L/A Arts, the arts agency for the cities of Lewiston and Auburn, Maine has announced a new initiative, “Artist Days in LA.” The first edition will be a tribute to award-winning author, multi-media artist, and storyteller Ashley Bryan whose most recent book, Freedom over Me, about the imagined lives of eleven slaves, is the recipient of the Newbery Medal Honor.
“Ashley Bryan Days in LA” will unfold over a two-month period beginning in April, with in-school puppetry workshops by Figures of Speech Theatre, inspired by Ashley Bryan’s storytelling and puppets. On Saturday, April 29th the Emerge Film Festival (taking place throughout Lewiston/Auburn April 27, 28 & 29) will screen a feature documentary about Ashley Bryan’s life and work by filmmaker Richard Kane, titled “I Know a Man…Ashley Bryan”. On the weekend of May 6th, the Atrium Gallery at USM’s Lewiston Auburn College will open an exhibit of large format images of Ashley Bryan’s puppets, alongside the work made by the students, in an exhibit running through June 2nd.
In a joint announcement, Lewiston and Auburn Mayors Macdonald and LaBonte stated, “The Twin Cities are pleased to proclaim the first ‘Artist Days in LA,’ beginning with a tribute to Ashley Bryan, a man whose many artistic achievements have inspired generations. ‘Artist Days in LA’ will contribute to an enduring impression of our cities’ respect for the important role the arts play in the growth and well-being of the community and its citizens.”
Said L/A Arts Director Louise Rosen, “Ashley Bryan is a national treasure, and his much-beloved books have touched children and families everywhere. As seen in the documentary film, he is a prodigious artist in many media, from stained glass to paint to collage, as well as poetry and song. Ashley’s wonderful found-object puppets sparked the idea for us to work with Figures of Speech Theatre to develop in-school workshops. It made absolute sense to collaborate with the Atrium Gallery at USMLAC, as Dean Joyce Gibson serves on our board. It’s a beautiful gallery and will be a joy to have the resulting student work exhibited alongside large format images of Ashley’s. A special exhibit of his book art was first presented there a few years ago, and he received an honorary degree from USMLAC in 2013. LA has a deep association with artists and artisans, and Artist Days in LA confirms the spirit of that association going forward.”
Maine Magazine is the exclusive magazine sponsor of “Ashley Bryan Days in LA.” Additional sponsorships are available.
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About Ashley Bryan
Ashley Bryan first came to Maine after serving in WWII, to attend the Skowhegan School of Art. He settled here permanently in 1988 after retiring as emeritus professor of art at Dartmouth College. Although not published until he was forty years old, he has written and illustrated over 50 books, based on African folktales, or inspired by African-American spirituals and lives. He has won numerous awards and nominations, including a Fulbright Fellowship and the prestigious Laura Ingalls Wilder and John Newbery Medals. He lives in Islesford, on Little Cranberry Island.
About the Emerge Film Festival
The mission of Emerge Film Festival is to build awareness of independent films and to support a diverse cross-section of filmmakers, from established to “emerging” artists, from Maine, the U.S. and the world. We aim to promote the motion picture arts and to provide educational arts and culture opportunities for student filmmakers, the Lewiston/Auburn community and beyond.