2021 Alumni news

Hewnoaks alumni are out in the world doing amazing things! We’ll keep a running list here. To see alumni news from 2018 and before, click here.

(If you are a past participant in our program, please drop us a line so we can celebrate what you’ve been doing.)


2021 resident Ashley Page had work in the exhibition Vision and Visibility at 3S Artspace in Portsmouth, NH in November and December. She also created “Captured Curiosities”, a holiday window scene for Flea for All in Portland.

Brian Smith, another 2021 resident, had work in the November exhibition Human, Nature at Icosa Art Collective in Austin, TX.

Laundry Day 3, an exhibition and fundraiser at New System Exhibitions in Portland, drew heavily on Hewnoaks alumni, including Aaron Stephan, Alexis Iammarino, Ashley Page, Brian Smith, Catherine Callahan, Isaac Jaegerman, Isabelle O’Donnell, Jenny McGee Dougherty, Jessica Gandolf, Jimmy Viera, Mary Hart, Michel Droge, Nate Luce, and Tessa O’Brien.

Great and Small, an exhibition open through January 29 at Cove Street Arts, also included a group of Hewnoaks artists: Liz McGhee, Michel Droge, Penelope Jones, and Roy Germon.

Writers Anne Britting Oleson, Chelsea Conaboy, and Kevin St Jarre have announced new books.

Pamela Moulton, our summer manager, has been busy, too – she has work in Majestic Fragility, a large installation about ocean health at Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences.


Aaron T. Stephan recently unveiled his newest public art commission, Path’s Rising, at the Tampa International Airport. Building on Aaron’s interest in recontextualizing everyday objects on a monumental scale, the installation consists of 300 handmade wooden ladders suspended above the terminal.

Michel Droge‘s solo show, Deep Sea, appears at the Maine Jewish Museum from Oct. 7 – Nov. 12. The paintings in Deep Sea are inspired by conversations with Beth Orcutt, Senior Research Scientist at Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Science, who studies microbial life in deep-sea environments and the effects of deep-sea mining on the ocean’s ecosystems. These paintings are informed by these sublime environments, mysterious life forms, uncharted territories, and conversations about the risks of human impact in these rarely seen primordial places.

Works by both Karen Gelardi and Hilary Irons appear in Speedwell Projects exhibition Witchgrass from Sept. 30 to Oct. 10. The four artists featured in Witchgrass respond to the intricacies, resiliency, metaphor, fantasy, and spirituality they observe in a vast botanical ecosystem. The title of the exhibit is based on Pulitzer Prize winner Louise Gluck’s powerful pleading poem of love and pain from the point of view of the natural world. Work Hilary executed in her 2021 residency Hewnoaks will be on display.

The Center for Maine Contemporary Art’s fall/winter lineup of group and solo shows draws heavily on Hewnoaks alumni. (All shows below run from Oct. 1, 2021 to Jan. 9, 2022.)

Ryan Adams is showcased Lessons, his larges solo exhibition to date, which is anchored by a 33ft mural in his signature “gem style,” expanding his project of abstracted, text-based wall works that grew out of his early graffiti practice. The mural will feature a phrase of advice his mother often gave him as a minority youth growing up in Portland to help him negotiate life in a predominantly white community.

Ryan (and wife, Rachel Adams), are also included in a group show at New System Gallery that runs from Sept. 24 to Oct. 10.

Ana Hepler’s sculpture will be featured in CMCA’s main lobby in a show entitled, Spatial Relations. Her work will appear in dialogue with that of two other leading artists, Elizabeth Atterbury and Gordon Hall. The exhibition will be installed much like an indoor sculpture garden, with each artist contributing multiple sculptures ranging widely in scale and sharing a direct, visible use of materials, including wood, ceramic, metal, concrete and cardboard.

Into Action is a thematic group exhibition featuring photography and photo-based works set in nature that either capture, stage or perform actions for the camera, propose actions for visitors, or feature interactions with nature created in post-production. The exhibition includes installation-based presentations by Cig Harvey, Julie Poitras Santos, and Shoshanna White, along with more traditionally formatted works by Jennifer Calivas, Mark Dorf, and Ray Ewing.



Juniper Ginger, fresh from her residency at Hewnoaks this summer, will perform at Creative Portland’s First Friday Art Walk Summer Stage in Monument Square in Portland on Friday, Sept. 3, alongside a lineup of other Maine musical acts scheduled to play from 5 – 8 pm.

Michel Droge’s painting, Ore Mountain – Katahdin Ironworks, II (pictured below) has pride of place in the L.C. Bates Museum summer exhibition, Marks and Tracks, which features artists working on themes that engages with the natural world by exploring how the landscape has been marked by geological processes or by human presence, the ground by its inhabitants (both human and animal), and animate beings and inanimate things by time. To view the virtual exhibition click here (scroll down to bottom for video).

Aaron T. Stephan’s monumental sculpture, Simple Twist of Fate (2020) will be on view in CMCA’s public courtyard from June 29 through August 31, 2021. The sculpture is composed of interlocking, hand-twisted concrete blocks that form a free-standing spiral structure. The sculpture’s spiral form and color palette dynamically capture light and shadow in a multitude of ways throughout the day.

Congratulations to Caitlin Shetterly for selling her debut novel, Peter and Alice in Maine, to Harper, the flagship imprint of global publisher HarperCollins! The novel tells the story of a New York City couple fleeing the COVID-19 pandemic — as well as a recent betrayal — and holing up in their second home in Maine, only to find they cannot escape the fault lines of their complicated family dynamics.

Tessa O’Brien’s solo show at Dowling Walsh Gallery in Rockport, Maine, displayed selected works from her Eastport series. Her works distill the essence of the extremely remote coastal town of Eastport, Maine, which is, in Tessa’s words “a borderland, with little red buoys marking the thin line between the United States and Canada, and a dramatic tide that highlights the push & pull between ocean and land. The line between nature and humans there is thin, and the border between the past and present feels this was as well.”



Written as a reflection on her 2019 work in Alingsås, Sweden for the 2019 Göteborg International Biennial for Contemporary Art (GIBCA) Extended, Julie Poitras Santos’ Walking the Forest Imaginary: a breath between us was published in the International Journal of Education Through Art (Volume 17 Number 1) this year. You can also read a curatorial essay she wrote on the works of Elizabeth Atterbury, Tad Beck, Sage Lewis, and Amanda Marchand for Parallax/Geography at the ICA at MECA.


San Francisco’s Catharine Clark Gallery opened its Spring 2021 program with Doing and Undoing, the gallery’s debut solo exhibition of work by multi-disciplinary artist and Hewnoaks alum, Jen Bervin. Encompassing fiber works, installation, and video, Bervin’s presentation draws on the poetic tensions of text/textile, inviting viewers to reflect on language as a material and technology for intimate forms of connection.


Hewnoaks alumnus and current Board Member, Gibson Fay-Leblanc celebrates the publication of his much-anticipated second collection of poems, Deke Dangle Dive on May 11. Please join Mechanics’ Hall, SPACE, and PRINT: A Bookstore for the book launch. This event will include reading and conversation between Gibson and poet Samaa Abdurraqib, fiction writer Lewis Robinson (both of whom are Hewnoaks participants) and nonfiction writer Jaed Coffin. Deke Dangle Dive explores illness, fatherhood, brotherhood, and masculinity through a variety of lenses, including ice hockey and the natural world. Register for the event here.

Tad Beck’s new exhibition, Eyes Of, is on display at Grant Wahlquist Gallery until June 21, 2021. Don’t let travel hesitancy keep you from experiencing the show: you can view a video walkthrough here and read reviewers enthusing over his work at The Brooklyn Rail, the Portland Press Herald and Art New England.

Michelle Hauser is exhibiting a selection of photographs from her series, Meeting Hall Maine, which records for posterity the documentation of hundreds of meeting halls found throughout the state. This photographic exploration of a lesser known aspect of Maine’s folk history will be on view at the Maine Jewish Museum in Portland until May 7th, 2021. 

February – March

Bess Welden’s play, Death Wings, was named the State of Maine winner of the 2020 Clauder Competition for New England Playwrights. Read more about the competition and all the winners here. Congratulations, Bess! North Shore Readers Theater in Newburyport, MA will stream a zoom-recorded reading of MADELEINES followed by a talkback on Saturday, March 13 at 10:00 AM EDT. Register for the free event here.

Works by Greta Bank, Gregory Jamie, Julie Poitras Santos, Deborah Wing-Sproul and Ryan Adams feature in a group exhibition, Untitled, 2020: Art From Maine In A _______ Time, at the Portland Art Museum from Feb. 12 – May 31. The exhibition presents a survey of contemporary Maine visual arts engaging with the psychic destabilizations and general upheaval wreaked by the pandemic.

Nicole Duennebier’s solo exhibition Floral Hex is on display at 13Forest Gallery in Arlington, MA from Feb. 27 – April 16. The show features a collection of 16 paintings Nicole has been working on since the beginning of the pandemic and injects a moody, subversive sensibility into the Dutch still life tradition.

Maia Snow’s installation Green Flash will hang in the window of Space Gallery in Portland from Jan. 8 – Feb. 19. The green flash is a rare optical phenomenon sometimes glimpsed around sunset or sunrise, and Snow’s work is an exploration of the parallels between queerness and fleeting atmospheric effects. Snow, who divides their time between Austin, TX and Portland, celebrates the complexities of queer sexuality, gender, and the non-binary body in their work.


Carolyn Gage has had a busy year! She recently published a collection of six plays entitled The Island Collection and completed a new play about pioneering geneticist (and Nobel laureate) Barbara McClintock, In McClintock’s Corn. The new play explores McClintock’s work on genetic diversity and her personal relationships in light of our understanding of her today as a woman with autism. Carolyn also produced a website about the historically famous lesbians who had homes on the island where she lives: “The Lesbian History Trail of Mount Desert Island.”

Sandell Morse’s memoir, The Spiral Shell, a French Village Reveals Its Secrets of Jewish Resistance in World War II, was released last spring by Schaffner Press. The book grew out of several residencies Sandell undertook in the French village of Auvillar, where she befriended local residents and learned about the townsfolks’ unheralded resistance efforts during the Vichy regime, which in turn shed light on her own complex family history. Order a copy here.

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