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Visual Arts and Craft Fellows

Maine Artist Fellowships are awarded annually to recognize artistic excellence and advance the careers of individual Maine artists. Fellowships are merit-based awards that are primarily informed by an applicant’s current work. The Commission recognizes that certain disciplines (eg. performing artists) may have individuals working as part of an ensemble. Such artists are given an opportunity to define their individual merit in the context of a collaborative group within the application.

The Maine Arts Commission places a high value on artistic excellence and social impact of awardees. In addition to this the Commission holds to the strictest standards of transparency and equity when reviewing the materials.


Pamela Moulton, 2016, Visual Arts  

Franco-American artist Pamela Moulton works in large textiles and installations. She is the 2016 recipient of the Visual Arts Fellowship. Her initial medium was painting, but after several years she found it stifled her creativity.  Slowly she found inspiration in materials discarded by time and turned to textile art and sculpture.  Her experience also includes working with toy companies which she says continues to influence her teaching and art by exploring the notion of play, work and idleness.   After living in France for several years, Pamela returned to her heritage in Maine which she says “feels like I have slipped my foot into Cinderella’s glass slipper; a perfect fit! 


Morris Dorenfeld, 2016, Craft  

Morris Dorenfeld is the recipient of the 2016 State-wide Craft Fellowship in tapestry. He was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, where he spent his formative years studying painting at the Chicago Art Institute.  Later he developed his craft and pursued his own aesthetic investigations, while designing fabrics for a living.  He moved to Maine in 1978 with a large barn loom he had found. It was this conscientious move that brought a change of lifestyle, an attempt to live simpler, in balance with nature, a renewal.  Here he began his journey in designing and weaving tapestries as a natural means of personal expression.  Each new tapestry is influenced and built upon the previous one, opening the door to the next piece. 


Cara Romanol, 2016, Belvedere Handcraft  

Cara Romano is the 2016 recipient of the Belvedere Handcraft Fellowship. This award is given to craft artist living in either Hancock or Washington counties. Currently living in Bar Harbor, jeweler Cara Romano grew up Hancock County, spending most of her early years making things from scraps she found in her stepfathers wood and sheet metal shop. Cara now owns and curates the craft gallery KoT in Ellsworth where she continues to practice and refine her craft. She was the board president of the Maine Craft Association for five years and has extensive experiences in festivals, teaching, and jurying. Her work is carried by several prestigious galleries including the Guggenheim and The Getty Museum. 

Wade Kacanaugh, 2015, Visual Arts

Cecily Pingree

Wade Kavanaugh, from Albany Township, is the Maine Arts Commission 2015 Visual Arts Fellow. Kavanaugh received his B.A. in Economics from Bowdoin College. He has been a resident at the Macdowell Colony in Peterborough, NH and received grants from the New York Foundation for the Arts and the Pollock Krasner Foundation.  


Jonathan Mess, 2015, Craft

Jonathan Mess

Jonathan Mess, from Jefferson, is the Maine Arts Commission 2015 Contemporary Craft Fellow. Jonathan's work is characterized by experimental abstraction using reclaimed ceramic materials. Mess received his B.F.A. at the University of Montana, Missoula and an M.F.A. in Ceramics at the State University of New York at New Paltz. His work is in private collections and has been exhibited nationally.


Christine J. Dentremont, 2015, Belvedere Handcraft

Christine Dentremont

Christine Dentremont, from Swans Island, is the Maine Arts Commission 2015 Belvedere Handcraft Fellow. After studying industrial design in New York, Dentremont moved to Swans Island in 2000. This award is allowing Dentremont to launch her professional studio, market to a broader audience, and cultivate new customers.

"My work blurs the lines between art, craft and design. Integrating artistic form into functional, usable products allows me to create one-of-a-kind pieces."


Alicia Eggert, 2014, Visual Arts


Alicia Eggert, from Portland, is the Maine Arts Commission’s 2014 Visual Arts Fellow. She is an interdisciplinary artist whose work primarily takes the form of kinetic, electronic and interactive sculpture. Before pursuing a career in art, she earned an undergraduate degree in interior design and practiced at an architectural firm in New York for several years.

After leaving that field, she went on to receive her MFA in Sculpture/Dimensional Studies. Her artwork, which remains strongly rooted in design, focuses on the relationship between language, image and time.


Robin Martin-Cust, 2014, Belvedere Handcraft

Robin Cust

Robin Martin-Cust, from Deer Isle, is the Maine Arts Commission’s 2014 Belvedere Handcraft Fellow. She is a studio jeweler. She was born and raised on a small farm in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina where she was introduced to forging steel by her grandfathers, who were both blacksmiths. Her work has been accepted into Smithsonian Craft Show, Philadelphia Museum Show, Washington Craft Show, and American Craft Council Shows. She has also been featured in several Lark Crafts publications, including 21st Century Jewelry – The Best of the 500 Series, Ornament Magazine, and Metalsmith Magazine.


Anna Hepler, 2013, Visual Arts

Anna Hepler

Anna Hepler, from Eastport, is the Maine Arts Commission’s 2013 Visual Arts Fellow. She received her BA from Oberlin College, OH, and MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Anna began her artistic investigation through printmaking and that aesthetic sensibility has remained as a thread while she explores other mediums.

Her work can be found in prominent galleries such as the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., Tate Gallery, London, England, DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park, Lincoln, MA, and of course the Portland Museum of Art, ME.


Ellen Wieske, 2013, Belvedere Handcraft

Ellen Wieske

Ellen Wieske, from Deer Isle, is the Maine Arts Commission’s 2013 Inaugural Belvedede Handcraft Fellow. She received her BA from Wayne State University, MI, and her MFA at Cranbrook Academy of Art, MI.

Ellen is a working metalsmith and has been a teacher for more than 23 years. She lives and maintains a studio on Deer Isle. Her wire workshop techniques have been documented and published in the book Weekend Crafter, Wire released by Lark Books in October 2001.


Morrigan McCarthy, 2012, Visual Arts

Morrigan McCarthy

Morrigan McCarthy, from Portland, is the Maine Arts Commission’s 2012 Visual Arts Fellow.

She is a documentarian, writer and multimedia producer specializing in long-term projects. She is a graduate of the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies in Portland, Maine where she studied photography and audio production. She also holds a BA from Connecticut College in English Literature.


Ethan Hayes-Chute, 2011, Visual Arts

Ethan Hayes-Chute

Ethan Hayes-Chute, from Freeport, is the Maine Arts Commission 2011 Visual Arts Fellow. He is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, holding a BFA in Painting. His Residencies include Nordic Artists' Centre Dalsåsen (NKD), Norway, spring 2011; Hóll - The Birgir Andrésson Residency, Seydisfjödur, Iceland, October 2010; and Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, Vermont, September 2010. His awards include: NKD Fellow, Nordic Artists' Centre, Dalsåsen, Norway, 2009; the Golden Foundation Fellowship, Vermont Studio Center, 2009 and the Jurors' Prize at the Center for Maine Contemporary Art's 2006 Biennial Juried Exhibition. 

Lauren Fensterstock, 2010, Visual Arts


Lauren Fensterstock is the 2010 Maine Visual Arts Fellow. She is an artist and curator based in Portland, Maine. Her work has been featured broadly across the US including recent shows at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art, San Francisco Museum of Craft and Design, Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, Kohler Art Center, Portland Museum of Art, DUMBO Art Center, Boston Center for the Arts, MASS Art Gallery, and Albany Airport. Lauren holds degrees from The Parsons School of Design (BFA 1997) and SUNY New Paltz (MFA 2000). Outside the studio, Lauren is currently Interim Director of the Institute of Contemporary Art at Maine College of Art. Recent freelance curatorial projects include AFI: Upside Down which will debut at the Benaki Museum in Athens, Greece in April 2009.

Randy Regier, 2009, Visual Arts


Randy Regier is the 2009 Visual Arts Fellow for the state of Maine. "My entire childhood and young adulthood was a collaboration of hand and mind. I worked in the auto-body industry, on farms, in retail and in other industries, but I never ceased to read voraciously – I have always loved a good story and imagined that that is how we most wish to live our lives – as if ours too is worth telling and living. In my mid 30s, with my wife’s urging, I finally attended University and the art department soon became my home and artist subsequently my identity.


Sam Van Aken, 2008, Visual Arts


Sam Van Aken is the 2008 Visual Arts Fellow of Maine. Sam arrived in Maine in 2001 to work at the University of Maine at Orono as an assistant professor of art teaching sculpture. Sam Van Aken received two BA's in Communication and Fine Arts from Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania, Masters level coursework at the State Academy of Fine Arts in Poznan, Poland and a Masters in Fine Arts from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Sam was honored in 2005 by a solo installation at Colby College Currents2 program, and in 2006 he received the Association of International Critics of Art Exhibition Award.  

For more information please contact Julie Horn 
Director of  Visual Arts abd Craft Arts at the Maine Arts Commission
207/ 287-2790 -