AIO is pleased to announce the artists participating in ArtFeeds Artists-in-Action Against Food Insecurity, a unique collaboration amongst artists, Page Gallery and the Maine State Correctional Facility, coming together to highlight and support AIO’s programs.
Participating artists include: Lise Bécu, Hannah Berta, Meghan Brady, Beth Bull, Caroline Dishop, Ingrid Ellison, Ileana Appleton Foster, Eric Hopkins, Ariela Kuh, Alexis Iammarino, Monica Kelly, Sal Taylor Kydd, Sarah G Lee, Nathaniel Meyer, Christopher Mir, Tara Morin, Sarah McRae Morton, Colin Page, Margaret Rizzio, Anneli Skaar, Marianne Smith, Barbara Sullivan, Greta Van Campen, Simon van der Ven, Hannah Secord Wade, Peter Walls, Andy White, Margaret Williams, Susan Williams, and a resident of the Maine State Correctional Facility. AIO will share the artists’ creative process and artist statements on @aiofoodpantry (Instagram) and @AIOFoodpantry70 (Facebook).
The genesis for the ArtFeeds project began as a conversation amongst friends during a weekend brunch, which led to presenting the idea AIO and from there the idea had a rippling effect as community partners Page Gallery and the Maine Department of Corrections were approached about the project. Both organizations have been and continue to be wonderful supporters of AIO.
The residents of the Maine State Correctional Facility’s woodworking program have turned 30 wooden bowls which will serve as the “canvas” for artists. A few artists are choosing to create their own bowls- out of wood, clay and fresco. Page Gallery is helping coordinate efforts with the participating artists and will host an exhibit of the completed bowls at the gallery September 3-10. The project will culminate with an auction at Page Gallery on Saturday September 10, with all proceeds going to support AIO’s programs. Thomaston Auction House has generously offered to host and run the auction for AIO.
“Page Gallery is glad to be a collaborator on this project. Art is a great visual platform to bring awareness to both the vital shortfalls in our community – the financial stress and food insecurity – and the great work AIO does towards addressing those needs. Page Gallery is committed to being a part of our community and proud to exhibit the work of artists and the correctional facility, all of whom were eager to participate in raising awareness and funds for AIO. We are excited about these bowls, lucky to be getting a preview as we coordinate with artists, and can’t wait to share them with you in September,” says Kirsten Surbey, manager of Page Gallery.
“Food and energy insecurity are always pressing concerns, and helping people meet their basic needs becomes more urgent as winter approaches. This collaboration is a complex and layered issue, and I hope the project will lead to important questions and conversations, while directly supporting local families,” shares participating artist Hannah Wade.
“The Maine Department of Corrections operates within a framework of transforming lives, just like AIO. Innovative programs and collaborative efforts, like ArtFeeds, ensure food is accessible to all, reduces stigma, and allows those incarcerated artists and farmers a pathway to personal and community redemption,” says Maine Department of Corrections Commissioner Randall Liberty. “We believe in being of service to the community and share in AIO’s vision to have a hunger-free community.”
About AIO Food and Energy Assistance:
AIO Food & Energy Assistance has been addressing food and energy insecurity in Knox County over 30 years and continues to work throughout the community to raise awareness in an effort to reach anyone who may need assistance. AIO participates in our local food system, joining food producers, distributors, and preparers with donors, volunteers, and local businesses to minimize food waste, maximize local resources, and share the abundance of food that exists in our community.
AIO is experiencing rapid increases in program enrollment due to both improved program experience and challenging economic times. So far this year, there has been more than 100% increase in pantry visits. As of June, 3,397 family visits have been made to the pantry, which represents 8,881 individuals. During the 2021-2022 school year, AIO’s Weekend Meals Program provided more than 11,623 weekend packets to school children. AIO provided nearly $200,000 in energy assistance this past heating season, the Diaper Program has distributed more than 29,000 diapers thus far this year.To learn more about AIO, please stop by and visit the pantry at 1A Gordon Drive in Rockland, Monday-Thursday, 8:00am-5:00pm. More information about AIO programs, volunteering, or how to make a donation is available at www.AIO4Me.org.
[Photo]: Participating ArtFeeds artist, Ileana Appleton Foster, with her bowl. Photo credit: Tara Rice Photo