curtis logo

wave that flag

Posted by Maria Castellano-Usery on September 20th, 2017

The Curtis Memorial Library “How-To Festival and Block Party” was on Saturday, September 16th, and if you were one of the over 800 people who attended, you already know how much fun it was! The four-hour event was packed with activities such as face painting, bubble making, weaving, live music, and all kinds of different workshops which took place both inside and outside the library. The warm, sunny weather combined with the fact that Middle Street was closed to traffic made the atmosphere truly festive.

My table was set up right outside the library entrance, and my workshop theme was “paint a community prayer flag”. I had a huge stack of different decorative papers that were primed and ready to go, a big plastic tub filled with acrylic paints, and a large selection of brushes of all shapes and sizes. People of all ages were encouraged to (and did) participate, but it seemed like the bravest ones who stopped by were the kids! These did not look like what you would call “traditional” prayer flags, but the intent was very similar: putting out positive energy into the community and beyond. Here are some photos from the day!

21765290_10213450988925623_2795734555881539498_n

21751994_10213450987765594_8354702763755181191_n

21558901_10213450990565664_9048111039089021168_n

21687666_10213450981805445_4285622837149316423_n

21740113_10213422725979067_8392698445107049219_n

 

Did you attend the “How-To Festival And Block Party”? If so, what did you think? Please let me know in the comments section!

master of puppets

Posted by Maria Castellano-Usery on September 6th, 2017

On Saturday, September 2nd, I attended a performance by Bread and Puppet Theater (the “Our Domestic Insurrection Circus”) at Fort Allen Park in Portland. This was a real treat for me, since every other time I’ve seen Bread and Puppet, it’s been in Glover, Vermont – not exactly right around the corner from Brunswick!

 

B&P 96

 

My first time experiencing Bread and Puppet was over 20 years ago (how is that possible?)  – back then, it was the “Our Domestic Resurrection Circus”. Even though all that time has passed, some things remain the same: you can still count on Bread and Puppet for bold, thought-provoking, political performance art that is filled with humor, insight, and beauty. The crowd at Fort Allen Park was treated to a spirited performance that was simultaneously biting and hopeful, calling for the formation of a new political party – the Possibilitarians – to work together for positive change. The park was full, and at times it was difficult to hear because we were so far back, but our vantage point gave us a great view of the enormous papier-mache and cardboard puppets. Packing all of that work onto their converted school bus and still having room for the troupe must be quite a feat! Here are some photos in case you weren’t there to experience it for yourself.

 

B&P flags

B&P big hug

B&P forest dwellers

B&P washer woman

B&P migrants

B&P

B&P donation

 

If you’re interested in finding out more before planning a trip to the Northeast Kingdom, a quick search on the Curtis Memorial Library website turns up several selections that are available through the inter-library loan. Check it out!

loving this summer

Posted by Maria Castellano-Usery on August 23rd, 2017

I was fortunate enough to spend last week traveling around New England with friends and family, seeing concerts and exploring different locales. It seems appropriate that we made time to stop in to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston to check out “Summer of Love: Photography and Graphic Design”!

 

20994360_10213226122544104_4902101065435214253_n

 

 

“Summer of Love: Photography and Graphic Design” only takes up one room, but the space is filled with posters, album covers, and photographs all from (and inspired by) the Haight-Ashbury counter-culture scene. It’s hard to believe this work is 50 years old! I loved this show. The bright colors and the bold images really appeal to me (which shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who is familiar with my paintings), and since I’m a huge fan of music, it makes me happy that album covers and concert posters are being celebrated as art.

 

 

20953354_10213226134864412_7452722596843304107_n

 

21034239_10213226144704658_1054982693533755456_n

 

20953609_10213226137704483_1694295610053267945_n

 

 

By the way, whoever decided where “Summer of Love: Photography and Graphic Design” was to be set up in the museum is a genius: the room you walk through to get to the Edward and Nancy Roberts Family Gallery contains art and artifacts from the Americas…and quite a bit of the work on display is musical (and psychedelic) in nature! Check out some of these instruments…

 

 

21032746_10213226427351724_2472997925634276020_n

 

21034458_10213226428071742_2235385823777155283_n

 

20994068_10213226427591730_8791092656802435650_n

 

21032469_10213226428031741_7247139253202352751_n

 

…and how about this piece?

20953800_10213226448752259_328207601253981752_n

 

So, if you find yourself in Boston sometime soon, stop in to the MFA for a couple of hours…you never know what connections you might make! “Summer of Love: Photography and Graphic Design” runs through October 22nd.