Diane Abatemarco working on a new piece at Seawall. PHOTO COURTESY OF BARN ARTS

Barn Arts community cleanup and arts event

Andrew Simon wearing an original upcycled hoodie with fabric collage.

MOUNT DESERT— Local arts organization Barn Arts is creating an island-wide event that invites the community to celebrate our shores by cleaning up trash and making art. The event is called Winter Beach Story and it will take place over the course of a week, with participants posting videos and pictures of themselves on social media.

From Thursday, Dec. 17, until Thursday, Dec. 24, everyone on the island is invited to choose a part of the shoreline that means something to them and take the time to clean, sing, dance, paint, draw, perform and share their work through Instagram, Facebook and TikTok.

The event was conceived by local artist and educator Diane Abatemarco, who designs clothing and apparel out of scraps under the label Irrational Dress Movement. “I miss everyone! Even people I don’t know, but usually see out and about,” said Abatemarco. “I hope this event helps us focus on the home that we share, at a time when we can’t be together in person.”

Barn Arts, a nonprofit based in Tremont with a mission to bring people together, has sought out ways to create work during the pandemic when people can’t be in the same place at the same time. These efforts have included a new podcast, BarnWaves, digital performances on social media, and site-specific arts initiatives with local young people. “When Diane brought this idea to me, I thought it sounded awesome,” said Barn Arts Artistic Director Andrew Simon. “Live performance means something different now and we’re seeking out ways to connect people while maintaining the physical distance necessary to keep us safe. For me, singing while we work to keep the shore beautiful is a perfect way to do that.”

Diane Abatemarco performs at the Barn with Rebecca Lasaponaro.

For Winter Beach Story, Simon re-wrote the lyrics to “Hey Ho” by the Lumineers to make the song about practicing community while being apart. “We’re going to be performing this song in one of our videos, but everyone is welcome to participate in any way,” said Simon. “You can offer any kind of creativity that feels good to you and post a video or photo with your efforts to keep this home that we share pristine.” The creators of this event also acknowledge this area as the homeland of the Wabanaki and recognize the ancestral homes of the Passamaquoddy, Penobscot, Micmac, Abenaki and Maliseet Nations and other Native communities.

Anyone on and around MDI is invited to create a video or take photos and post them to social media with the hashtag #mdiwinterbeachstory and tag Barn Arts (@barnartsme) and Irrational Dress Movement (@irrationaldress_mvmt).

For questions, reach out to Barn Arts at 412-9435, email [email protected] or send a direct message to @barnartsme through Instagram or Facebook.


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