Welcome to the Maine Jewish Museum, located in Portland’s East End neighborhood. The museum is housed within the restored Etz Chaim Synagogue, a turn-of-the-century house of worship. The museum has been the venue for contemporary art exhibitions for the past eight years. These exhibitions, which change every six weeks, feature established, Jewish-connected, and Maine-connected artists.
Exhibiting Maine’s Jewish artists links our Jewish artists to Maine’s rich artistic history and highlights their place in Maine’s exciting contemporary art scene which includes but is not at all limited to the following: Winslow Homer, the Monhegan Island and Ogunquit artist colonies, Colby College Museum of Art, Haystack Mountain on Deer Isle, Maine Media Workshops in Rockport, Skowhegan School of Painting, and the Portland Museum of Art. We are thrilled to display the artists chosen by Curator Nancy Davidson and Photography Curator Nanci Kahn and share it with you!
The museum also houses Jack Montgomery’s photo exhibit of Holocaust survivors who settled in Maine as well as a permanent exhibition of Maine Jewish History.
Current exhibits run from August 19 – October 3
Masks optional. Please maintain 6ft distance.
Victoria Elbroch’s trees are 1,000 years old, so it is fitting to dedicate this exhibition in honor of the 100th Anniversary of Etz Chaim Synagogue, Tree of Life. The Maine Jewish Museum hopes they will celebrate that many years in the future.
Extraordinary trees, especially ancient oaks, cast a spell over me. Their strange gnarly bark and peculiar anatomy awaken an uncontrollable urge to stop and draw. These majestic survivors are a metaphor for all I hold dear: wisdom, family, connection, shelter and resilience, and as a reminder of the fleeting nature of our lives in comparison to their lengthy life spans. Trees and forests worldwide are in a relentless confrontation with a warming planet. I can’t help wondering how much longer the oldest trees will be around, with toxins in the air, climate change upsetting the seasons and violent storms ravaging the country?
It is with awe and respect that I try to alter perceptions with my work, reminding all of us of the threats to, and importance of the natural world. I have read extensively about how trees communicate through their root systems using the “wood wide web” and look after their families to maintain forest health. They are themselves ecosystems supporting teaming, invisible life in the branches and under the forest floor. Through my work I try to encourage people to take the time to imagine both worlds, one above the ground and the other below, seated in the enduring landscape.
Fineberg Family Community Room
Anne Ireland’s landscapes reflect her deep connection to the woods and waters of mid coast Maine. Covid travel restrictions were not a problem for Anne whose farm and nearby trails provided a wealth of material for these paintings. She uses sketches and photographs to record her immediate impressions on location and brings them to her studio. Capturing her initial emotional understanding of a place, she begins painting with a robust application of color to describe the light. Creating simplified shapes, the details are distilled to serve the power of the bigger picture. The painting then becomes its own reference as it evolves.
Anne Ireland grew up outside of New York City and spent every summer in Maine at her family’s saltwater farm on the New Meadows River where she now lives. After graduating from Bowdoin College and working in NYC Anne and her family moved to Maine in 1984 where she continued her education at the Maine College of Art. She has shown in galleries throughout New England and Florida and is in the collections of numerous corporations and hospitals. She is represented by Moss Galleries and The Gallery at Somes Sound. Anne maintains studios in Ft. Andross, Brunswick, Maine and Sarasota, Florida.
Phyllis Graber Jensen
Jody S. Sataloff Art and History Pavilion
Shalom, Sisters features 20 photographs of Jewish women and girls affiliated with Auburn’s Temple Shalom Synagogue-Center, a community Phyllis Graber Jensen joined when she moved to Lewiston, Maine, in 1992. She presents the lives of women in posed and candid moments, together and alone, some in the environment of the synagogue, others beyond it. The photographs create a collective portrait of Jewish women in Maine who are strong, warm, and spiritually and geographically tied.
Phyllis Graber Jensen is the director of photography and video for the Bates College Communications Office. She has worked for Maine Times and the Boston Herald, where her photographs received recognition from the National Press Photographers Association, the Boston Press Photographers Association, the Associated Press, and the Washington Journalism Review. Her commitment to storytelling has included multimedia projects about Lewiston’s public schools and its Jewish community, as well as three films screened at the Maine Jewish Film Festival and an essay anthology on the L-A immigration experience.