Maine in America Award goes to Shakers

May 06, 2014
Pictured from left are Sister Francis, Brother Arnold and Sister June of Maine’s Shaker Community in New Gloucester.

Rockland — The Farnsworth Art Museum has announced that the Shakers of Sabbathday Lake will be the recipients of the 2014 Maine in America Award, presented by the Farnsworth’s Presidents Council to honor an individual or group who has made an outstanding contribution to Maine’s role in American art.

This year’s presentation will occur during the Farnsworth Art Museum’s Summer Gala Friday, July 11, at the Strand Theatre. Previous winners of the Maine in America Award were John Wilmerding (2006), Andrew Wyeth (2007), Will Barnet (2008), Robert Indiana (2009), Alex Katz (2010), Paul Caponigro (2011) and Dahlov Ipcar (2012).

The Sabbathday Lake Shaker Community was founded in 1783, in what was then called Thompson's Pond Plantation, by a group of Shaker missionaries. In less than a year's time, nearly 200 people gathered together in this place that previously had only been the home of some five farming families.

The new influx of people initially made do with the existing homes and outbuildings. On April 19, 1794, they formally organized as a Community and, to mark the event, began to build a Meeting House for public worship. The next year saw the construction of the first communal Dwelling House and the next decade saw the addition of workshops, mills, barns and other related buildings necessary for laying permanent foundations.

Today, Sabbathday Lake is the only active Shaker Community. It presently consists of 18 buildings located on 1,800 acres of land. The community maintains a tree farm, apple orchard, vegetable gardens, commercial herb garden, hay fields, pastures, a flock of sheep and a variety of livestock. Other occupations include manufacturing of fancy goods, basket making, weaving, printing and the manufacturing of some small woodenware.

On Saturday, June 14, the Farnsworth Art Museum will open an exhibition titled “The Shakers: From Mount Lebanon to the World.” The exhibition of approximately 200 works will run through Jan. 4 in the museum’s Morehouse wing. The exhibition has been organized in partnership with the Shaker Museum/Mount Lebanon in New Lebanon, N.Y.; and Maine’s Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village Museum in New Gloucester.

The 2014 Farnsworth Art Museum Gala July 11 will begin at 5 p.m. with the presentation of the Maine in America award and continue throughout the Farnsworth Art Museum, with guests entering through the Main Street doors. The event's creative team has been diligently at work and the evening is shaping up to be spectacular, featuring fun and fabulous décor and a delightful dinner provided by Swan’s Way Catering. For more information, visit farnsworthmuseum.org.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115; or dernest@courierpublicationsllc.com.

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