The Maine Art Gallery in Wiscasset opens the 2022 season with neurodiverse artists

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Spindleworks artist and author Anna McDougal of Wiscasset, with her painting of a snowfall on her family farm. Maria Skillings/ Time Record.

The Maine Art Gallery in Wiscasset kicks off its 2022 season with an exhibition featuring more than 100 works of art created by more than 40 neurodiverse artists representing the nonprofit Spindleworks of Brunswick.

Neurodiverse describes individuals with neurologically atypical thought or behavior patterns, such as ADHD, autism, dyslexia, and Tourette syndrome, among others.

Spindleworks is a nonprofit arts center for adults with disabilities that became a program of the Independence Association of Brunswick in 1978. The nonprofit works with over 40 artists from communities such as Bath, Brunswick, Topsham, Bowdoinham, Portland, Westbrook, Auburn, Wiscasset, Lisbon, Richmond and Freeport. Their artists explore multiple artistic mediums such as painting, drawing, sewing, sculpture, poetry and music.

Spindleworks artist Diana Oliver holds her multicolored square painting next to her loom. Maria Skillings / Time Record

Multimedia artist and author Anna McDougal from Wiscasset said she has been creating art at Spindleworks for 22 years. Two of his paintings will be featured in the exhibition, titled “Time Shift”. McDougal said the subjects of her paintings are often animals and vegetables from the farm she lives on in Wiscasset.

“Animals are my passion,” she says. “I like to make people hungry for art.”

McDougal spoke fondly of his 22 years at Spindleworks and said the nonprofit really helps foster community bonds and friendships.

“I am accepted for who I am. I’m in a community that I never grew up in,” McDougal said.

Wiscasset Maine Art Gallery Consultant Kerry Hadley said Spindleworks artists often visit the gallery with their art mentor Deidre Barton. On one occasion, Barton invited Hadley to visit Spindleworks to coordinate the Time Shift art exhibit.

“We like to involve the community and be as representative of the community as possible,” Hadley said.

Spindleworks artist Diana Oliver said she is delighted to share her work with the community and hopes it teaches people: “There is more art in the world”.

Spindleworks musician Mitch Pfeifle with his guitar. Maria Skillings / Time Record

Oliver has been creating art at Spindleworks for five years and says his favorite activity is painting. His paintings will also be presented in the Wiscasset gallery. Oliver also shared with The Times Record a work of art that she has been weaving on her loom for over two years now.

Spindleworks artist and musician Mitch Pfeifle will play guitar with local Bath band Leopard Girls on the opening night of Time Shift. Pfeifle has been playing the guitar for many years and said his musical roots go back a long way. He said his mother hung out with the Beatles and his brother had long hair like a rock star.

“I think people with different abilities have a voice that needs to be shared with the community and often their voices aren’t included,” said Brian Braley, director of Spindleworks. “The importance is to share the incredible creative skills they have due to their disability. Art really gives a voice to people who can also be non-verbal.

According to an April 21 press release from the Maine Art Gallery: “Spindleworks is a joyful place; the energy of creativity is contagious. Ambitious, talented and hardworking artists thrive in this supportive space where they gather, work, talk, dream and create amazing and original works of art to display and sell.

Spindleworks artists Robin Albert shared her fashion album. She said she loves designing dresses. Maria Skillings/ Time Record.

Time Shift will take place May 7-28 at the Maine Art Gallery, located at 15 Warren Street in Wiscasset. For more information, visit maineartgallerywiscasset.org/.

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