YARMOUTH — Art is everywhere, if one knows where to look, and educator and visual artist Adriane Herman intends to prove that includes the town’s recycling center at 659 East Main St.
Herman is the 2017 artist in residence with The KISMET Foundation, a nonprofit organization that supports community engagement by visual and performance artists.
Helping people make and see the connections between each other is one aspect of Herman’s work. She builds community and support by encouraging a new look at a familiar subject. Her take on the to-do lists people write themselves and the stuff they casually toss into the garbage or willfully bring to a town’s recycling center is one way.
Another is through working with different age groups in Yarmouth.
For Herman, community engagement means working with Yarmouth High School art teacher Holly Houston and Houston’s classes to find meaning in what people throw away. By thinking of what people collect and then, at some point, part with in a public space such as a transfer station, teens and adults can gain empathy and understanding of another person’s life.
Herman is inviting the Yarmouth community to participate in her projects, as sponsored by the foundation. These include lectures about making art from the town’s transfer station with YHS students; a talk on April 30 at the Merrill Memorial Library; a meeting with the Village Improvement Society on May 2; a presentation focused on Yarmouth’s Department of Public Works and Transfer Station on May 20, and an “Emotional Value Auction” on June 3 at the Yarmouth History Center.
From 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on June 3, feel free to bring a long-time possession. In a paragraph or so, participants are asked to describe the object’s background “and why it is the time to let go of this,” Herman said.
“I’m trying to create shared conversations,” she said. “I’m not a decluttering professional.”
To learn more about Herman’s work, check out adrianeherman.com.
It may seem like eavesdropping on a private conversation: viewing a wall of to-do lists that Herman has collected and colorfully posted from her academic and art making travels between the Midwest, western Massachusetts, and now, southern Maine.
For instance, in a zine – a micro-magazine – viewers can learn “How to cross things off your list of things to do.” It’s a playful way to peer into anonymous goals. “Films I want to see,” “Summer Jobs & Stuff,” and “Summer Projects” feature items crossed off the list, literally.
Over a cup of lemongrass tea in the peaceful, waterfront Yarmouth cottage and studio that is the site of the residency, Herman explained why making these connections is important to her.
“I want to use my skills and agency to draw attention to issues that really matter,” she said.
Her background and training allow her to do so, in word, thought and presentation. Herman earned a degree in English literature from Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts; a Master of Fine Arts in printmaking from the University of Wisconsin-Madison followed. She has taught at the Kansas City Art Institute and now, the Maine College of Art in Portland. At MECA, she is an associate professor of the MFA in Studio Art & Printmaking, meca.edu notes.
Additionally, she holds a Level II certificate in the Wilton Method of Cake Decorating, according to her online bio.
Tamson Bickford Hamrock, now a town councilor, established The KISMET Foundation several years ago to enrich the Yarmouth community. Linda Horstmann is the foundation’s vice president. Both women are active in the arts and greater Yarmouth community.
Herman speaks well of Houston, the high school teacher; it may Houston’s high students who will be most beneficially affected by Herman’s residency.
Houston “has been so wonderfully generous in integrating my project into six classes,” said Herman. “She is a scheduling wizard and a generous and engaging teacher and it is a privilege to work with her.”
Educator Adriane Herman, the third artist-in-residence of Yarmouth- based The KISMET Foundation, will speak about her visual art work in a 3 p.m. program, April 30, at the Merrill Memorial Library.