Foothills Arts Center exhibit celebrates 20th anniversary

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WILTON – The Foothills Arts Center celebrates its 20th anniversary with an exhibit by four Foothills artist-teachers and a student photographer. “Looking from the Inside Out” opens with a public reception and party on Sunday, Feb. 1, from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Foothills Arts Center in the Bass-Wilson Building in downtown Wilton.

One spectacular piece in the exhibit is an 8-foot by 16-foot mural that depicts self-portraits by the four Foothills’ teachers. The four mural panels reflect the great diversity of approaches of these artists, who have used a variety of materials, from oil pastels to paints and special pencils, to express their inner and outer selves.

Debbi Hiltz is a creative and versatile educator with over 26 years of teaching experience, including nine in MSAD 9. She says, “I thrive on learning and trying new things, and, in turn, in my teaching, I encourage others to take risks and explore all that life has to offer and teach.”

Hiltz will exhibit pastel portraits, pencil self-portraits, photo/mixed media collage, relief sculptures, block prints, still lifes and landscapes in oil.

Kay Seefeldt, pictured at center above, is a teacher of watercolors and mixed media. Having recently retired from teaching language arts at Jay Middle School, she now has more time to experiment with a variety of materials. “Today loose watercolor landscapes of rural Maine predominate in my body of work, but experimental abstract is gaining favor in my artistic journey.”

Seefeldt’s portion of the exhibit will feature collages using traditional encaustic (hot wax) and a variety of papers, an art form that “captivates me with its velvety finish and sweet scent of bee’s wax.”

Danielle Guerrette, pictured at left above, a MSAD 9 middle school art teacher, is a painter at heart who also enjoys learning and implementing new techniques and media. “My art tells a story of both the trying and spectacular times in my life. Trees are a recurring image I use—the way life branches out, the unexpected and unpredictable; the longer it has to grow, the deeper the roots go.”

Guerrette will have self-portraits on exhibit, most in oils and some mixed media.

The artwork of Kim Jacques, pictured at right above, an elementary art teacher in SAD 9, focuses on creating a visual story. “To me,” she says, it’s surrealism not quite committed. It may be realistic in nature; however, one element may lead its observer to contemplate a possible hidden meaning. Teaching art at the elementary level has rejuvenated my love for fantasy.”

The body of Jacques’ work in the exhibit includes a combination of black and white hand and still-life stories, along with other subjects using mixed media.


Photographer Samuel Cohen is shown during a trip to the Arava Valley, in southern Israel.

Samuel Cohen, a senior at Mt. Blue High School who will be attending New York University in the fall, has already started his own business, Adiv Photography. He has been inspired by photographers throughout the world, especially the clean, artistic images of Edward Weston, the tableaux of Jeff Wall, and the New York City street photography of Gus Powell.

Cohen’s photographs have won prizes at the Franklin County Fair for five years in a row. He also won first prize in the 2008 Maine Coast Heritage Trust Photography Contest.

Included in the exhibit will be photographs that he took in the U.S., Israel, and several other countries. He enjoys photographing people the most. He says, “A good portrait should shine light into the depths of the subject’s character, but this is much easier said than done.”

The Foothills Arts Center, founded in 1989, is the region’s community arts center. For more information, including additional hours to view the exhibit, please contact Director Anne Geller at 645-7117 or info@foothillsarts.org.

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