HALLOWELL — In celebration of the Maine State Bicentennial, The Harlow, in partnership with the Vaughan Woods & Historic Homestead, seeks a modern interpretation of the original Maine state seal to be hung over the mantel in the Vaughan Homestead dining room.

One artist will be selected and awarded a $1,500 prize. The Vaughan Homestead will work collaboratively with the artist to create a final custom artwork that both modernizes and honors the original state seal. Once an artist is selected, Vaughan Homestead staff will follow up with pertinent details, dates, deadlines. Proposals will be reviewed by staff members of The Harlow and Vaughan Homestead.

The deadline for entries is 11:59 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 22.

Artists may submit one piece only, in any two dimensional media including, but not limited to, painting, drawing, printmaking, encaustic, illustration, mixed media and photography. The submitted piece must be an original work by the submitting artist. Artists should be residents of Maine at least part of the year. The final artwork should be no larger than 25×34″.

When Maine separated from Massachusetts, one of the first actions of the newly established Legislature was to decide upon the Great Seal of Maine. Benjamin Vaughan, although not a legislative committee member, proposed the emblems, still in use today, which were first crudely drawn by one of his daughters, reportedly at the dining room table that sits in Vaughan Homestead to this day.

In his proposal for the seal, Vaughan argues that residents of Maine should take pride in their “northern situation.” He wrote, “We are the most northern state in the Union . . .  yet what is an ordinary star for all other states becomes the north star for us.” He continued, “Then grow great not by the power of the sun, but by (our) habits.” This northern identity is still alive and well in Maine. The primary elements of the seal are the northern star, the farmer, the mariner, the moose and the white pine.

Settled in 1794, Vaughan Homestead was the residence of Benjamin and Sarah Vaughan and six generations of their descendants. With its sweeping view of the Kennebec River, rolling fields, lush gardens and towering forest, it remains much the same today as when it was built. Vaughan, a physician and British Parliamentarian, advised the Founding Fathers, supported the development of Maine and the city of Hallowell and encouraged new methods of agriculture throughout the region.

For the next 200 years, his descendants lived in the house on the hill, grew their food, made repairs, built trails in the woods, weathered the bad times and celebrated the good. In 2002, the nonprofit Vaughan Woods & Historic Homestead was established, and a new era of homestead history began. Today, VWHH seeks to deepen people’s sense of place by providing access to the local natural landscape and programs that promote an understanding of the past and build a connection to the community of today.

For more information and to submit a proposal, visit http://harlowgallery.org/maine-bicentennial-call-for-proposals-state-seal-modern-interpretation/.

In celebration of the Maine State Bicentennial, The Harlow, in partnership with the Vaughan Woods & Historic Homestead, seeks a modern interpretation of the original Maine state seal to be hung over the mantel in the Vaughan Homestead dining room. One artist will be selected and awarded a $1,500 prize. Submitted photo


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