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Heather Steeves

Heather Steeves tries to do things that are fun -- and only things that are fun. So far that's included stilt walking, roller derby and cross-country road trips in her Saturn.

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Posted: July 30, 2014

3 things to see at August’s First Friday Art Walk: Free beer, woodblock prints, fiddles

Written by: Heather Steeves

Free beer?! Heck yes. This month’s highlights are Maine grown and Maine made — as Portland’s Art Walk should be.

1. Free beer!

Various artists | 181 State St.onelongfellowsquare.com

collageBEER_One Longfellow Square is hosting Artists in the Round during the art walk and Funky Bow Brewery will be there giving a free tasting while you look at ceramics, origami and other art by a bunch of artists. Add in some live music and it’s a full on block party (we’re not sure who will be playing yet). The name, Artists in the Round, is a play on the venue’s Songwriters in the Round Showcase which features local shows and acts (next up is Line of Force and Sorcha and the Clearing on Tuesday, Aug. 5). The art show will flow into Longfellow Square and there will be paintings, hand painted yoga mats, jewelry, screen printed shirts and more.

2. Woodblock prints

By Johanna Smick | Though Aug. 24 | 650 Congress St. | shebeargallery.com

She-Bear Gallery is a new player in Portland’s art scene. The cute gallery was started when Blue Hill artist Holly Meade died last year, leaving her daughter a bunch of art, including her own woodblock prints. For the August Art Walk, gallery owner is showing Meade’s work, but also woodblock prints by Johanna Smick, Meade’s niece. The 10 works show how woodblock prints are made … through woodblock prints. It’s all very meta.

What makes the exhibit more interesting is the family ink link. The two artists share similar styles: minimal coloring with high contrast; clean, well-chosen lines and not too many of them. For reference, this is a Holly Meade print:

"Invitation" by Holly Meade, used courtesy of She-Bear Gallery.

“Invitation” by Holly Meade, used courtesy of She-Bear Gallery.

Maybe part of it was passed through the tools?

“After my mom passed away, I gave her woodcarving tools to my cousin Johanna. As Johanna sharpened, re-grinded, and finally started carving with her Aunt Holly’s tools, the blades began to reflect her own creative rhythm. She describes this as a bittersweet process — a mixture of grieving and healing, saying goodbye and creating,” gallery owner Jenny Smick wrote.

3. The quietest fiddles

“Wicked Good Fiddling” | 5 Monument Square | Through July | portlandlibrary.com

The exhibit plaque says: "John Wiseman and J. Scott Skinner upon their arrival in Boston, en route to Lewiston to compete in the World-Wide Fiddling Context, April 1926. From the collection of Steve Green."

The exhibit plaque says: “John Wiseman and J. Scott Skinner upon their arrival in Boston, en route to Lewiston to compete in the World-Wide Fiddling Context, April 1926. From the collection of Steve Green.”

The ever-quiet Portland Public Library is celebrating Maine’s loud and boisterous fiddling history with an exhibit that displays photos of musicians, written fiddle music and concert fliers.

“Maine has also been home to a surprising number of fiddle makers; researchers have identified close to 200 professional and amateur craftspeople in Maine who have made violins,” the exhibit description says. Some of those Maine-made fiddles are sitting in glass cases in the Lewis — they’re beautiful. The exhibit was put together by two men who are both fiddlers and fiddle researchers.

There is a walkman in the corner where you can listen to some local fiddling from back in the day. I’d tell you more about it, but the batteries died when I tried to give ‘er a listen.


 

AS ALWAYS, THE ART WALK RUNS FROM 5-8 P.M. ON FRIDAY ALL THROUGHOUT PORTLAND. FOR MORE INFORMATION AND COMPLETE LISTINGS, VISIT LIVEWORKPORTLAND.ORG/ARTS.

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