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Bob Keyes

Bob Keyes has written about the arts in Maine since 2002. He’s never been much an artist himself, other than singing in junior high school chorus and acting in a few musicals. But he’s attended museums, theaters, clubs and concert halls all his life, and cites Bob Dylan as most influential artist of any kind since Picasso. He lives in Berwick.

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Posted: January 20, 2016

Natasha Mayers show features Whitefield Independence Day parade in Portland exhibit

Written by: Bob Keyes

Natasha Mayers surprised herself when she began assembling material for her latest exhibition, “Pay Attention! It’s Independence Day,” at the Area Gallery at the Woodbury Campus Center at USM-Portland.

She knew she had plenty to work with, but didn’t realize just how much. The show chronicles 30-plus years of Mayers’ involvement in the Fourth of Parade in her town of Whitefield. Since the mid-80s, she has helped organized parade floats that call attention to issues of interest to the activist artist and her friends. Generally, they are political, social and environmental issues that divide: Global warming, tax cuts for the wealthy, clear cutting, oils spills.

The exhibition includes photos that Mayers has taken of the floats she has helped build, as well as props from those floats, signs she and her friends have carried during the parade, costumes, videos and copies of newspaper stories about the time someone egged her and others during the parade.

The result is a vibrantly colorful exhibition that demonstrates both the range of Mayers’ artistry as well as the variety of issues she has raised in her small town during the parade.

“Pay Attention! It’s Independence Day,” is on view through March 24. Mayers, a visiting artist at the University of Southern Maine, will discuss her work from 5 to 7 p.m. on March 22.

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