Exhibit opening Sept. 14

Winners of book writing/art contest announced

Sep 05, 2019
The cover of "Coastal Maine in Words and Art," featuring a photograph by Yohaku Yorozuya entitled "Vanishing Point."

ROCKLAND — The Solon Center for Research and Publishing announced its first writing/art project in conjunction with an exhibit at the center’s gallery, Fukurou, this past spring. The challenge for writers was to choose a fine art photograph that will be exhibited and write a story based on the image. The combination marries visual arts with the written word, helping Maine’s creative economy flourish. This unique new platform for writers in Maine brings the artistic community together with wordsmiths, which offers exciting unforeseen collaborations.

The result of the contest was pleasantly overwhelming. The center received 88 entries to go with 23 images. Because of the quality of the submissions, the center decided some of the photographs would be paired with more than one story.

The images depict Rockland and the coast in its myriad situations, moods and emotions. The writers told stories with depth, insight, candor, irony, wit and humor. Anyone who has ever visited Maine’s coast will be able to relate to them. They’ve put humankind’s instinctive emotional connection to the sea into words.

The stories with art are published in "Coastal Maine in Words and Art," which will be sold during the exhibit, on Amazon, at local Maine bookstores, in the gallery, and worldwide through Ingram. Winners herald from across Maine. Some have been published before, but for the vast majority this is their first book publication. The writers are: Mark Aufiery, Eola Ball, S.M. Belair, M. E. Brinton, Donna Chellis, Diana Coleman, Steve Feeney, N.T. Franklin, Lee Heffner, Donna Hinkley, Khristina Marie Landers, Rosemarie Nervelle, Ed Peele, Lynn Smith, Sandra Sylvester, Lee Van Dyke, and John Holt Willey.

The opening night reception on Saturday, Sept. 14, from 5 to 8 p.m. will be a book-signing celebration with authors and the fine art photographers Yohaku Yorozuya and Ramona du Houx at Gallery Fukurou, 20 Main St.

Every writer published will receive a free book and promotion of their story on the center's multiple platforms. The exhibit will run to November. All proceeds from the sales of books and art will be placed into a fund for next year’s exhibit of the same kind. The book goes on sale world-wide Sept. 14.

The Maine Humanities Council has provided a generous grant for the project that will enable The Solon Center to donate books to libraries across Maine. MHC is a statewide non-profit organization that uses the humanities as a tool for positive change in Maine communities. For more information, visit mainehumanities.org. Cellardoor Winery of Lincolnville graciously donated wine for the opening night reception.

Fukurou means owl in Japanese as well as prosperity and health. The owl in Ancient Greece often is associated with Athena, the arts and wisdom. The  gallery represents Maine artists, and fosters cross-cultural connections with Japanese artists and others. It works to help the humanities flourish in communities across Maine. The books have themes of long-term intrinsic value and are published through the gallery's imprint, Polar Bear & Company. For more information, visit galleryfukurou.com.

About the photographic artists/The Solon Center

Yohaku Yorozuya is an artist with gallery Fukurou. He is renowned for his use of classic darkroom techniques. He’s used Ansel Adams’ zone system, polarization, solarization, as well as a camera obscura and many other methods over his career. He sometimes develops his images using ocean water, following a tradition of a few of the masters. He is a true craftsman, ensuring that all his techniques are personally applied in the darkroom. Some of his images are prophetic, like the Twin Towers series, which depicts the Towers in the 1980s, when he felt compelled to extensively record them from various perspectives. His images immortalize their memory.

Yohaku (aka Takafumi Suzuki) is a professor at Nihon University in Tokyo, where for many years he led the Department of Photography at the College of Art. He is the assistant dean and professor at the University of International Fashion in Tokyo, with branches in Osaka and Nagoya. He is a director of the Japan Society for Arts and History of Photography, as well as a member of Kokugakai (Society of Masters of Modern Japanese Art), the Japan Society of Image Arts and Sciences, and the Photographic Society of Japan.

Disclosure: Ramona du Houx is the other the artist in the book/exhibit. She is also the president and co-founder of the Solon Center for Research and Publishing and owns Maine Insights.

The Solon Center for Research and Publishing is a 501(c)3 nonprofit Maine Public Benefit Corporation that helps build community in Maine and beyond through educational, literary, scientific and artistic means, with publications, research, exhibits, events and other initiatives. SCRP is also a platform where people from diverse disciplines can examine issues of cultural and environmental importance, while developing connections. For more information, visit soloncenter.com.

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