Ode to the Common Ground Country Fair

ArtHOPEatCGCF

Art HOPE at the CGCF

The air is crisp, the colors are bright, and local Farmer’s Markets are at peak abundance. Time for the autumnal equinox and to celebrate everything organic at the 40th annual Common Ground Country Fair in Unity, Maine on September 23, 24 & 25. The legendary community gathering is presented by Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA). Formed in 1971, it is the oldest and largest state organic organization in the country and the purpose is to help farmers and gardeners: grow organic food, fiber and other crops; protect the environment; recycle natural resources; increase local food production; support rural communities; and illuminate for consumers the connection between healthful food and environmentally sound farming practices. This mission is celebrated at the fair, and so much more. It is common ground for common good.
The Fair has a history of sustainability, promoting education, and grassroots innovation that is people-powered with hands-on dedicated volunteers, business leaders, artisans, organic cultivators, community builders, and change makers. At the fair there is a collective spirit of being together for the common good with common goals for a good life that inspires every aspect of the experience. Nearly 65,000 fairgoers of all ages will attend the three day event. You know you’ve arrived when you park on the grassy farmland and are welcomed by those wonderful parking volunteers, and then are transported by an antique tractor-pulled flatbed to the fair gate. Creativity is the way at the fair, and just getting there feels like a ground swell of wellness. There is much to do and see, and EAT!, and yes there’s coffee, too. Everything Maine and organic. Fairgoers can enjoy the many free activities, agricultural demonstrations and exhibitions, workshops, music performances, art displays, and youth programs. Of course it’s the best Maine-made shopping event of the season with many folk arts, crafters, growers, and natural product vendors.
There is much to learn at the fair. Education and enrichment events offer farming, gardening, forestry, livestock, cooking, herbs, health & whole life, environment, community and traditional arts themes. Each day there is a keynote speaker and featured presenters, and the various areas of the fair have workshops and demonstrations. These community forums connect fairgoers with shared ideas and new ways of thinking and living sustainably. I am a veteran of CGCF and am looking forward to being a speaker this year in the Health & Healing Area on Saturday the 24th at 2pm and Sunday 25th at 1pm. Join me there for a community talk based on my upcoming book, Art HOPE The Way to Creative Wellness, a practical guide to the topic and a universal application for everyday creativity that relates to our personal life and interests, the workplace, education, healthcare, and to our communities, corporations, and leadership, locally and globally. Human creativity is our most valuable and renewable natural resource. Let’s talk about that, and celebrate the organic rhythms of life. See you at the Common Ground Country Fair.

Creativity by the Sea

ArtHOPESeaWaterStudio

Creativity goes to the beach.

Take your creativity to the beach. You’ve packed all the essentials – sunscreen and sun apparel, blanket and chair, a towel for that refreshing dip in the ocean, and plenty to drink and munch on. It’s a load, but worth the lugging to set up your beach encampment on a beautiful August day. You’ll be walking, swimming, playing, napping and just relaxing, taking in all the sensations of summer by the sea. And what about a creative activity? Before you head off to the shore, include a creative thing that you love to do. Continue Reading →

The Legacy of Jane Staley: Mentor, Friend, Community Builder

Art HOPE Community Wellness Mosaic

Art HOPE Community Mosaic at the CCC

This post honors the late of Jane Staley, a mentor, friend, and the founder of the Cancer Community Center in Portland, Maine, where I have been teaching art classes since 2004. The legacy of her creative nurturing lives on in the Art HOPE workshops I teach at the Center, and in our Maine community. Recognize your angels…thanks, Jane. Continue Reading →