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Arts and Culture

Maine Basket Maker Wins Prestigious $50,000 Fellowship

Jennifer Mitchell
Maine Public
Gabriel Frey, left, and his mother Gal Frey gather sweetgrass for basketmaking at Acadia National Park in August of 2018.

ORONO, Maine - A Maine man who is part of a long tradition of basket makers in a native American tribe has received a prestigious fellowship and its $50,000 award. Thirty-eight-year-old Gabriel Frey is a Passamaquoddy basket maker from Orono known for adding flourishes of color and other notes of personal expressions to traditional Indian work baskets. The Portland Press Herald reports he is the latest artist from Maine to win a United States Artists fellowship for his work.
The cash prize is unrestricted, which means Frey can use the money as he wishes. Frey says he works as a massage therapist and makes baskets on his own time, so the money is life-changing.
Frey says he will have more flexibility to buy materials like leather to use in his basketwork.