Aroostook Creative Network awards 29 artists with micro-grants for their projects

11 months ago

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Wintergreen Arts Center has announced the winners of its micro-grant awards for artists living in Aroostook County.

Twenty-eight artists living in Aroostook County received up to $1,000 each in micro-grants made possible by the Maine Arts Commission and administered by Wintergreen Arts Center. 

The money for the grants is used for creative projects and aims to connect artists and small art communities within The County.

One of the recipients of the micro-grant was Steven Medina who builds custom cabinetry and furniture that he sells through his business called Creative Wood Interiors. He started Creative Wood Interiors in 2016 and moved to the area two years ago from South Carolina.

“Up here it’s beautiful, the people are very friendly and the community is very strong here in Van Buren,” Medina said.

Medina got a recommendation to apply for the grant from Sheila Jans, a Madawaska resident and the Maine Arts Commission’s regional development director, who had seen his work.

Medina will use his $900 microgrant award for materials like walnut, cherry, oak and maple woods to build outdoor benches, serving trays and other pieces of furniture he makes to order for customers. He has been woodcrafting for more than 20 years and began his woodworking by making custom cabinetry for kitchens and bathrooms.

Some of Medina’s woodwork will be featured in a flower shop called Floral Boutique on Main, set to open next week on Main Street in Van Buren, he said.

In Caribou, metal worker and glass enameling artist Beth Ann Cummings also received $900 to buy a rolling mill, which is a piece of machinery that recycles metal by reducing metal wire and sheets to a smaller gauge. She uses the mill to roll metal into different shapes and embosses them with natural or manmade textures.

The rolling mill will save the wear and tear of the metal working that Cummings had previously done by hand. As a metal worker, Cummings works with copper and silver wires and sheets for her jewelry work.

Cummings plans to add textures to metal sheets to create jewelry for earrings and pendants. She doesn’t have a business for her jewelry, but she makes them for herself and friends under the name Theobek Silver, a combination of her son’s and daughter’s names.

“I haven’t seen grants specifically geared toward artists in Aroostook County,” Cummings said.

Cummings had recently retired from her 34-year career as an art teacher at Washburn District Elementary and has always lived in Aroostook County. She works one day a week at Connor Consolidated School in Caribou as a visual arts teacher.

Other Aroostook Creative Network micro-grant recipients were Elizabeth Allen, pottery; Christina Carroll, tie-dye color design; Kristen Chambers, acrylic on canvas; April Copley, cross stitch; Melanie Cyr, stained glass; Travis Cyr, musician; Elisabeth Dumond, charcoal and graphite; Brianna Gerrish, ceramic sculpture; Amanda Giberson, fiber weavings; Jason Grandmaison, crafted signs; Lawrence W. Hardy II, photography; Christopher Kometic, custom knives; Graci Landry, traditional art form; Bertrand Laurence, musician and composition; Kevin Levesque, candles and decor; Sharon Mossy, quilting and bag making; Gina Parent, painter; Abigail Perry, illustration; Therese L. Provenzano, painting and drawing; Danielle and Thomas Segen, music performance; Brahn Smith, photography; Sarah Smith, painting and drawing; Jayson Stickney, illustration and multimedia; Frank Sullivan, painting and teaching; and Diane Vo, stained glass.