Jack Pine Project Lecture Series

Two Maine music therapists along with a Maine-based theatre producer and director presented the results of their pandemic-related workshops in an April ’21 two-part virtual lecture series. 

The first talk, presented by Zoom on Friday, April 16th, featured music therapists Carla Tanguay and Kate Beever, who conducted separate workshops that taught non-musicians how to express their thoughts and feelings about the Covid pandemic through songs. Both presented the songs created during their workshops and discussed the larger role both music and music therapy can play in helping community members process their experiences of the pandemic.

On Friday, April 23rd, playwright, director, and producer Stephen Legawiec presented select monologues written and performed by members of the Maine theater community in his workshop, “Scenes from a Darkened Stage.” 

You can view both events on the Maine Folklife Center YouTube page. 

The Jack Pine Project, a community arts project organized by the Maine Folklife Center, Maine Studies Program, and the UMaine Hutchinson Center, was a series of free, virtual, open-to-the-public workshops designed to help Mainers tell their coronavirus stories through the arts. To learn more about all Jack Pine workshops and their results, click here.

Why the Jack Pine Project?

The COVID-19 pandemic and related economic shutdown has affected many aspects of life in Maine. People have experienced everything from isolation to food insecurity to anxiety and depression. Some groups have been even more deeply affected, including those in health care, eldercare, education, and essential services, among others. There are also many vulnerable and at-risk populations, from the elderly and those with chronic illnesses to those living in institutions that are prone to outbreaks.

The Jack Pine Project responded to this crisis by connecting artists, art educators, and art therapists with residents from around Maine. Through a series of individual workshops, Maine artists, musicians, writers, and others worked with different groups to help them express their thoughts, feelings, concerns, and hopes for the future. Maine residents worked with talented Maine artists to learn a particular skill, such as printmaking, weaving, or songwriting. Participants then created their own art, either individually or as a group, to help tell the story of the coronavirus pandemic here in Maine.

Community arts can empower people to express their feelings and tell their stories, helping them to cope with and heal from traumas, including our current state of crisis. They document life in a community at a particular moment, leaving a shared record for future generations that goes beyond news accounts and government reports.

The title of the project is drawn from the Jack Pine, a species native to Maine that thrives in areas burnt by wildfire, needing the heat of fire to release its seeds. The image of a seedling emerging from burnt ground is emblematic of Maine’s reemergence from the COVID-19 pandemic and state of social crisis that we find ourselves in, and the role of the arts in this process.

Contact Information

The Jack Pine Project is a collaboration of the Maine Folklife Center and Maine Studies Program at the University of Maine, and the UMaine Hutchinson Center in Belfast. The project is coordinated by Dr. Kreg Ettenger. You can email him at folklife@maine.edu, or call 207-581-1840. You can also learn more by contacting the UMaine Hutchinson Center in Belfast by phone at 207-338-8000 or email at hutchinsoncenter@maine.edu.

Supporting the Jack Pine Project

If you would like to support this project financially, an account has been created at the UMaine Foundation. You can make a gift by clicking on this link: http://our.umaine.edu/jackpine. Any donations made to this account will go directly and completely toward supporting additional workshops and/or exhibitions of the created artwork.

To make a gift by check, please mail it to the UMaine Foundation, attention of Matt Mullen, at one of its two offices (Orono or Falmouth). The mailing addresses and other information can be found HERE. Please write “ME Folklife Center – Jack Pine Project” on the memo line. We thank you for your interest and support!
For more information please see our Frequently Asked Questions page, or click on the links in the menu to go straight to the Workshop Registration or Artist/Instructor Info pages.