Friends of Aomori and the Lewis Gallery at Portland Public Library is pleased to present a retrospective exhibition of the prints in the MAPS (Maine-Aomori Printmaking Society) for a retrospective exhibition in September of 2021. The exhibition will feature 105 prints by artists from Maine and Aomori, Japan collected and exhibited throughout the state and prefecture during the MAPS project from 20015-2020.

A full-color catalog will accompany the exhibition. Receive a copy of the catalog as a gift with your tax-deductible donation to Friends of Aomori. Please see details below.

The catalog essay reads:

MAPS – Maine-Aomori Printmaking Society – is a project born out of tragedy. On a stormy night in October of 1889 the ship Cheseborough from Bath, Maine was caught in a fierce storm and ran aground off the coast of Shariki, Japan, now a part of Aomori Prefecture. The ship was destroyed, but some of the crew were rescued and cared for by Japanese villagers. The memory of this event launched a unique and long-standing relationship between Maine and Aomori that has lasted for more than 130 years. The relationship was formalized in 1989 in an official sister state agreement, and the people of Maine and Aomori have continued to developed and enrich their communities through the power of intercultural and personal connections.  

The artistic medium of printmaking has deep roots in both Maine and Aomori. MAPS was launched by Friends of Aomori – the all-volunteer nonprofit organization that supports the relationship in Maine – as a vehicle to connect printmaking artists from both countries through exhibitions, workshops, and delegation visits. For the first five years of the project the enthusiasm and dedication for MAPS led to a robust schedule of exhibitions in communities throughout Maine and Aomori, delegation visits by artists to both countries, and a second printmaking exchange program for K-6 students.

Now at the end of its fifth year, MAPS has grown into a multi-tiered project, presenting printmaking, American and Japanese culture, and the fascinating history of the Maine-Aomori relationship to our communities, connecting artists, patrons, and exhibition venues across the sea. “Six years have passed between us, and the solid course of the relationship continues to find rewarding steps forward,” writes Jiro Ono, President and Director of Munakata Shiko Memorial Museum of Art, who manages the project in Japan, “who could have predicted the voluminous benefit at the beginning of the project?” 

At its core, MAPS is the dynamic collection of 105 prints included in this catalog, generously donated by participating artists. This collection serves as a snapshot of the state of contemporary printmaking in Maine and Aomori, and as a map for future cultural projects in our enduring relationship.  

Jeff Badger, President, Friends of Aomori

MAPS is supported by the Consulate-General of Japan in Boston, the Rines Thompson Fund, the Expansion Arts Fund of Maine Community Foundation, and individual donors. MAPS is made possible by the contributions of the artists, exhibition venues and is organized and curated by Friends of Aomori, and Jiro Ono, President and Director of Munakata Shiko Memorial Museum of Art.

The MAPS retrospective exhibition will be accompanied by a 76-page, full-color catalog featuring all of the prints in the MAPS collection. Get a copy of the catalog as a gift with your tax-deductible donation of $25 or more. Donate with Paypal or credit card by clicking below now. Include your address in the note for your complimentary copy.