The Star-Herald

Agency on Aging features Presque Isle artist in August

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine – Laurence “Larry” Park of Presque Isle will display his art collection at Aroostook Agency on Aging during the month of August.

Park’s month-long Artists for Aging exhibit opens Friday, Aug. 5 during Presque Isle’s First Friday Art Walk from 5-7 p.m. Otherwise, the public may see the “homegrown” collection anytime during regular business hours Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. 

Park’s “Woodpile Art” includes a bear in a knot hole, a burl growth on a maple log that resembles a  potato, and a cookie from an ash tree clearly showing the growth rings. In addition to his own  photographs, the Presque Isle artist will also bring a collection of family photos that date back to 1898. 

“The smell of wood freshly cut I have always loved,” he said. “You never know what you’re going to find when you saw into something.” 

During the Art Walk, Park plans to be in attendance at the 260 Main Street gallery to discuss his  work with community members. An accomplished guitar and banjo player, he has invited friends and  family members to join him to play music on that evening. 

Presque Isle’s Laurence “Larry” Park will display some of his “woodpile art” – including this “Bear in a Knot Hole” — during the First Friday Art Walk on Aug. 5 at the Aroostook Agency on Aging. (Star-Herald file photo)Park grew up working on the farm and in the woods during the Great Depression and World War II. In  the 1950s, he enlisted in the Air Force during the Korean War, spending three years in uniform and traveling to California and England in the process. 

Park’s military service was cut short when his father suffered a heart attack and died soon after. He then took over the family farm on Echo Lake Road, in the midst of Aroostook County’s potato empire days,  and began a long career in farming and forestry. 

Park had his first camera before 1943. His photos will include the B&A Railroad steam engine filling up at  the water tank, a night harvest under a full moon, his grandchildren on the kitchen floor with flour, a  sieve, and a rolling pin, a farm worker loading a barrel by hand on a 1934 Diamond T truck, and photos of the 92-year-old camps at McKeen Crossing on the Machias River.

Other featured items include “iron art” — a chainsaw man made from a plow point and digger lags — as well as ax handles made from ash and curly yellow birch. 

Those who take part in the Artists for Aging program, dedicate a percentage of all sales to support Agency programs and services. For more information on the month-long exhibit, please call the Agency at 207-764-3396/1-800-439-1789 or email to info@aroostookaging.org.

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