Once Upon a Time in Maine: Fairy Tale Art & Artifacts

This unique exhibition focuses on twenty-six fairy tales and the “ordinary objects” that are imbued with magical powers in the stories. To illustrate their meaning, thirty-one local artists have created new works of art to be paired with artifacts from the museum’s collection that speak to the fairy tales’ use of familiar objects.

“A mirror was integral to the story of Snow White, and a spindle was the turning point of Sleeping Beauty,” the Museum’s director and curator of the exhibition, Cynthia Walker, explained. “The authors of these stories used familiar objects that were ‘every day’ to link the make-believe with reality. The Museum chose to focus on fairy tales because they are the stories that we all share as children. As a museum, it’s very important to celebrate our common experiences.”

Artists creating works for the show include: Claudia Hopf, Taylor Mirabito, Virginia Souza, Jenne James, Deb Desmond Meserve, Patrick Plourde, Marguerite Genest, Lisanne James, Stephen Beckett, Pam Perras, Jean Colquhoun, Steve Hrehovcik, Eloise Genest, and Deirdre O’Brien, among many others. Fairy tales discussed include: Beauty & the Beast, Sleeping Beauty, The Emperor’s New Clothes, The Fisherman and the Jinni, Peter Pan, Twelve Dancing Princesses, The Little Mermaid, Alice in Wonderland, The Golden Key, and Cinderella.

Fairy tales connect generations of people across the globe to the same familiar stories of love, bravery, loss, and cruelty that teach us lessons throughout our lives. Visitors to the exhibition will find thirty-two pieces of art (both two-dimensional and sculptural) and artifacts narrating some of their favorite childhood stories.

The exhibition is supported by a generous Arts & Humanities Grant by the Maine Arts Commission and Maine Humanities Council. The “Once Upon a Time in Maine: Fairy Tale in Art and Articat,” opened in late April 22 and will run through October.