Artist Don Best provides unique woodcraft piece for Universalist Church Belfry Fund.

“In This All Together”

NORWAY — Local woodcraft artist, Don Best, has made a generous donation of a unique, contemporary sculpture, titled “In This All Together” as an item to be auctioned for the benefit of the Norway Universalist Church’s “Save the Belfry” Project. The sculpture is basswood with an acrylic wash and is designed to be hung on a wall. It is a charming suggestion of the First Universalist Church of Norway on Main Street and the well-known social justice vigils held in front of the building.

The sculpture can be viewed until December 31 at Cafe Nomad, 450 Main Street in Norway, as part of Don Best’s Artist of the Month exhibit. Don Best is a woodcraft artist and fifth-generation Mainer based in Norway. He received a fine arts degree in painting from Maine College of Art and is a self-taught wood sculptor.

His unique sculptural work evokes qualities of lightheartedness, sadness, joy, and humor, and considers the complexities of our changing environment through the eyes of wildlife and our closest animal companions. His work has been shown in galleries throughout the state and can be seen at his website

“Save the Belfry” is a community-wide project to restore the belfry of the First Universalist Church of Norway. The church building, constructed in 1828, is a classic timber frame structure and a testament to Yankee ingenuity and craftsmanship. More than 190 years of wind, water and weather have caused structural deterioration that must be repaired.

In 2019, the belfry and bell were removed from the tower. The pandemic delayed further progress until the winter of 2021/2022, when the belfry dome was dismantled. The 1828 beams and rafters were measured and exact replacements were crafted and assembled using the original timber framing techniques.

The church is committed to restoring the belfry. The committee, composed of both church and community members, is currently fundraising for repair/restoration within the tower. When that phase is completed, the “legs” will be added to the belfry dome and the belfry and bell will be put back on the tower.

The Save the Belfry Committee is truly grateful for Don Best’s help in this effort, and in creating a piece which is so distinctly reminiscent of Norway. Those who are interested in bidding on this piece, can find a link to the auction site on the church’s website, Payment may be by cash, check or PayPal. The item will be available for pickup locally. If shipping is required, the auction winner agrees to pay shipping costs, which will be determined at the end of the auction, Jan. 7, 2023.

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