BETHEL — The Mahoosuc Arts Council will host the 10th annual ARTirondack Auction at 4 p.m. Saturday, July 20, during Molly Ockett Days Festival.

The auction will feature a collaborative piece of artwork done by James E. Francis, a Penobscot artist and the director of cultural and historic preservation for the Penobscot Nation, and Arla Patch, an artist, teacher and volunteer for the Maine Wabanaki-State Child Welfare Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Francis and Patch painted a series of images on a wooden chair, crafted by Reggie Brown of Bethel. The images include native and western cultural imagery, as well as symbols that represent one of each of the four remaining tribes in the Wabanaki Confederacy: the Penobscot, the Passamaquoddy, the Maliseet and the Micmac.

Paintings of maple leaves are in the upper corners of the chair as a way to honor the development of maple syrup by the Wabanaki. Blueberries were also included on the chair to recognize the role they have played in sustaining Maine native peoples historically and to this day.

Aranka Matolcsy, executive director of the Mahoosuc Arts Council, said the chair is especially important since many of the images painted on it have “never been shared with white culture.”

“These images are an intellectual copyright,” Matolcsy said, “and Mr. Francis enabled us to portray them on the chair. This is truly a collaborative effort.”

There is currently a $1,000 reserve set on the chair, and Matolcsy said they have already received a bid from someone out of state.

She said there is a “significant effort” in Bethel to “illuminate the authenticity of the Molly Ockett Day, and dismantle the well-intentioned, but offensive and stereotypical imagery surrounding it.

“There is a movement right now to authenticate every element in the Molly Ockett Day,” Matolcsy said. “This auction is just a really, really fun event. It’s not just something that benefits the council. It also helps to highlight and feature the different artists in our community.”

The proceeds from the chair will be split between the Mahoosuc Arts Council and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Additional chairs will be painted by Jewel Clark, Troy Jordan, Tera Ingraham, Lauren Head, Seneca Corriveau and Matolcsy, and will be auctioned at the event.

For more information, call 207-890-6386, or visit http://www.mahoosucarts.org/artirondack.html

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