FARMINGTON — A large multimedia exhibit featuring about 50 artists, poets and writers, “Transcendence: Beyond the Ordinary,” opened Tuesday at the Emery Community Arts Center at the University of Maine at Farmington.

A reception will take place from 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 28. The exhibit will continue through March 22, and the center is open daily from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Five local artists and curators, Mary McFarland, Dona Seegers, Mardy Bogar, Mary Beth Morrison and Jan Royall, have spent hours filling the large space, including the gallery, halls, floor, walls and ceiling of the community art center.

“It’s been a year in the making,” Royall said of the juried show for which pieces of art in different mediums were submitted and approved for the exhibit.

When McFarland viewed the arts center shortly after it opened in 2011, she was impressed with the building and gallery, she said.

She decided she wanted to do a show in the space.


The five artists, now known as the Spiral Artists, came together two years ago to help create an exhibit called “Spiral, A Journey Without End,” she said. They decided last year that they were ready to undertake another show and the art center welcomed them back, she said.

About 50 artists, using a variety of mediums and techniques, have submitted 100 pieces of art, poetry and writing to fill the space, McFarland said.

“We’re very fortunate to have (the space) in this community,” she said.

During Sunday’s opening reception, there will be a stage performance featuring two artists who create paintings through dance — their footprints can be seen on their canvas. A troupe of local hand drummers will also perform.

It is unusual to have performing and visual artists exhibit in the same space, Royall said.

The five curators recruited other artists to show their work, including some emerging artists who are just beginning in their chosen medium.


“It’s a very extensive showing,” Seegers said.

As the works arrived during the past few weeks, the curators began processing where to place them, grouping them and making changes until all the pieces came together in a “cohesive, beautiful show,” Royall said.

For each artist, there is a design process to create their piece, Seegers said. But as curators, there is an added design process of fitting the pieces together.

Sometimes that means redoing the layout a few times.

We work by consensus, she said.

The challenge has been to use the whole space — from gallery to hallways and windows. One large, welded piece welcomes visitors at the door of the art center.


An area for people to gather and read essays is available, along with an interactive board where viewers can post their thoughts. A Zen garden provides a contemplative area where participants can try their hand at raking sand, Seegers said.

“We want this to be about remembering and recording those moments in our lives that have been magical, profound, transforming or inspirational,” McFarland, a Farmington fabric artist who spearheaded the vision for the exhibits, said in a release.

The exhibit and Sunday’s reception are free and open to the public.

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