Picture This: Project Profiles Islanders

BAR HARBOR — “When the teacher was busy with the other students, we hid candy inside the paper towel rolls so we could have it,” recalls Eva Marie Bracy Galyean of the two-room schoolhouse she attended on Great Cranberry Island.


Janet Best Badger, far left, takes a photo of Eva Galyean, far right, while Heliker-LaHotan Foundation staff member Tara Jones, center, looks on. — BECKY BUYERS-BASSO
Janet Best Badger, far left, takes a photo of Eva Galyean, far right, while Heliker-LaHotan Foundation staff member Tara Jones, center, looks on. — BECKY BUYERS-BASSO

Galyean’s stories of growing up on the island will be among a dozen that form the “Great Cranberry Island Portrait Project,” the upcoming exhibit at College of the Atlantic’s Ethel H. Blum Gallery. The exhibit, composed of etchings of island residents along with photographs and oral history excerpts, runs Monday, Jan. 18 through Friday, Feb. 12 with an opening from 4 to 6 p.m. on Jan. 18.

The project is the result of the work of printmaker Janet Best Badger of Bangor and photojournalist Becky Buyers-Basso of Bar Harbor. The two received a Maine Arts Commission Artists in Maine Communities grant to conduct this island portrait project. Ms. Buyers-Basso interviewed and photographed the residents, while Ms. Badger sketched them in preparation for making her intaglio etchings. The multimedia exhibit includes the etchings, photographs and the stories that emerged from the interviews. Viewers are invited to sit and read the islanders’ profiles.

The work was conducted over the summer of 2009; of the 39 year-round residents, the pair chose 12 individuals, ages 7 to 87, to interview, photograph and sketch. Over Columbus Day weekend, the work was given its island premiere. The Blum exhibit is the first mainland showing of the project.

Ms. Badger is a printmaker specializing in etching, mezzotint, and linoleum. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Texas at Austin and has also studied printmaking at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, and Moore College of Art in Philadelphia. Her work has been exhibited all over the United States, as well as in Antigua, Puerto Rico, and London, England. She spent three years in Moscow, Russia, working with etchers Leonid Zorin and Lyuba Yukina, culminating in her one-woman show at Studio Nivinskovo.

Ms. Buyers-Basso is a 1981 graduate of College of the Atlantic and holds a Bachelor of Journalism from Carleton University. She has worked as a journalist and photographer for the Bar Harbor Times, the Ellsworth American and most recently for the Mount Desert Islander. Her work has won awards from the Maine Press Association for Best Newspaper Series, Feature Photo and Investigative Reporting.

Funded in part by a grant from the Maine Arts Commission, an independent state agency supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, The Great Cranberry Island Portrait Project is an initiative of The Heliker-LaHotan Foundation, Inc., in collaboration with the Great Cranberry Island Historical Society.

The Blum Gallery exhibit is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call 288-5015.

For more arts & entertainment news, pick up a copy of the Mount Desert Islander.




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