About the Jack Pine Project

Workshops Now Underway!

Workshops for the Jack Pine Project are taking place right now. Currently three are in progress: “Songwriting for Self-Expression” with Carla Tanguay, “Coronavirus Mind Mapping” with Jessica Hamilton-Jones, and “Scenes from a Darkened Stage” with Stephen Legawiec. Several more workshops are scheduled to begin in the coming weeks. For more information about all our workshops, and to register, see our Workshop Registration page.

Participation in all of our workshops is free, and most are open to the public (a few are restricted to certain groups or places). Best of all, no experience is necessary! If you are a resident of Maine and would like to express your thoughts, feelings, and perspectives about the pandemic through art, one of our workshops might be the perfect place to do it. You will work with a talented Maine artist to learn a particular skill, such as printmaking, weaving, or songwriting. Then you and other members of your group will create your own art, individually or as a group, to help tell the story of the coronavirus pandemic here in Maine.

All we ask is that you allow us to use your art on our project website, and eventually at one or more live events here in Maine (remember those?). You get to keep the original art, although we might ask to borrow it to display for a limited period at the Hutchinson Center in Belfast or another University of Maine or community location.

While most workshops are for adults, several are open to children, and a couple are specifically designed to create a shared experience between parents and kids. All of the workshops are intended to create a relaxed, joyful space where people can reflect on their experiences over the past few months, and create art that shares their emotions and stories with the wider community. We invite you to be a part of this unique experience of the arts!

Workshop registration now open! Click here to learn more.

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 responds 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 work with different groups to help them express their thoughts, feelings, concerns, and hopes for the future. 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!

More Questions?

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.