© Photo courtesy of photographer Yuka Seikoevna.

MAPS: Maine-Aomori Printmaking Society

In March of 2016, Space Gallery in Portland, Maine hosted MAPS (Maine-Aomori Printmaking Society), an exhibition of prints by artists from Maine and Aomori, Japan, presented by Friends of Aomori. MAPS is a multi-tiered exchange project developed to share art, exhibitions, and artist residencies between Maine and Aomori on an ongoing basis.

The first phase of MAPS was an exhibition at the Aomori Municipal Art Pavilion in Japan by ten artists from Maine in October 2015. See pictures of that show here.

Nobuko Shimazu  Anthurium

Coinciding with that exhibition, Pickwick Independent Press — an independent print studio located above the galleries in the Space Studios — hosted four Japanese printmakers for a week-long printmaking residency in Portland in March 2016. This project had been provisionally approved for a grant from the Consulate-General of Japan in Boston, which honored Friends of Aomori with the Foreign Minister’s Award in 2016. The Japanese artists created work in the studio, visited local galleries and museums, and visited printmaking classes at Maine College of Art to deliver workshops and critiques. The group was led by Jiro Ono, Director of the Munakata Shiko Memorial Museum in Aomori.

The fascinating relationship between these two states has been in place for 20 years, but the connection goes back to the shipwreck of the Cheseborough in 1889. As part of the ongoing project of MAPS, both Friends of Aomori and the Munakata Shiko Memorial Museum will build two matching collections of MAPS prints in Maine and Japan for future exhibitions of local contemporary artists to support education about the sister-state relationship. The long term goal of MAPS is a regular exchange of art exhibitions, exchanges, and residencies between the US and Japan.

Colleen Kinsella,  Leviathan I

This project was initiated by Jeff Badger – Friends of Aomori board member and Director of Tetra Projects – and developed in collaboration with Jiro Ono. The original 2015 exhibition featured prints by Judith Allen, Kyle Bryant, Clint Fulkerson, Colleen Kinsella, Kazuhiko Kojima, Reiko Kudo, Michael MarksPilar Nadal, Mitsuo Ohsaka, Lisa Pixley, Carrie Scanga, Emiko Seki, Carter Shappy, Nobuko Shimazu, Yoshiko Takebayashi, Kouji Tazawa, Yoshimasa Tsujii, David Wolfe, Seizoh Yagihashi, and Koya Yamada. The show also featured a display of nebuta parade floats, a handmade illustrated book about the Cheseborough by Jeff Badger, and artifacts from the collaborative picture book Hello from the Other Side of the World by Scott Nash and Toshiki Sawada. Director Ono coordinated the group and met with Maine museum directors and curators during his visit.

The MAPS project continues on, with exhibitions held both in Aomori and throughout the State of Maine. In 2017, MAPS will be touring the entire State of Maine for the first time, hoping to showcase the unique relationship between Aomori and Maine to as many Maine residents as possible. To follow the MAPS print collection as it grows, please click on the link here to stay updated on the project.

MAPS needs your support! Please use the Paypal button below to donate to Friends of Aomori to support our project. In-kind donations are also welcome. Friends of Aomori is a 501(c)(3) organization and your donation may be tax-deductible.



Emiko Seki, Nebuta Dancers Shout