Visitors admire window panels that were on temporary display for the event celebrating the pavilion’s creation. ISLANDER PHOTO BY DICK BROOM

Celebrating the love of art



CRANBERRY ISLES — About 200 friends and fans of Islesford artist, poet and children’s book author Ashley Bryan gathered Aug. 15 to celebrate the creation of the Story Teller Pavilion, which will house Bryan’s sea glass window panels and found-object puppets.

It is a project of the nonprofit Ashley Bryan Center, which was created in 2013 by a group of Bryan’s friends and family members “to preserve and to share his extensive collections and his legacy.”

Construction of the pavilion on Bryan’s property, just a few steps from his home, is not quite complete. But for the event last week, a few of Bryan’s puppets and window panels were placed temporarily in the building to give visitors a preview of what will be exhibited there.

With typical exuberance, Ashley Bryan, welcomes visitors to the Story Teller Pavilion, which will house his sea glass window panels and found-object puppets near his home on Islesford. ISLANDER PHOTO BY DICK BROOM

With typical exuberance, Ashley Bryan, welcomes visitors to the Story Teller Pavilion, which will house his sea glass window panels and found-object puppets near his home on Islesford. ISLANDER PHOTO BY DICK BROOM

“It’s a celebration of the love of art and education,” Bryan said of the pavilion.

Among the speakers at the outdoor celebration was Elaine Hughes, a longtime friend of Bryan and pastor at Redeemer Lutheran Church in Bangor.

She noted that Bryan made all of his window panels and puppets with materials found on Islesford.

“That is why, as Ashley insisted, these works must remain here, as they were imagined and scavenged and mined and birthed from sea glass that washed up on the shore, as well as from the multitudinous treasures gleaned from the shoreline, the roadways, the Dumpsters, the yard sales, the woods, the sweater drawers, the tool sheds, the backyards, the dock and the kitchen sinks of the island,” Hughes said.

She said that over the years, Bryan has spoken of “his dream of creating a space here on the island where his windows and puppets could be for others a catalyst, an inspiration for their own creations of artistic imagination.”

Nick Clark, an art historian and curator who is director of the Ashley Bryan Center, said Bryan’s puppets and window panels are just a tiny portion of his lifetime of creative output.

“There are extraordinary bodies of work in his house – under his bed and in the closet – that we need to organize and ultimately to make available to a broadly academic public,” Clark said. “We look forward to taking the archive into an arena where people can access it from great distances and ensuring Ashley’s legacy.”

Bryan, 93, has lived and worked on Islesford for more than 60 years.

Dick Broom

Dick Broom

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Dick Broom covers the towns of Mount Desert and Southwest Harbor, Mount Desert Island High School and the school system board and superintendent's office. He enjoys hiking with his golden retriever and finding new places for her to swim. [email protected]
Dick Broom

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