When Writer’s Block Becomes Fun

John Clark sharing a serendipitous moment that happened back in May and what followed. Our younger daughter Lisa was home from New York and we had gone to Waterville for Indian food. After our meal, we decided to do a bit of browsing. Beth and Lisa were still looking through a book store when I wandered further down Main Street and a poster in the window of Framemakers caught my eye.

Since both Beth and our older daughter Sara are into art projects, the idea of buying a block of pine for a dollar and creating something unique sounded pretty interesting. Anyone could purchase one or two numbered blocks for a dollar each, decorate them in whatever manner they chose and Framemakers would exhibit them from July 8th through September 13th.

Last Friday we went to the open house, curious to see how many were on exhibit. I chatted with staff there to learn more about how the block project came about. Four years ago, another arts group in the Waterville area came up with the idea as a way to generate funds for an arts scholarship during the Christmas season. It was extremely successful. For whatever reason, the group moved on to different projects, so the folks at Framemakers which has been part of the downtown Waterville business community since the early 1980s, got permission to carry on the project. They decided to move it to the summer season as more and more cultural events were happening in the area (things like arts at Colby and the Maine International Film Festival).

Blocks are available for purchase at $45. the artist receives $30 and the remainder goes toward funding a $500 scholarship for a local student who is pursuing a degree in some branch of creative arts. Last year, blocks sold almost covered the entire scholarship.

Framemakers buys the lumber to make the blocks locally and passes all money from their purchases into the scholarship fund. There are no restrictions regarding age or medium. We chatted with sisters who looked to be about ten and twelve. This was their second year as participants and they had both sole their work.

In addition to the block art project, pieces by other local artisans were on display and available for purchase. Abbot Meader has a collection of paintings depicting scenes in and near Baxter State Park.

While I was waiting for Beth who had gone to the Brunswick Music Theater with friends, I noticed a fellow enter who looked wicked familiar. When I looked at the black and white photography exhibit in the window opposite the blocks, I realized who he was. Bob Lane and I worked together back in the early 1980s at AMHI. He was a bit smarter and left for a career at the Department of Labor, retiring six years ago. Beth had him as a student in her basic nursing skills class while working there. We had a nice chat, catching up on people we both knew. As you can see, he’s doing some pretty cool stuff in his retirement.

We’re already looking forward to doing this again next year. This time, we’ll have a whole winter to mull over ideas. Anyone care to guess which two blocks are mine?

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6 Responses to When Writer’s Block Becomes Fun

  1. Lea Wait says:

    Wonderful post, John! Love the community involvement in art … and education. Thanks for sharing!

    • Sennebec says:

      Thanks Lea, it was a great opportunity and Framemakers put up a bunch of photos from the event on their Facebook page.

  2. MCWriTers says:

    Next year, I want to do this…sounds like so much fun. And good of you to give it more publicity. You should post pics of your family’s block.


  3. Cool, John! Are yours the ones with the words, perhaps? Do and Smile?

    • John R. Clark says:

      No, mine are the two on the lower right in the sixth photo, but both are turned sideways, alas.

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