artistic process.”

Over the past ten years, Secord has won awards for her basketry, including several first places at Santa Fe Indian Market, the Heard Museum Guild Indian Fair and Market, and the Eiteljorg Indian Market. She is also the first U.S. citizen to receive the Prize for Creativity in Rural Life by the Women’s World Summit Foundation at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, for helping basket makers rise out of poverty. “My art journey is currently focused on the use of alternative, natural materials to supplement ash, due to the Emerald Ash Borer beetle,” Secord said. “I’ve been dedicated to the preservation/protection of the sacred ash trees for 23 years, and helped pioneer the use of cedar bark overlay on ash in Maine Indian basketry a few years ago.”

About Dawnland, LLC
Dawnland, LLC operates the Jordan Pond House restaurant, including the traditional tea and popovers on the lawn overlooking Jordan Pond and the Bubbles, and retail services at Jordan Pond House, Cadillac Mountain, and Thunder Hole. Dawnland's parent company, Ortega National Parks, LLC, has more than 45 years of hospitality experience and over 16 years' experience operating concessions in the National Park Service, including at Bandelier National Monument, White Sands, Muir Woods, Carlsbad Caverns, Death Valley and Gateway National Recreation Area.

Wabanaki Placenames Tour with George Neptune, Passamaquoddy

Join Museum Educator George Neptune on Friday, June 24th, from 10-11:30 am for a tour examining the history of Wabanaki People at Moneskatik. This walking tour of Bar Harbor will visit places that are significant to Wabanaki history and culture, and will include information on local Wabanaki placenames, traditional songs, and creation stories. Traditional knowledge and shared history combine to create a tour experience that is engaging for audiences of all ages.

Cost is $10 for members, $20 for non-members. Children under 10 are free. Not a member?

Sign up here. Please contact the Abbe at 207-288-3519 to reserve your spot today!

Please note: this is a walking tour around Bar Harbor, so comfortable shoes and cool attire are recommended. There will be at least two opportunities along the way to sit and rest for a few moments.

Campfire Storytelling with George Neptune, Passamaquoddy

Storytelling is an important part of Wabanaki culture, as stories are used to pass on the knowledge of Wabanaki traditions, history, and worldview to the next generation. Join us on Saturday, April 23rd from 7 - 8:30 pm for an evening around the campfire and listen to stories from across the Dawnland. With s’mores and hot beverages, this is a unique and intimate experience open to all ages. Please note that the terrain of the location is uneven and rocky in spots, so may not be suitable for some audience members. 

Cost: $10 for members and $20 for non-members. Children under 10 are free. To buy tickets, please contact the Abbe at 207-288-3519. Tickets will not be available for purchase the evening of the event. 

Location: Private residence at 156 Indian Point Road, Bar Harbor, Maine.

Wabanaki Artists from Maine Take Top Spots at Heard Museum Guild Indian Fair & Market

Sarah Sockbeson, Penobscot, won Best of Division in Traditional Baskets and Best of Class in Baskets at the 58th annual Heard Museum Guild Indian Fair & Market, which draws nearly 15,000 visitors and more than 600 of the nation’s most outstanding and successful American Indian artists. George Neptune, Passamaquoddy, won first place in Non-Traditional Basketry and Emma Soctomah, Passamaquoddy, won Best in Classification in Junior Division-Baskets.

“It’s an incredibly exciting time to be a Wabanaki artist,” said Neptune, an educator at the Abbe Museum. “For several years now, we've been traveling west to the biggest Indian art markets in the world and claiming top prizes in the basketry divisions at every market. This year, I won my first blue ribbon at the Heard Museum and I was beyond excited to have won with a piece that is so representative of my style as an artist. I hope it will inspire other Wabanaki people, especially youth, to take pride in our culture and practice our traditions—because when you do, beautiful things happen.”

Sockbeson apprenticed with Jennifer Neptune, Penobscot, in 2004 and learned the history, techniques, and art that has become modern Native basketry. Soon thereafter, museums and collectors across the country began to recognize her incredible talent. Her unique style incorporates many different elements of traditional Wabanaki technique and she combines that with innovative colors to create a fresh, new approach to a timeless and beautiful art form.

Neptune has been making baskets since he was four years old. At the age of seven, he wove his first basket by himself and has continued weaving through the years, fine-tuning his skills and attention to detail. His baskets now take on a sculptural element that is unique to his style, often featuring woven flowers, the signature of his family’s work. Twigs, woven birds, and other creatures are also used to create baskets that are truly one of a kind. At twenty years old, he was awarded the title of Master Basketmaker by the Maine Indian Basketmakers Alliance, making him the youngest person to ever receive the title.

“It made me feel really good to win Best of Classification, and it made me feel like I can do a lot better and go further with my basket career,” said 12-year-old Soctomah. “My friends were really surprised how far you can go with making baskets, and where you can go. They all congratulated me when I got home. I'm really excited to go to Santa Fe Indian Market this summer and hopefully back to the Heard next year.”

Soctomah is one of the youngest basketmakers in the Wabanaki tribes and began weaving with her brother, George Neptune, at five years old. Now her brother's formal apprentice, Soctomah has already received national recognition for her work. At nine years old, she was one of the 2013 recipients of the SWAIA Youth Fellowship and was featured in Native Peoples Magazine. In 2015, Soctomah was one of the first artists to receive an Abbe Museum Wabanaki Artist Fellowship.

Other Wabanaki artists invited to attend the fair were Abbe Museum Trustees Jennifer Neptune, Penobscot and David Moses Bridges, Passamaquoddy, Molly Neptune Parker, Passamaquoddy, Jeremy Frey, Passamaquoddy, Gal Tomah, Passamaquoddy, and Theresa Secord, Penobscot. A complete list of winners can be found at http://heard.org/event/fair-2016/.

Abbe Museum and Dawnland, LLC Announce 2016 Fellowship Program

The Abbe Museum and Dawnland, LLC are pleased to announce the second annual Fellowship program, designed to help Wabanaki artists promote their work within the greater artistic communities. Three fellowships will be awarded to provide support for travel, lodging, and other costs associated with exhibiting at Indian art markets in Maine and New Mexico. The submission deadline is midnight on April 15, 2016.

“In our efforts to foster and promote contemporary Wabanaki art in both a regional and national context, these fellowships are designed to help Wabanaki artists promote their work within the greater artistic communities,” said Abbe Museum President and CEO, Cinnamon Catlin-Legutko.

Two fellowships will be awarded to artists attending the 2016 Southwestern Association for Indian Art’s Santa Fe Indian Market, and one shall be awarded to an artist attending one or more of the four annual Maine Indian Basketmakers Alliance shows:

  • Native American Festival and Basketmakers Market in Bar Harbor - July 9, 2016
  • Maine Native American Summer Market & Demonstration in New Gloucester – August 27, 2016
  • Common Ground Country Fair in Unity - September 23-25, 2016
  • Maine Indian Basketmakers Holiday Market in Orono - December 10, 2016

All applicants must provide proof of acceptance or eligibility to participate in the markets for the 2016 year. Each applicant is also expected to attend the Abbe’s Annual Meeting on June 3, 2016, to offer a demonstration and meet the donors (travel accommodations will be provided). In addition, they will provide a closing report by no later than December 15, 2016. Ten percent of the grant award will be held until this report is filed.

Visit www.abbemuseum.org/shop for eligibility details, including an application. Fellowship applications received before the deadline of April 15, 2016, at midnight will be added to the pool of applicants. The application will be entered into a lottery system where eligible applications will be pulled randomly from the pool. Award notification will be made on or before May 1, 2016.

About Dawnland, LLC
Dawnland, LLC operates the Jordan Pond House restaurant, including the traditional tea and popovers on the lawn overlooking Jordan Pond and the Bubbles, and retail services at Jordan Pond House, Cadillac Mountain, and Thunder Hole. Dawnland's parent company, Ortega National Parks, LLC, has more than 45 years of hospitality experience and over 16 years' experience operating concessions in the National Park Service, including at Bandelier National Monument, White Sands, Muir Woods, Carlsbad Caverns, Death Valley and Gateway National Recreation Area.

Sponsor an art supply kit for $25 and inspire a young artist

The Abbe Museum is gearing up for our 15th annual Waponahki Student Art show, in collaboration with Maine Indian Education. This art show and artist reception always bring together a wonderful variety of art created by approximately 35 Passamaquoddy and Penobscot students from early childhood education through high school. And exciting news for this year, for the first time ever the show will also include student artwork from the Micmac and Maliseet communities in northern Maine! All the artwork will be on display in the Abbe's main gallery for six months.

As an award for having their artwork selected for this fan-favorite show, each student receives an art supply kit consisting of a few items to feed their artistic passion - sketch pads, paints, paint brushes, charcoal, pencils, pencil holders - and a framed certificate.

The Abbe Museum has been able to produce these popular kits through the support of Maine Indian Education and generous donations from community members like you. With the inclusion of Micmac and Maliseet student artists this year, your added support will make this a rewarding experience for all the young artists involved.

For just $25, you can sponsor one of these art supply kits, ensuring that each student receives an award for their creativity.

Each sponsor will have a kit named in their honor, as well as receive an invitation to the Waponahki Student Art reception held in May, which is usually a private reception reserved for students and their friends and families.

Please join us. Spread the word. Make a donation. 100% of your gift will directly fund these student art supply kits.

Local Wabanaki Artist Receives National Grant

First Peoples Fund, a nonprofit that supports indigenous artists across the country, recently awarded Jason Brown, Penobscot, a jewelry artist and metalsmith from Bangor, a $5,000 business entrepreneurial grant and fellowship.    

“I’m honored that my artwork and commitment to my community have been recognized by First Peoples Fund. This grant and leadership training will help me expand my work and market, and allow me to continue to give back to my culture and community,” said Jason Brown.   

First Peoples Fund, based in Rapid City, South Dakota, focuses on community and economic development for tribal communities through support for Native artists and recently announced a roster of 27 2016 Native artist-fellows from across the country.

"We are proud to continue to grow our First Peoples Fund family of artist-entrepreneurs,” said Lori Pourier, president. “We believe that when Native artists have support and opportunities to build reliable and consistent incomes through their work, they thrive, their families thrive and whole communities thrive.”

First Peoples Fund is supported in part by The Ford Foundation, The Bush Foundation, Margaret A. Cargill Foundation, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Nathan Cummings Foundation, Northwest Area Foundation, HRK Foundation, The Howe Family Foundation, Surdna Foundation, U.S.D.A Rural Business Opportunity Grant, and The Johnson Scholarship Foundation.

Founded in 1995, First Peoples Fund's mission is to honor and support the Collective Spirit® of First Peoples artists and culture bearers. For further information, or to apply for support through one of their programs, please visit www.firstpeoplesfund.org or contact First Peoples Fund at P.O. Box 2977, Rapid City, SD 57709-2977.

Peacebuilding at the Abbe

The World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates is the largest annual event in peacemaking. Needless to say, attending an event such as this is an incredibly daunting task—especially when you’ve been chosen to be the first Native youth delegate to attend.

Why was I chosen? Could they not find someone better? What if I speak too strongly, or am not strong enough? What if I misrepresent my people? What if?

These questions raced through my mind at what seemed like a thousand times per second as I checked in at the Bar Harbor International Airport. With my hand drum and my mother’s eagle feather tucked into a compartment on the wing of the tiny plane, I embarked on a journey that already felt like one of the most significant and terrifying experiences of my life. 

I was excited to be able to hear from the Nobel Laureate’s directly—last year, due to various political reasons, the Summit was postponed and I attended the Global Youth Peace Indaba in Capetown, South Africa, instead. I knew that the Summit would be very different from the Indaba, and the chance to be able to ask questions of today’s leading peacemakers made me feel nervous and intimidated. I arrived in Barcelona, Spain, prepared to consider ways in which peacebuilding can be incorporated into my work at the Abbe Museum and armed with the goal of creating the first Native Youth Delegation to the Summit in 2016. After visiting the city in high school and spending three months there as an undergraduate, it was as if I was returning to a home away from home.

Plaza Espanya, Barcelona

After one brief evening of getting to know the other delegates, the Summit began like a whirlwind. The opening ceremony and sessions took place at the Universitat de Barcelona and began with a welcome by the mayor of the city, Ada Colau. I found that even though I hadn’t heard the Catalán language since I left the city in 2008, I understood the majority of what was said! Not only did Mayor Colau express gratitude to the Laureates and Secretariat for choosing Barcelona, but she also set the tone for the rest of the Summit by publicly stating that Barcelona would welcome Syrian refugees. This led to larger discussions regarding refugees, with other Laureates pointing out the fact that this is not a new humanitarian crisis, and that the root causes of war must be eliminated in order to create peace. Laureate Mairead Maguire, from Northern Ireland, stated that eliminating the roots of war—specifically, ending militarism—would ultimately be up to young people. She believes that the youth is more ingenious than previous generations, and she apologized to the youth delegates for the world that would one day be handed to us.

Me and Nobel Laureate Mairead Maguire.

Laureate Mohammed Yunus, from Bangladesh, echoed Maguire’s message, stating that creating a new civilization is the mission of our generation. He stated that, with 20 million refugees around the globe, the world needs direction from the peace Laureates. His message was that the concentration of wealth and the unemployment of young people worldwide ultimately makes for an unsustainable society; he encouraged that we, as human beings, are not job seekers but job creators and that unemployment is the artificial creation of wrong-thinking. If we are to achieve the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals by the year 2030, then we, as young people, needed to take action. These goals are meant to serve as guiding steps to achieving sustainable world peace.

Each of the youth delegations nominated two participants to contribute to the creation of the 2015 Youth Declaration of Peace, which would be composed of declarations pertaining to each of the Sustainable Development Goals. Students and young activists from around the world discussed ways in which we, as young people, can work to achieve these goals, and working with my colleagues from LUISS (Libera Università Internazionale degli Studio Sociali Guido Carli), Oxford University, and PeaceJam, the following was written to accompany goal number ten, “Reducing Inequalities:”    

Financial inequality, ongoing colonization, refusal of reconciliation, institutionalized and non-institutionalized discrimination, and the disparate distribution and development of agricultural and medical resources are just a few of the challenges concerning the reduction of inequality; the role of youth is key to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals through raising awareness and constantly learning; an effective preliminary solution for eliminating these social constructs is to encourage the unconditional appreciation of all human life (The Youth Declaration of Peace).

Me and other Youth Delegates after the American Friends Service Committee Workshop.

I knew that the Youth Declaration was going to be read during the closing ceremony of the Summit, but I was still surprised when my colleagues informed me that, while I was in the restroom, they had unanimously decided that I would read our section. Aloud. On a stage. In front of all the participating Laureates. The next morning, I met with the other delegates assigned to read the declaration and prepared to read in front of the world’s leaders in peacebuilding. I was, to say the least, absolutely terrified, and have never been more thankful for my theater degree. With my drum keeping my hands steady and my mother’s feather giving me strength, I walked on stage with representatives from the other delegations.

Me at Font Magica, Barcelona

My experiences in Barcelona were far too many for me to effectively summarize in one blog post. I reconnected with old friends while making amazing new ones; returned to a city that I adore; was able to ask questions of incredible peace builders including Jody Williams (a driving force in the launching of an international campaign against landmines), Tawakkol Karman (she has been called the "Iron Woman" and "Mother of the Revolution"), and Frederik Willem de Klerk (the former State President of South Africa!), and excitedly told anyone that would listen how the Abbe tackles social justice issues in a museum setting. Now, I’m conducting research to create the FIRST EVER Native Youth Delegation to the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates for 2016, and couldn’t be more excited to be a part of this history!

Me and Nobel Laureate Jody Williams

There were an infinite amount of meaningful messages received at the Summit. If I were to boil all of these messages down into core lessons, they would be as follows: Mohammed Yunus taught me that youth is key to making change; Mairead Maguire reaffirmed that dialogue is essential to making peace; Frederik Willem de Klerk encouraged that reconciliation is essential to decolonization, and Jody Williams stressed that empathy must be converted into action. With these lessons being added to my peacebuilding toolkit, it is my hope to share these messages with other Indigenous youth and ultimately contribute to the cultivation of sustainable peace, and create a world that my grandchildren will be proud to be a part of.

Thank you to the American Friends Service Committee, an amazing organization that made my journey possible.

Meet a Wabanaki Artist Fellow: Donna Brown

Donna Brown talked about her beaded moccasins with Abbe Trustee, Sandy Wilcox, at the Museum's annual meeting in August.

Donna Brown talked about her beaded moccasins with Abbe Trustee, Sandy Wilcox, at the Museum's annual meeting in August.

Donna Brown, Penobscot, handcrafts jewelry and traditional beadwork made from various metals, semi-precious gemstones, and glass beads. She uses stringing and metal shaping techniques to create various types of earrings, necklaces, and bracelets, and also uses intricate beadwork techniques to create jewelry and regalia accessories by beading with cloth, leather, and a loom. She has beaded on items such as moccasins, shoes, belts, barrettes, shawls, earrings, and hair ties.

"My work is motivated by my desire to create colorful jewelry and regalia that will be passed on to future generations," Donna said in her fellowship application's artist statement. "I am inspired by the colors and elements of nature, as well as my Wabanaki culture, and I am passionate about creating miniature works of art that begin with a sketch or outline of a pattern and seeing it come to life through the work of my hands. It gives me great joy to see others enjoy and wear my creations, whether for everyday wear or worn specially for traditional gatherings."

Donna is working hard to build her business and cultivate her brand to a level of success that will allow her to broaden her reach into the jewelry and fashion industry.

"I feel once I have gained access to this industry, I can share the beauty and significance of our culture through my designs and creations. It is also my goal to teach others my skills to serve as a mentor and help keep our traditions alive."

In July, Donna attended the Native American Festival as an Abbe Museum Fellow. She and her husband, Jason, are the creative force behind Decontie & Brown  and have been creating jewelry for the past 20 years.

"This fellowship will also support me by allowing me access to some of the tools and supplies that are needed to sharpen and polish my brand. By presenting my jewelry in a professional and attractive way, I add value to my creations, my brand, and to Native American jewelry and art. Wabanaki artists who attend the Maine Indian Basketmakers Alliance shows, are in the unique position of presenting their creations to collectors from around the world. My goal is to utilize this opportunity by attending these shows and presenting my creations in the same manner as top jewelry designers, utilizing cohesive display presentation and product packaging. 

The Abbe Museum Wabanaki Artist Fellowships were made possible through support from Dawnland, LLC, the concessioner in Acadia National Park.

Addition to the Abbe Museum Collections

Maliseet artist Gina Brooks and the Abbe's Director of Collections & Interpretation, Julia Clark

Maliseet artist Gina Brooks and the Abbe's Director of Collections & Interpretation, Julia Clark

TheDiane Kopec Collection Fund at the Abbe Museum was created to acquire works by living Native American artists. The collection reflects the vitality and vibrancy of Native American art today, and we recently added a birchbark box by Maliseet artist Gina Brooks to this important collection.

The imagery on the box includes the wampum pattern representing the Wabanaki Confederacy, the people holding up that confederacy, and on the lid, the double curve that represents the unity of the four tribes. Native people sent and received Wampum woven into belts as a form of communication. Through the geometric patterns of the beads, Native people wove wampum designs to remember and recall important events like oral histories, treaties, and agreements. These belts were brought back and forth from important events, and passed down from generation to generation.

Gina Brooks, Maliseet, is from St. Mary’s First Nation in New Brunswick, Canada, and resides in nearby Fredericton. She considers herself an artist informed by Wabanaki traditional knowledge, and her art includes brown ash basketry, porcupine quill and birch bark basketry, carving, and print making. Her original prints include acrylic and ink, and lithographs, monotypes, and copper etch plating. Her basketry and print art has been commissioned by private art collectors and Aboriginal organizations across Canada, and her work has been exhibited at the Charlotte Street Arts Center in Fredericton, Sudbury Nature Center in St. Andrews, (Weaving Traditions), and is featured in the New Brunswick Museum’s Wabanaki contemporary art collection.

Wabanaki Artists take top spots at Santa Fe Indian Market

For the past 90 years, Santa Fe Indian Market has been bringing together the most talented Native American artists from around the US. As the largest Native arts fair in the world, the market covered the Santa Fe Plaza and surrounding streets this past weekend, and consisted of a myriad of events — galas, art openings, music and experiences, fashion shows, and the much anticipated juried art show. Several Wabanaki artists were in attendance this year, and a couple are coming back to the East Coast with some impressive ribbons.

Abbe Museum Fellow Emma Soctomah, Passamaquoddy, won first and second place in the Youth Division, which is her third consecutive year winning the top two spots.

Sara Sockbeson, Penobscot, won first place in Miniatures and second place in Contemporary. Her two winning baskets featured deer antler handles, which she sliced into cross-sections and then carved and polished each one, drilling a hole through the center. Sarah has said that all the antler handles she makes are unique for each basket.

Abbe Museum Educator George Neptune, Passamaquoddy, received an Honorable Mention in Traditional Basketry. George has admitted that he likes turning his baskets into sculptures, and that they’re all slight adaptations on traditional methods he has been taught.

The market is definitely a meeting of buyer and artist, but it proves year on year to be so much more than just that. It’s a place where artists gather to share their creations, their traditions, and their stories. It helps make possible the continuation of traditional life, whether on a pueblo outside Santa Fe or in a small town in Maine.

More official results of all the winners will be posted soon. The Best of Show winners list is currently available on the Santa Fe Indian Market website.

Congratulations to all the Wabanaki artists!