There is quite a history to this reborn art show. In 1967, the Western Maine Art Group (WMAG) joined forces with the Oxford Hills Music Boosters to help promote arts and cultural activities in the area. The groups produced an event which was reported to be a “substantial undertaking.” The two day festival included an art show in Market Square and one along the sidewalks of Norway which was punctuated with a street dance for teens on the first night, supervised by the Norway-Paris Recreation Commission. The event was capped off by a performance of the New England Music Camp Symphony on the second night. There was also a show of student art hanging in the halls of the Oxford Hills high school during the arts and music festival.
For a $3 entry fee, the WMAG provided peg boards, snow fences and other props and pieces needed by the artists to hang their work. The registration fee went toward the money for the prizes of the juried art show. The judges for that first show were art instructors Alicia Stonebreaker of Brunswick, Mrs. Edward Turner, a summer visitor from New Jersey. Prizes were $150 for best of show, $100 for second and $75 for third prize. More than 500 pieces were displayed by 50 artists.
“The result [of the art shows] was a spectacular display of color, technique, styles and talent,” reported a 1967 Advertiser Democrat story.
By 1968, the event featured only the fine arts shows. It was sponsored by the WMAG and the Oxford Hills Chamber of Commerce and was supported by the Norway-Paris Merchants Association. The Norway show remained on the sidewalks and the South Paris art show was moved into Moore Park. The entry fee rose to $5 and over 60 artists displayed for a bigger crowed than the first year.
The shows continued in 1969 to draw larger and larger crowds and thousands of dollars of prize money and purchase awards sponsored by dozens of local businesses and individuals.
By 1970, WMAG organizers hosted over 75 artists displaying a reported 1,200 pieces of art between the two locations for an estimated crowd of 3,000 people. The art shows continued to gain recognition throughout the region and became respected as one of the premier fine arts events in New England. Judges became more notable too. By 1970, Frank Staples, an artist and instructor from Biddeford, Arthur Hahn of WCSH-TV Channel 6 in Portland and James Elliott, the retired director of the Portland School of Fine and applied Arts judged the shows.
Even though the 1970 show drew the largest crowds in the three –year history organizers decided to stick with only the Norway Sidewalk Art Show due to logistical challenges.
Lee Bean, one of the founders of the WMAG along with Lajos Matolcsy and Ellie Viles, was primarily responsible for the coordination and administration of the art shows. Bean said planning and organizing art shows in both towns at the same time became too much to handle, so for 1971, the WMAG decided to stick with only the Norway show. The Norway Sidewalk Art Show became very successful and recognized over the decades; it is resented on the 2nd Saturday every July and is in its 44th year in 2011.
The Moore Park Art Show was finally revived in 2007. The Town of Paris Parks & Recreation Committee saw the vision of their beautiful park, once again filled with artists and visitors. That summer, 40 artists gathered for the first art show since 1970 for a beautiful show which was supported by a large volunteer effort.
Art show visitors were entertained by guitarist Denny Breau, folk singer Mary Ukelady, and The Hillsman Chorus. Kelli McAnulty’s Snowcountry Advertising International sponsored the show by providing the $350.00 Best in Show Award. There were monetary awards for second and third places and honorable mention memberships provided by the Western Maine Art Group. The judges were author, photographer and artisan Murad Sayen of South Paris, Multi-media Artist Robert Parker of the New England and Montserrat Schools of Art and Western Maine Art Group President Aranka Matolcsy.
The show was again revived by the Paris Parks & Recreation Committee in 2010 when Aranka Matolcsy – director emeritus of the WMAG and executive director of the Mahoosuc Arts Council - was hired to be the art show director working closely in conjunction with Paris Parks & Rec Chairman Dana Chandler, and Board Members Becky Burke and the Records, Kim Sutton and Dennis Rug. Over 50 artists representing fine arts and crafts were featured and entertainment included Guitaris Denny Breau, Folk Singer Mary Ukelady, and Poet Timothy Richardson. Since, the show has featured artists from all over New England, as well as some of the state’s finest performing including The Celebration Barn Theater, Circus Ole, Rijah Newell, Art Moves Dance Debi Irons, Jus Tus Two, Terry Swett, Ellen Lindsey & Paul Dube, Brad Hooper, Nathan Towne, Bunch of Old Hippes, Nevaeh Dance Company, Mary Uke Lady, and many more!
The show has been steadily gaining recognition, attracting exhibitors and visitors from all over New England while seeding and supporting a vibrant community of creative people and enterprises in Western Maine!
Geoffrey Workman was introduced to art at an early age by his artist mother. His father and brothers sparked his love of hunting and fishing which soon sprung a passion for nature, wildlife and the outdoors. Combining this with his talent for painting and sculpting, he began to create wonderful pieces of art on his life long artistic journey.
Workman studied art education with the likes of great professors such as Warren Kimball but eventually focused the study of art and earned a Bachelor of Fine Art from the University of Southern Maine where he also won “Sculptor of the Year.” He is an exhibiting and teaching member of the Western Maine Art Group and sat on the Board of Directors for the Northern Vermont Artist Association.
Geoffrey has faced numerous health issues since he graduated, including a loss of eyesight rendering him legally blind. But he continues to paint and nothing has been able to deter him from pursuing art with passion and perseverance, continuing to produce paintings and sculpture that capture the beauty of nature and his surroundings, as he continues, participate in numerous regional art exhibits winning ribbons and awards for his work.
Four panels of a multi-panel quilt depicting the schoolhouses of South Paris by the late Barbara Swan Frost (1915-2009) will be featured on the 2014 Moore Park Art Show poster. The four schoolhouses shown in the poster above are, clockwise from top left: Shurtleff School, Stearns Hill School, Paris Hill Academy, Lincoln School, Paris Hill. Mrs. Frost was very active in both the quilting and historical circles in western Maine. The lovely quilt represents her passion for both by depicting 19 school houses of South Paris including. Known as an avid volunteer in the public schools, a historian of local history, a speaker, a writer and a quilter she supported many historical and quilting organizations. In addition to being a member of the Paris Hill, Buckfield and Hebron Historical societies, she was a charter and lifetime member of the Paris Cape Historical Society, which houses her South Paris Schoolhouses Quilt. Mrs. Frost was also the coordinator and a quiltmaker of the Oxford County Bicentennial Quilt of 2005 that hangs in the Oxford County Court House in South Paris. In 2004 she was honored as Quilter of the Year at the Augusta Civic Center. Mrs. Frost also served on the boards of the Pine Tree Quilters Guild and Pine Needles Quilters of Norway-Paris
A depiction of the historic barn at the old Stock Farm in South Paris by Anne Treadwell of Bridgton has been chosen for the 2013 Moore Park Art Show collectable poster. The barn, home of the Celebration Barn Theater since 1972, is a favorite destination for summer entertainment for Treadwell and her family. Treadwell spends her time painting in watercolor, her favorite medium. She paints mostly lighthouses, flowers grown in her garden and other coastal scenes that capture the warmth and depth of New England. Born and raised in Danbury, CT, Treadwell is a licensed hairstylist who has owned and run her own salon for nearly 30 years. When Anne attended a watercolor workshop she fell in love with the medium. She has since studied with well-known artists such as Sharon Soule, Cindy Spencer and LaVonne Suwalski. Treadwell’s most memorable class was a week in Damariscotta, ME, where she studied with renowned watercolor artist, Jan Kilburn. When she is not painting, Anne enjoys gardening, working in her salon, Hair Studio of Bridgton, and spending time with her husband, daughter Julie, grandson Chris and cat Just Jack.
For more information, contact Anne at 207.647.8313 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ron Hamilton grew up on “the mean streets of Buffalo, New York many moons ago.” 12 years in the Navy. Very interesting work. Cold War-flew ASW patrols in old propeller planes. Then, Naval boot camp Company Commander and Instructor. Also worked on A4 jets during the Viet-Nam Era; 4 years military schools, 8 years in various universities with a BA in Behavioral Science and a Special Education Certification K-12. Besides a military career, worked as telephone equipment Engineer, management trainer, drug, alcohol and mental health counselor and special Ed teacher. Built around 30 timber-frame houses the old mortise and tennon style. Also, worked on 30 luxury motor yachts. Not much art yet, just met a lot of interesting people and some intense experiences.
In 2005, Iron sort of retired and started art instruction with some very talented and inspiring Maine artists. Their instruction, coaching, kibitzing and inspiring has purloined him nto a whole new lifestyle. Experimenting with different media and techniques has been challenging and self-propelling. Associating with a local Maine art community has been one of the most rewarding and satisfying of his many careers. Painting has become a daily habit (not work). The idea of doing something other people may enjoy, has motivated Ron to pursue another late-life change. FMI: email@example.com
Known for capturing the interesting and historic architecture of the region, Artist Cynthia Burmeister of Paris has been chosen as the poster artist for the 2011 Moore Park Art Show. Her newest watercolor of Market Square will be featured on the poster for the show which will take place on August 13 (rain date Aug. 14). Before Retirement of Paris in 1994, most of Burmeister’s art life was devoted to being a docent at the University of Michigan Museum of Art for 20 years. Her work as a docent was immensely enjoyable and exposed the artist-to-be to an extremely wide variety of fine arts. Burmeister started studying watercolors in 1997 with renowned watercolorist Lee Bean, an original founder of the Western Maine Art Group who studied for many years under the Hungarian Fine Arts Professor Lajos Matolcsy. Burmeister went on to study with artists Gene Fuller and Painted Mermaind Gallery owner Brenda Sauro. Most recently, Burmeister has studied oil painting with Murad Saÿen. Her work, which focuses on regional architecture and scenes, has been featured at the Norway Library, the Lajos Matolcsy Arts Center, the Norway Arts Festival, the Moore Park Art Show and at Book N Things in Norway. She received best of show at the 2007 Moore Park Art Show and has received purchase awards from Weston Chandler Funderal Homes and the Norway Savings Bank. Burmeister has also been a long-time member and supporter of the Western Maine Art Group in Norway.
Eleanor Viles (1915-2004) was a life-lomg resident of Paris, a mother, wife, artist and founding member of the Western Maine Art Group in Norway. Mrs. Viles was also fundemental in the founding and direction of the Norway Sidewalk Art Show and the original Moore Park Art Show in the 1960s.
This image of turn-of-the-century Market Square in South Paris was painted by Mrs. Viles in the 1960 by the request of the owner of what is now Market Square Restaurant.
Mrs. Viles developed serious fine art technique through our her life which has resulted in strong auction prices for her paintings which are mainly realistic in representation.
From the time she was a young girl, Paula Prentiss Dow Kurtz (1936-2013) had a deep attachment to the historic hills, gardens, properties and people of Paris, Maine – main inspirations for her photography, second only to her beloved animals. “It is not only for the beauty and talent of her work that Mrs. Kurtz was chosen as the 2016 poster artist,” explains art show director Aranka Matolcsy, “but also for the quality of her spirit and the depth of her impact on her hometown.” Polly, as she was known to friends, graduated from Waynflete School in 1954 and earned a B.S. in Art History from Skidmore College in 1958. After she married Ted Kurtz in 1964, they raised their children where she spent the rest of her life: in her grandmother's home on Paris Hill, surrounded by lush perennial gardens and filled with her animals - many of them rescued. As she explained during her life, having “learned to see” at Skidmore, her most satisfying hobby was photography. She saw not only with her eyes, but with her heart, and thus was particularly gifted at capturing her special vision to share with others. Throughout her life, Paula cared deeply for others, particularly animals. Her most concentrated volunteer efforts were spent tirelessly defending the rights of animals through lobbying and legislation, as well as providing havens for animals in distress. She was instrumental in the creation of the first Department of Animal Welfare in Maine State Government. She was instrumental in the creation of the expansive bear enclosure at the Maine Wildlife Park in Gray which provided rescued bears the opportunity to live in comfort while allowing visitors to witness the majestic creatures in their natural habitat. Paula very notably worked in partnership with other dedicated animal lovers to establish Responsible Pet Care.
Jackie Lynch’s popular creations mainly feature durable painted canvas which she crafts into floor cloths, table runners and place mats. She also makes what she calls “barn quilts” which are large squares of wood painted with traditional quilt patterns that can be displayed in or outside and happen to look striking on the side of a building. She started her journey into the world of functional painted canvas around 30 years ago when she saw some floor cloths in a magazine. Since there was no Google at the time, she has to be clever to find information to educate herself on the techniques involved. She first found a book at Sturbridge Village and then started getting any book she could find on the subject. Within five years she lunched into a business selling her work. Now she is selling her work to people from all parts of Maine and beyond as a member of Made in Maine. Jackie’s pieces are inspired by nature and traditional designs like those of Rufus Porter and Moses Eaton and are accomplished with both stenciling and free hand painting. You can find her work online at crafterscottageofmaine.vpweb.com, at the Birch Canoe in Casco or by appointment at her studio. Jackie is an avid volunteer and has been giving her time and talent to her home town for nearly 40 years. Starting out as a Girl Scout leader and Sunday school teacher, moving on to public school volunteer, she is now supporting the efforts of Gardeners Growing Healthy Communities and the 1 Paris Hill Committee. When Jackie is not giving her time or working on her crafts, she can be found in her beautiful, custom studio at her home teaching classes in the fall and winter.
This event started out at the Moore Park Art Show, first founded in the 1960s and revived in 2010. In 2017 show organizers started dreaming of ways to engage more people while celebrating the DIY and creative spirit of western Maine people and the Moore Park Makers Fair was born, along with a new logo. Scroll to bottom of the page for a full history.