Music, art connect Yarmouth and Brunswick

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YARMOUTH — With the help of a grant from the Elmina B. Sewall Foundation, 317 Main Street Community Music Center has developed a musical outreach program with artists from Spindleworks, a nonprofit arts center in Brunswick that serves adults with cognitive disabilities.

Artists from Spindleworks will visit the music center over six weeks. The two organizations will work together to create musical recordings that represent the artists’ work.

John Williams, 317’s executive director, said the organization is dedicated to building community through teaching and playing music. This collaboration is another way to bring music to an under-served population, he said.

“Spindleworks does so much with art and woodworking, looms, knitting and model building, we all felt it made sense to add music to the list,” Williams said. “So far this has been an amazing experience.”

Alyce Ornella, an artist mentor at Spindleworks, said the artists bring a piece of visual art with them to 317 Main Street – sculpture, drawing or embroidery – and with the help of music instructor Benjamin Birkbeck, will compose a piece of music that relates to their artwork.

“This is more of a collaborative activity for the artists then the usual free-form artwork,” Ornella said. “And since this is a pilot program, we will see where it goes. We may compile the recordings and make them available online or we may make a CD.”

Lisa Bisceglia, 317’s outreach coordinator, said this program is a way to “put more community in the community music center title.”

“Spindleworks is a great organization and we are excited to work together,” she said.

Williams said he is looking forward to reaching out to more groups over time.

“There are so many opportunities like this out there,” Williams said. “Music is a powerful vehicle and we want to share it with others.”

Amy Anderson can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or

Sidebar Elements

Artist Kim Devries, left, takes a music lesson with Ben Birkbeck of 317 Community Music Center in Yarmouth. Artists from Spindleworks in Brunswick will work with Birkbeck over six weeks to create a musical composition that represents a piece of their art.