BAR HARBOR — The Acadia Arts Achievement Award is given annually to a community member who has contributed to the cultural enrichment of the citizens of the island and to its visitors. This year’s winner is Nancy Andrews, a faculty member at College of the Atlantic, a visual artist and filmmaker.
Andrews works in hybrid filmic forms combining storytelling, documentary, puppetry and research. Her characters and narratives are synthesized from various sources, including history, movies, popular educational materials and autobiography.
Her work has been presented by the Museum of Modern Art, Pacific Film Archive, Ann Arbor Film Festival, Anthology Film Archives, Jerusalem Film Festival, Flaherty Seminar, Nova Cinema Bioscoop, Brussels, Belgium, and Taiwan International Animation Festival, among others, and is in the film collection of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Six of her films are in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art.
She has been the recipient of grants and fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, LEF New England Moving Image Fund, Illinois State Arts Council, The Franklin Furnace Fund for Performance Art (supported by the Jerome Foundation and New York State Council on the Arts) and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Andrews studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and received a Master of Fine Arts in 1995. Her undergraduate studies were at the Maryland Institute College of Art.
Andrews came to Mount Desert Island for the first time in 1996. “I was a visiting artist at COA for three months,” she said. “I came to MDI in 1999 full-time to teach at COA. I had been here various times throughout my life, as my mother grew up in Calais, and we would spend summers near there.” Maine has always “felt like home,” Andrews said. “I love the community here. It is full of so many interesting people. People look out for each other and do what they can to help when times get tough.
“I love it when things get busy in the summer, and then I love it when we get the place back to ourselves in October.”
In 2013, Andrews shot her feature-length film “The Strange Eyes of Dr. Myes” on MDI. She has created ten films in the last 18 years, each about 30 minutes in length. “Strange Eyes” is her first feature-length production. It is the story of Dr. Sheri Myes, who uses brain science to revolutionize human consciousness. She must face the consequences when she makes herself a research subject and transforms into a creature with super senses. A live-action, musical, animation, science-fiction, magic-realist, afro-futurist film, “Strange Eyes” stars Michole Briana White and many local actors. It premiered this year at the International Film Festival Rotterdam. The film will be seen later this summer in the Maine International Film Festival.
What’s next for Andrews? “I am really into the idea of collaborations. I plan to make a short co-directed film with Jennifer Reeder and Michole Briana White this summer. After that, who knows? I might just hole up in my studio for a couple of years.”
The award will be presented to Andrews on Sunday, June 21, in Agamont Park during the Father’s Day concert. A band will play from 5:30-7 p.m. The award will be presented at 6:15 p.m. The rain location is the Congregational Church on Mount Desert Street.