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Cape Elizabeth student art show raises awareness, and money, for land trust

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Cape Elizabeth student art show raises awareness, and money, for land trust

CAPE ELIZABETH — A group of young photographers is getting exposure this month at Thomas Memorial Library.

Through the end of June, the photographic works of 37 students from Cape Elizabeth Middle School will adorn the library's walls in an effort to raise consciousness and money for the town's open lands.

"Preserving the Land through Art" is a juried collection of color photographs that examine the hills and dales of Robinson Woods II – a 63-acre parcel that is open to the public and managed by the Cape Elizabeth Land Trust. Each photo is priced at $100, in an effort to raise money for the trust.

The project was the brainchild of middle school art teacher Marguerite Lawler-Rohner, and funded for two years through an educational grant from the land trust.

On several occasions throughout the school year, Lawler-Rohner took her students to Robinson Woods II in hopes the students would "experience the landscape hands-on and become stewards of the land," she has said. Some students brought their own cameras, others were provided cameras for the project.

Thirty-seven photos were chosen by a jury, then professionally framed by Lawler-Rohner. Now they share the library's wall space with prints by Maine artist Carroll Thayer Berry.

The library plays host to a different artist or show each month, gallery organizer Julia Bassett Schwerin said. A wide range of artists, from well-established to newcomers, have displayed their work there.

Bassett Schwerin said the middle schoolers' work stacks up to previous shows.

"This is lovely," she said. "It's really nice to see such high quality from students."

Eighth-grader Acacia Fitts, whose photo is on display at the library, said the project was enjoyable. Her mother, Elaine Fitts, said she also appreciated Lawler-Rohner's ambitious idea.

"I think it's great that the teacher did this for the community – to raise money and awareness," she said.

Suzanne McGinn, co-chairwoman of CELT's Education Committee, said any funds raised by the project will go toward the trust's ongoing efforts to acquire land. During a similar project last year, student works earned about $700 for the acquisition fund.

CELT maintains more than 700 acres on 27 properties.

"Preserving the Land through Art" will be displayed a second time on July 14 during the trust's sixth annual Wet Paint Auction Benefit and Raffle. For more information, visit capelandtrust.org.

Ben McCanna can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or bmccanna@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @BenMcCanna.

Photo: Ben McCanna/The Forecaster

Eighth-grader Acacia Fitts walks past photos from "Preserving the Land through Art" – a juried art show at Thomas Memorial Library. The show features 37 photographs of Robinson Woods taken by students at Cape Elizabeth Middle School. The photos, which are on display through the end of the month, are for sale. The proceeds will benefit the Cape Elizabeth Land Trust. Fitts is one of the show's 37 entrants, with an abstract photo of snow melting in a hollowed tree stump.