Arts and Culture

Arts and culture

Lauren Casselberry / Associated Press

PORTLAND, Maine - A medical examiner has been unable to determine the cause of pop artist Robert Indiana's death, but a spokesman says the death was not suspicious.
A spokesman told The Associated Press on Friday that the death was likely cardiac-related, but the official cause and manner of death is "undetermined.''
Indiana's "LOVE'' series is instantly recognizable around the world.  
Indiana died May 19 at age 89 at his Vinalhaven Island home 15 miles off the coast of Maine. His attorney said he died from respiratory failure.

YARMOUTH, Maine - Maine's clam harvest might be down, but the state is still ready to celebrate in honor of the shellfish.
The Yarmouth Clam Festival, a venerable celebration of Maine clams, is getting started on Friday. The festival has been around for more than 50 years and is free to the public. It includes a carnival that began on Wednesday and runs until Sunday.
The rest of the festival goes until Sunday, too. It includes food booths that are managed by local nonprofit groups. The festival expects to serve more than 6,000 pounds of clams.

Colby College Museum of Art

A significant painting by the renowned 20th Century painter Jackson Pollock now hangs in the Colby College Museum of Art.

Director Sharon Corwin says the painting, “Composition with Masked Forms,” was purchased last month for an undisclosed sum and hung this morning. Some art historians say the painting highlights a master artist working to develop his own style.

Corwin says she hopes the acquisition inspires curiosity in Mainers and tourists alike.

Charles Sykes / Invision

PORTLAND, Maine - A transgender former middle school student who fought to use the bathroom of her choice in Maine is preparing for her big screen debut.
Nicole Maines is starring in the indie horror film "Bit'' as a transgender teen trying to co-exist with and understand a group of feminist vampires in Los Angeles.  

MYSTIC, Conn. - A replica of a Viking longship that sailed across the Atlantic Ocean is scheduled to leave its current home in Connecticut.
The 115-foot Draken Harald Harfagre is scheduled to sail out of Mystic Seaport Museum on Monday. The Day reports that the Draken has been at the museum since 2016, where it has undergone maintenance while raising funds for the next leg of its voyage to Boothbay Harbor, Maine.
The vessel is scheduled to return to Mystic in October.

Rebecca Conley / Maine Public

Maine tourists or natives on a quest for lobster can find it in countless restaurants, grilled or baked, boiled or sautéed, whipped up into fancy gourmet dishes, or served humbly in the shell, alone on a plate.  But we wondered:  How do the people who catch those lobsters prefer to prepare and eat them?  We headed to the Tenants Harbor Fisherman’s Co-op to find out.  

Tom Wolfe, Pioneering 'New Journalist,' Dead At 88

May 15, 2018
Bebeto Matthews / Associated Press

NEW YORK - Author Tom Wolfe, who chronicled everything from hippies to the space race before turning his sharp eye to fiction, has died. He was 88.
Wolfe's agent Lynn Nesbit told The Associated Press that Wolfe died in a New York City hospital. Additional details were not immediately available.
The "new journalism'' reporter and novelist insisted that the only way to tell a great story was to go out and report it. His writing style was rife with exclamation points, italics and improbable words.

Deering High School

On Tuesday morning, 19-year-old Allan Monga of Westbrook stepped onstage in the first round of the Poetry Out Loud National Finals in Washington, D.C. He took a breath, exhaled, and recited W.E.B. Dubois’ 1907 poem, “The Song of the Smoke.”

If it wasn’t for a federal judge’s ruling, that performance likely wouldn’t have happened, because while Monga won Maine’s Poetry Out Loud competition last month, he wasn’t considered eligible for the national finals because of his immigration status.

Ed Morin / Maine Public/file

PORTLAND, Maine - A Maine nonprofit is working to restore a historic African-American church building ahead of its 200th anniversary.
The Portland Press Herald reports the Abyssinian Meeting House in Portland is the third-oldest church building in the U.S. built by a black congregation. The building dates back to 1828 and it saw visitors such as Frederick Douglass and William Lloyd Garrison.

Craig Becker / Courtesy Portland Museum of Art

The Portland Museum of Art is upending its admissions policy - it's going to make it free to everyone 21 years of age and under. The museum says it's part of a campaign to make the museum more welcoming and inclusive. Maine Public Radio’s Morning Edition host Irwin Gratz talked with two people integral to making that happen: Susie Konkel, who donated the money to cover the funds needed to make the change, and Elizabeth "Lizzie" Jones, who is with the museum.

Grant Helps Scholars Mine Church Records For Hidden History

Apr 9, 2018

BOSTON - A project to digitize the records of Congregational churches across New England has received a major boost with a more than $300,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
The churches date to the time of the Pilgrims and were the focal point of communities across Colonial New England. Their records from 1630 to 1800 contain details not just about religious life, but of everyday matters.
They're being put online by the Boston-based Congregational Library and Archives Hidden Histories project.

MONHEGAN ISLAND, Maine - An art museum in Maine has received a $1 million grant from the Wyeth Foundation and will have three years to match the grant.
Jaime and Phyllis Wyeth made the donation to Monhegan Museum of Art & History's $4 million fundraising campaign. The Portland Press Herald reports that the museum on Monhegan Island off midcoast Maine is one of the smallest museums in the state.
The museum, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, is only open for a few months a year and sits atop a steep hill.

Courtesy Maine Arts Commission

Maine's Poetry Out Loud champion this year comes from Zambia, and he has only lived in Maine for a few months. 

Allan Monga, a junior at Deering High School, won the competition Tuesday night with the poem "In the Desert" by Stephen Crane. 

The challenge includes approximately 9,500 students from across the state. Monga says winning it one of his top achievements since arriving in Maine.

Amy Bass has written about Lewiston's experience absorbing thousands of Somali immigrants. Her lens is soccer. Her book is entitled “One Goal.” Bass talks with Maine Public Radio’s Morning Edition host Irwin Gratz about what inspired her to write the book about the Lewiston High School soccer team.

Courtesy John Biewen

At the University of Southern Maine Saturday, audio journalist John Biewen, the host of the program Scene on Radio, and scholar Dr. Chenjerai Kumanyika will present one part of an audio series about "whiteness" and race, with a focus on racism in the North.

The talk comes just weeks after a Maine town manager was fired for posting racist comments online.

Biewen talked recently with Maine Public Radio's Morning Edition host Irwin Gratz, who asked him about an episode where Ojibwe tribe members in Wisconsin are harassed over traditional fishing rights.