“The Artful Activist”
Thursday, June 14th, 6:30-7:45pm
Rockland Public Library
Co-sponsored by the Rockland Public Library
Artist or Activist? Three accomplished Midcoast artists share stories about their passion to address the struggles of our social and physical environment and how they use and make art to care for the planet.
Kristen Baker – Painter
Sarah Baldwin – Owner, Bella Luna Toys
Kim Bernard – Sculptor
Moderator/Organizer: Dozier Bell – Painter
Krisanne Baker grew up on Cape Cod sailing myriad miles of New England waters with her father. Her love for the ocean and our connection to it as the basis of life is evident in the digital video ‘Upstream to Downstream (In Our Bloodstreams)’. She first encountered video production, but trained as a painter, at Rhode Island School of Design in 1982. Baker’s graduate work at Vermont College of Fine Arts forged her love for the natural environment with her art. Now an Ecological Art Activist, her multi-media sculptures, drawings, and digital media works are specifically concerned with the sustainability of water quality, availability, and the rights of all creatures on this water planet. For more than 20 years, Baker has lived and continues to work on the Coast of Maine.
Krisanne’s work as an ecological artist and activist conceptualizes her concern for humanities’ unsustainable practices and the vulnerability of water — from the local to the global. “We are drawn to its danger and of great necessity to sustain our lives. We are seduced by waters’ beauty; mesmerized and awed by its’ power or soothing meditative qualities, and have taken it for granted for far too long. Faced with environmental uncertainties, we need to rethink assumptions concerning conditions within reach of and beyond our own experiences. It’s necessary to remember the limits of the give and take system between this planet and its inhabitants–that person-by-person, it is possible to turn the tide of our current failing environment and humanity.“
Sarah Baldwin, owner of Rockland online natural toy store Bella Luna Toys, saw firsthand how video-game stares turned into inquisitiveness when, as a former kindergarten teacher at the Ashwood Waldorf School in Rockport, she introduced traditional wooden toys to the children.
After nearly 20 years as an early childhood teacher, Sarah was ready for her next adventure and bought Bella Luna Toys’ website in 2009 from the young mother in California who founded the website. Originally a small, home-based business, Sarah quickly grew the toy company to a seven-figure business with 12 employees. Bella Luna Toys now ranks number one on Google for “wooden toys.”
She has one guiding principle when deciding what toys to sell at Bella Luna: “I will not offer a toy for sale if I would not have used it in my classroom, or given it to my own tow children, even if I know that it is a popular toy that will sell.”
Kim Bernard shows her sculpture, installations and encaustic works nationally and has been invited to participate in many exhibits, some of which include the Portland Museum of Art, Currier Museum of Art, Fuller Craft Museum, Colby College Museum of Art, Art Complex Museum and UNH Museum of Art. Her work has been reviewed in the Boston Globe, Art News and feature in Art New England. Bernard is the recipient of the Piscataqua Region Artist Advancement Grant, a NEFA grant, several Maine Arts Commission Grants and was an artist-in-residence in the Physics Department at Harvard University in 2015-16 and the artis-in-residinece at the University of New England in 2016-17. She received her BFA from Parsons in 1987 and her MFA from Mass Art in 2010. Bernard gives presentations, lectures and offered workshops nationally as a visiting artist.