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Art Exhibits

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 November 17 – January 3

Masks optional. Please maintain 6ft distance.

  • Dialogue: Duane Paluska and Ellen Golden

    Duane Paluska and Ellen Golden
    Fineberg Family Community Room

    Ellen Golden has chosen drawing as her genre to realize her aesthetic goals. What makes her drawings successful is her use of great energy, the love of small, precise details, neatness, clarity, and the ability to express notable personal insights and abilities.

    “My work flows from an intuitive and emotional response to a lifetime of experiences, travel and observation. I am interested in patterns within forms, the accumulation of small marks, the spaces in-between, the perception of space and depth, and the interplay of color. Each drawing emerges through a process of discovery. The drawings develop slowly with each mark a response to the ones that have gone before and each element a response to what has preceded it. The process is meditative and requires being fully present and open to possibility and change. The scale reflects the intimacy of the process and the experience of being present with the work.”

    Duane Paluska (1936-2020) was director of ICON Contemporary Art for over thirty years. He also devoted considerable time to studying and teaching, designing and constructing furniture and buildings, and making paintings and sculpture. Characteristics of these interests are blended to influence the creation of objects. His sculptures have influenced paintings, and elements of the paintings have influenced sculpture. “Euclid rules.”

    Images: (Top) Untitled, Acrylic on canvas on board, 2019, Duane Paluska (Bottom) Mr. Magic, 2 images 6×4 ink on paper 2021, Ellen Golden

  • The Pumpkin Patch

    A Traditional Buddhist Tale Illustrated by June Atkin
    Retold by Sybil Taylor– Heian International Publisher
    Spiegel Gallery

    With one hundred Prismacolor Pencils making thousands of calligraphic lines, June Atkin illustrates the story of “The Wise Old Man” who teaches his quarreling pumpkins to be still. In the accord of shared silence, they realize that “We are all connected in the great… big… beautiful pumpkin patch.” “Pumpkins” grew from a union of friendship and roots.

    Children of Jewish Psychoanalyst Fathers, June Atkin – illustrator, and Sybil Taylor – writer, both chose Buddhism as their modality of healing. Childhood friends, Sybil and June re-enter their “Land of Play” to create a book introducing children to meditation.

    June, a graduate of The Yale School of Art, has taught book illustration and computer graphics at several colleges. She has exhibited drawings, etchings and paintings, nationally. The Horn Book Inc., a seminal publication on children’s books, included June in illustrators of the decade: Illustators of Childrens Books 1957-1966. She is an exhibiting member of The Society of Illustrators Museum in New York City. Currently, June Atkin Studio is located on a pier in Portland, Maine.

    Image: The Sun Went Down Over The Garden, colored pencil

    Please enjoy this reading of The Pumpkin Patch: A Traditional Buddhist Tale, Illustrated by June Atkin and Retold by Sybil Taylor.

    Narration done by our very own Nancy Davidson.

  • Sojourn Israel

    Sean Alonzo Harris
    Jody S. Sataloff Art and History Pavilion

    At the end of 2019, I traveled to Israel with staff and students from the Center for Small Town Jewish Life at Colby College to document their educational experience. We were an eclectic group from all walks of faith, Jewish, Muslim, Christian, and nonbelievers. The trip focused on gaining a deeper understanding of the history, culture, and conflict between Israel and Palestine. This body of photographs captures moments of everyday street life in between and through our shared learning and reflection on Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Nazareth.”

    Sean Alonzo Harris is a professional editorial, commercial and fine art photographer concentrating on narrative and environmental portraiture. Over the past 25 years, Sean’s work has been featured in a range of national publications, advertising campaigns, and exhibitions. In these varied contexts, Sean’s work focuses on human experience and identity and examines how individuals visualize themselves and how they are portrayed. He has received several awards and grants for his work including, Good Idea Grant and Arts in the Capital Program, from the Maine Arts Commission, the Broderson Bronze Award, and the VanDerZee Black Heritage Award, from the University of Lowell. Sean was selected as one of the 60 most collectible artists in Maine and featured in Maine Home and Design magazine.

    Image: We Were All Once Refugee, 21”x14.5”