Friday, August 29, 2008

Eliot Residents Bring HOPE to National Convention

By Joe Hessert
Staff Columnist

Local artists Lauren Holmgren and Josh Dow are in Colorado this week to see their giant steel HOPE sculpture unveiled at the Democratic National Convention. Standing six feet high and mounted on a solid base, the sculpture was the result of months of hard work.
“We were asked whether we could do a larger sculpture,” Josh said in Green Foundry in Eliot before leaving for the convention, “and it turned out to be for Robert Indiana.” Indiana, who was born in Maine and lives in Vinalhaven was looking for a local foundry where the HOPE sculpture (similar to his iconic “LOVE” piece in the ‘60s) could be produced in a short period of time for the convention.
“The timeframe was so short,” said Holmgren who started work on the piece with Dow on June 23. They shipped the finished sculpture out to Colorado last week on the twenty-first of July. Lauren and Josh did the bulk of the work themselves, but enlisted the help of friends from the Massachusetts College of Art to help with final assembly.
“It was exciting,” Lauren said of their work on the project, which is both the highest profile piece they’ve done and the physically largest. “You go to art school,” Josh added, “and you know that maybe five percent of the people there will work in the arts. And not only do we get to do that every day, but two years after finishing school this giant art project falls out of the sky and lands in our lap. It’s pretty special.”
“And humbling,” said Lauren. “It made me appreciate the work we do every day.” Josh agreed. “Working with molten metal and being my own boss is the perfect fit for me,” said Josh who enjoys the challenge of his work.
Lauren, trained in sculpture, “loves being able to bring something from clay to bronze, from impermanent to permanent.” Making HOPE permanent at their foundry in Eliot was something that she was happy to be a part of.
The pair offers metalworking classes at the Green Foundry in Eliot through Sanctuary Arts. For more information or to sign up for a class visit
Caption: Lauren Holmgren and Josh Dow from Green Foundry in Eliot fabricated this Stainless Steel HOPE sculpture for the Democratic National Convention. (Courtesy photo)

Gifts from Berwick Academy Students Bring Help to Impoverished Village in Ghana

For nearly a month this summer, Berwick Academy eighth grade English teacher, Janet Miller, visited The Republic of Ghana in Africa on a group service trip. The group brought donations of medical supplies, school equipment and supplies, clothing, footwear, a solar panel, and much more for the impoverished village of Kpenoe (PEN-way). Upon their arrival, the group was given a special audience with the chief and elders of Kpenoe to present the donations and learn more about particular areas of need in the village.
In addition to material donations, Ms. Miller contributed over $3,000.00 in funds raised by Berwick’s eighth grade class. The students raised the money through a Walk-a-thon held in South Berwick this past spring. Part of Berwick Academy’s contribution went towards the first year of tuition for a high school student named Pearl Ayi. Pearl, who is from the village of Kpenoe, hopes to someday become a nurse. The generous donation from the Berwick community has helped make this a genuine possibility for the young woman. Ms. Miller hopes to continue funding the girl’s high school education through fundraising with her Berwick students over the next few years.
Another portion of the funds raised by students at Berwick Academy went towards the construction of a clean water purification facility being built in Kpenoe. The facility will provide, for the first time in the history of the village, fresh water made available free of charge in each of the clan areas of the Kpenoe community.
In addition to donating supplies and funds to the village of Kpenoe, Ms. Miller also donated her time, teaching English as a Second Language at the Mawuko Secondary School for Women, in the town of Ho. Her classroom was filled with an astounding 41 students who had the bare minimum for school books, supplies, and equipment. Knowing this situation, she brought copies of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Romeo and Juliet, as well as school supplies, all donated by her students back home at Berwick Academy.
Ms. Miller reflected on her time at the school, saying how inspiring it was to see underprivileged children be as eager, appreciative, and dedicated to learning as they were. It became evident to her that an education is their only hope for leaving poverty behind one day.
As a whole, Ms. Miller’s service group, with the help of her students at Berwick Academy, was able to raise thousands of dollars in monetary and material donations for Kpenoe. Many of the donations went directly to the most indigent villagers with specific needs, and in one circumstance, helped save an infant life.
Caption: Ms. Miller taught English as a Second Language to the students at the Mawuko Secondary School for Women in Ghana, Africa this summer and brought the children supplies donated by Berwick Academy Students. (Courtesy photo)

Broadway Veterans Star in Ogunquit Playhouse’s My Fair Lady

By Devin Beliveau
Staff Columnist

One of the “all-time great shows” of American musical theater, Lerner & Loewe’s My Fair Lady is now showing at the Ogunquit Playhouse. Made possible in part by a $20,000 American Masterpiece Grant from the Maine Arts Commission (an independent state agency supported by the National Endowment for the Arts) to the Playhouse, this Tony Award winning 1956 musical is a timeless story directed in Ogunquit by Shaun Kerrison.
“This beloved musical tells the tale of a stringent linguist, Professor Henry Higgins, who bets a colleague he can turn flower vendor Eliza Doolittle from a guttersnipe into a duchess,” according to Cheryl Farley, Community Relations Manager of the Ogunquit Playhouse.
Following a recent performance, two of the main actors in My Fair Lady sat down for an interview with the Weekly Sentinel.
Conrad John Schuck, a 40-year veteran of stage and screen (and whose first screen kiss was with Elizabeth Taylor), plays Colonel Pickering, friend and colleague of Henry Higgins. Nancy Dussault, recipient of multiple Tony Award nominations for her work on Broadway, plays Mrs. Higgins, mother of the main character Henry Higgins.
Weekly Sentinel: Why did you want to play a part in My Fair Lady?
Schuck: “It was one of the all-time great shows when I grew up. Now it’s part of the American musical theater lexicon and I had simply never done it.”
Dussault: “I’ve played Eliza Doolittle before, Mrs. Higgins is a smaller role but it’s a great one. And for me this just came along at a great time.”
WS: Why do you think a play as old as My Fair Lady remains popular?
Dussault: “It’s a Cinderella story. It’s got a score that rivals almost anything ever written. You feel wonderful when you come out of the theater. It’s a love story, but it’s a different kind of love story, and the characters are great, and the language is extraordinary. The show is long, but it’s so great a story it’s easy to do. It’s a classic.”
WS: How has your experience in Maine been so far?
Schuck: “I arrived from Los Angeles on August 5th and it’s been terrific, but we just can’t find any lakes! (jokingly) We spent our day off in Boothbay Harbor. It’s glorious. Ogunquit is great. The people are very friendly and it’s so charming. I’m thrilled that this playhouse is still here.”
Dussault: “I had to come to Maine! I felt like I was the only actress to not have played here! (OPH) You need to be really proud of this theater.”
My Fair Lady will be at the Ogunquit Playhouse through September 6. For more information visit or call 646-5511.
Caption: Nancy Dussault (right), nominated for multiple Tony Awards for her work on Broadway, plays Mrs. Higgins in Ogunquit Playhouse’s production of My Fair Lady. She is pictured opposite Gail Bennett who plays Eliza Doolittle. (Courtesy photo)