Maine Senior College Network news & updates
July 2021
Happy July 2021

Senior Colleges are hard at work "behind the scenes" as they prepare for the fall term. There are still question marks surrounding holding face-to-face classes, so most colleges are preparing for all contingencies! That is, we will continue to see Zoom classes on offer, plus a growing number of face-to-face courses meeting in the classroom. And, we will see a few intriguing experiments linking people in their homes with physical classroom spaces via Zoom.

This newsletter brings news of Penobscot Valley SC's "Summer Extravaganza" and a fascinating book talk at SC Belfast with Maine author Anne Gass. Anne will be sharing historical photos plus stories from her new novel "We Demand: The Suffrage Road Trip."

If you wish you felt a bit more limber for your summer hikes, river kayaking, and gallery visits, we have a St. Johns Valley SC video that will help you get in shape safely. Alternatively, we have a wonderful free meditation series supplied by OLLI at USM.

Pat Reiff provides a good reason to visit downtown Portland with her review of the Portland Museum of Art's summer exhibition “David Driskell Icons of Nature and History.

And our last article will give you something to think about, please read and pass on this information to your friends. Older Mainers are being asked to consider taking on a summer job! The newly created Southern Maine Jobs Collaborative is a program designed to link local businesses with a workforce of retired and semi-retired persons who would like to participate in the post-pandemic rebirth of the local business community. As SMJC says: "The ideal candidate for the program is a person who is currently enjoying their retirement but would like to contribute to the reemergence of the economy from Covid-19."

Program Director
Wikimedia Image:
Maine postcards by Tichnor Brothers

Foundations to Meditation with Lizzie Cantey

Each Friday in July, OLLI will release a video series on meditation.

Sign up below to receive an email every Friday with teaching on meditation and a short practice.

This class is FREE to the public
Course Description
This FREE 4-week course will provide you with the foundations for creating your own meditation practice. It will give the “why” in addition to the “how” of meditation. It is a secular course that will offer pragmatic skills to build your own or deepen your existing meditation practice. It will satiate both the skeptical and the eager using scientific research and personal narrative. This course will also give you access to guided meditations online to help spark your lifelong inner-learning journey.

Meet Your Instructor

Lizzie Cantey has been practicing meditation for almost 10 years. She saw such a dramatic impact in her life due to meditation that she felt called to become an instructor. In 2018 she underwent a 200-hour course to become a certified meditation and mindfulness instructor, studying under Sarah McLean of the McLean Meditation Institute. Since then, she has continued her own revived practice while now offering courses in her community. She feels passionate about dispelling myths and roadblocks to meditation while offering practical tools to help people curate their own beneficial practice.

Wikimedia Image:
Penobscot Valley SC present:
Summer Extravaganza!
A smorgasbord of lifelong learning delights!
The One-Day Event Committee at Penobscot Valley SC has put together an exciting Zoom event package for the summer. For the cost of a regular six-week course, only $30.00, you can register once for ten diverse and informative presentations scheduled during July, August, and September. You are welcome to attend any or all of these events, most of which are scheduled on Tuesdays 4:00 – 5:00 pm with additional time as needed for Q&A.

Members of sister senior colleges are welcome!
If you are a member of another senior college and would like to join us, please send an email to Sheila with the name of your senior college, and Sheila will assist you from there.

PVSC members register online at the Penobscot Valley Senior College website

Here is a quick look at the Summer Extravaganza Offerings
For more details about each offering, click this link to Summer Extravaganza 2021 (pdf). 

4:00 pm Tuesday, July 13, 2021:
Pam Wells - Capturing Wildlife: Nature Photography Tips

4:00 pm Monday, July 19, 2021:
Dr. Susie Arnold, Ph.D. - A Climate of Change: Sea Level Rise

4:00 pm Tuesday, July 27, 2021:
Amy McCrea - Understanding Your Rights as a Victim and Working
with the Criminal Justice System

4:00 pm Monday, August 2, 2021:
Pauleena MacDougal - Bangor Celtic Crossroads, Inc.: Exploring
Celtic Culture

4:00 pm Tuesday, August 10, 2021:
Secretary of State Shenna Bellows - Voting Rights: 2021

4:00 pm Tuesday, August 17, 2021:
Meg Weston - Volcanoes: Inspiration and Explanation

4:00 pm Tuesday, August 24, 2021:
Ron and Lee Davis—Global Problems Require Global Solutions

4:00 PM Tuesday, August 31, 2021:
Judy Hakola - “From Sea to Shining Sea”: A Survey of Mysteries from
All Corners of the Country

4:00 pm Tuesday, September 14, 2021: 
Bob Duchesne—Identifying Birds in the Wild: What are the Clues the Experts Use?

Do you have a question?

Wikimedia image

SC Belfast Present:
Book Talk: "We Demand: The Suffrage Road Trip" - with Maine Author Anne Gass
Zoom Class - Aug 18, 2021 at 6 pm
Registration: $10

Anne B. Gass' will talk about her new novel "We Demand: The Suffrage Road Trip." The book is based on the true story of an epic cross-country road trip for the suffrage cause that took place in 1915. We Demand is a tribute to the grit and determination of the women who made the trip, and to the suffrage movement that launched it.

The story unfolds through the eyes of Ingeborg Kindstedt and Maria Kindberg, middle-aged Swedish immigrants who own the car, do all the driving, and fix what goes wrong. The roads are often bad, and the weather is worse. They lose their way in a trackless Nevada desert, get stuck in the mud in Kansas, and have many other adventures as well.

Gass did considerable research about the trip and retraced the route in 2015, blogging about it at suffrageroadtrip. The talk is accompanied by historic slides.

We Demand: The Suffrage Road Trip will be available at a discount from Left Bank Books in Belfast.

Anne B. Gass is the author of Voting Down the Rose: Florence Brooks Whitehouse and Maine’s Fight for Woman Suffrage, published in 2014. Anne is Whitehouse’s great-granddaughter, and she speaks regularly on Florence and women’s rights history at libraries, museums, colleges, high schools, and other venues.

Anne has continued her great-grandmother’s activist tradition. She serves on the Steering Committee of the Maine Suffrage Centennial Collaborative and as the Maine Coordinator for the National Votes for Women Trail, a project of the National Collaborative for Women's History Sites. She also serves on Maine’s Permanent Commission on the Status of Women and is Vice-President of the Gray Town Council.

When not writing or volunteering, Anne can be found hiking, wild ice skating, traveling, or backcountry skiing with her husband, Rick.

St. John Valley Senior College
Physical Therapy for Seniors 2021

As we age, strength, balance, flexibility, and endurance lessen. This video presents a series of basic exercises for seniors. It also presents how to prepare for the exercises, how to proceed with the exercises. It stresses safety as well as recognizing the proper progression of the exercises to avoid pain. The class is presented by physical therapist Matt Michaud (photo above). Matt provides clear guidelines on how to exercise safely at the start of the presentation.

The St. John Valley Senior College is a partnership between; Valley Unified Continuing Education, the University of Maine at Fort Kent, and the Fort Kent Elderly Social Action Council.

Summer Pop-Ups!
Keep an eye on MSCN's "What's Happening?" web page!

Zoom makes it easy for the network to post spontaneous "pop-up" classes, lectures, and events!

Join the website and receive instant upcoming Pop-Up notifications in your email!

"David Driskell Icons of Nature and History."
Art and Catalogue Review
Portland Museum of Art
June 19 - Sept. 12

Written by Pat Davidson Reef
(Above) "Ghetto Wall #2" by David Driskell
The exhibit titled, “David Driskell Icons of Nature and History,” curated by Julie McGee, and its magnificent catalogue published by Rizzoli/Electa, edited by Jessica May, with essays by major scholars in the art world, is now on view at the Portland Museum of Art. The Driskell exhibit is the most exciting exhibit in years and opened on June 19th. It will continue all summer and is worth coming into Portland to see. It includes 60 major works and takes your breath away as you walk into the galleries of the PMA.

Driskell is a nationally known artist who lived in Maine for 57 summers. He was born in Eatonton, Georgia in 1931, the grandson of a slave. His father was a minister, a stonemason, and a carpenter. He grew from humble means and went to schools on scholarships at Howard University and Catholic University in Washington D.C. In 1953 he came to Maine to the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture on a scholarship and that changed his life. He fell in love with Maine and decided to move here in the summers when he could afford it. In 1961, he bought a small home in Falmouth, Maine, and built his own studio. Driskell once said, ”When I come to Maine, time stops. Maine has that way of captivating you.”

As you walk into the galleries of the PMA the first work you see in the Driskell exhibit is a huge painting titled “Pine and Moon” which is found in the catalogue as well as in my children’s book on David’s life titled, “David C.Driskell, Artist, Educator, Author.”

Pine trees were very important to Driskell because he felt they were a symbol of eternity, strength, and endurance. They did not change like the attitudes of people who disappointed him during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s. He painted a work in 1956 which is in the exhibit on loan from the Smithsonian titled “Behold Thy Son”, a homage to Emmett Till after the 14-year old boy was brutally killed. Social justice themes can be seen in many of his works but it is in his works on nature that he found peace. He felt that in nature there was a spirit of the divine, a touch of God in natural things growing.

Although his first love was painting, he was a gifted writer, speaker, and teacher. He taught at Talladega College, Howard University, Fisk University, and for 22 years at the University of Maryland, College Park. When he retired the University of Maryland named a building and an educational Institute after him, “The David C. Driskell Center for the Study of African American artists and African Diaspora.”

Another important work in the exhibit is titled “Ghetto Wall # 2.” It is on the cover of the elegant catalogue which has huge reproductions of more than 60 images, including photographs of milestones found in Driskell’s personal and professional life.

Julie McGee, the most important art scholar on David Driskell, said in a discussion on June 17 via a zoom link for the opening of the exhibit, “Ghetto Wall #2” is a painting within a painting. It actually could be considered created in a trompe l’oeil style because it looks so real.” The painting appears to be a mural on a wall in an inner-city ghetto with a red brick wall under it. A faceless black figure is seen as a silhouette against an orange, red, and yellow background. Semi-abstract images can be seen in part of an American flag, star, and X symbolizing Malcolm X.

Driskell once said about this painting, ”I have attempted to show aspects of history revealed in the Civil Rights Movement as they apply to the whole of American society. African-American history is an important part of our national voice, and the symbols of the star, flag, and the wall below help to tell our American story.”

The work “Ghetto Wall #2” is my favorite painting in the exhibit because it is timeless, powerful, and says more than words about the treatment of people of color for decades in America. It was created in 1970 and could depict 2021. Its theme of social justice resonates across the exhibit with power and majesty.

Other works in the exhibit which are significant include: “Memories of a Distant Past” (1975), ”Swing Low, Sweet Chariot,”(1972),” "City Quartet” (1953), “Self Portrait” (1953) “Bahrain Lace”(1988), “Boy with Birds”.(1953), and “Gabriel”(1965). Sketches in a diary notebook with personal comments are moving and give an intimate view of the artist.

The catalogue is beautiful and a major work of art in itself. It is very important because it is a lasting record of the exhibit and provides a way for people to see the exhibit who cannot come to see it in person. The catalogue is especially significant because African American artists have not been included in mainstream art history literature in the past. This book/catalogue published both in hardcover and paperback establishes an important contribution to American art history.

The Driskell exhibit at the PMA vibrates with color. It is hung beautifully. All the works selected are major works, curated by scholar and author Julie McGee. Walls have been specially painted to bring out the color of works and each work is given enough space to breathe. Paragraphs on the walls describing the background of each painting are clear, short, and meaningful. Recordings about specific paintings can be obtained through your cell phone. The whole exhibit is uplifting!!! I plan to go back and see the exhibit many times.

Driskell won many awards during his lifetime, including the National Humanities Medal from President Clinton at the White House, The Skowhegan School of Painting, and Sculpture Lifetime Legacy Award at the Plaza Hotel in New York, and the Cummings Award for Artistic Excellence at the Colby College Museum of Art. Driskell always remained humble but was especially pleased to be elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2018.

It is a tragedy that David Driskell died April 1, 2020, at age 88, and did not see this show, but he knew it was planned. Now he lives on in this wonderful exhibit and leaves a legacy for the next generation, as well as for all people who love visual beauty.

PMA hours open:
Mon &.Tues. closed, Weds,&Thursday, 10a.m.-6pm,
Sat.& Sunday 10a.m.-6p.m. 
Free Fridays 10a.m. all day..

Admission: Visitors Under 21 free, $18 for.adults,
$15,for Seniors and students over 22.
Free of charge for members.
For more info call 207-775-6148
Local Business Organizations Launch Job Recruitment Tool Aimed at Boomers and Retirees
Portland Buy Local, Portland Downtown, Heart at Work Associates, Collective Commitments, and Local Economy Payroll join together to launch “Southern Maine Jobs Collaborative” to recruit Boomers and recent retirees to support local businesses struggling to find employees.
PORTLAND, ME  Local business owners who suffered large revenue losses during the pandemic, are optimistic that a robust tourism season is on the horizon, but at the same time, they are concerned that a severe labor shortage will make it difficult to meet demand. It’s a new layer of stress following a year of unprecedented obstacles to success.  

With these concerns in mind, Portland Downtown and Portland Buy Local are partnering with Collective Commitments, Heart at Work Associates, and Local Economy Payroll to create the Southern Maine Jobs Collaborative (SMJC). SMJC is a program designed to link local businesses with a workforce of retired and semi-retired persons who would like to participate in the post-pandemic rebirth of the local business community. The SMJC website specializes in connecting boomers with employers struggling to fill workforce gaps. 

We believe there is an untapped workforce of retired and semi-retired persons who would like to become part of the solution,” said Barbara Babkirk of Heart at Work Associates.  

The ideal candidate for the program is a person who is currently enjoying their retirement but would like to contribute to the reemergence of the economy from Covid-19. Interested parties can register without creating a formal resume or other inconveniences of a job search and help a local business owner through the busy tourist season while earning additional income to supplement their retirement.

We know there are many 55+ year olds who would love to become part of the labor shortage solution,” said Pat Pinto, AARP Maine’s Volunteer State President. 

“What’s special about this partnership is the connections between independent business owners and the boomer community,” said Cary Tyson, executive director of Portland Downtown. “Our five organizations are uniquely positioned to connect two groups of people with specific needs that will help each other in this peculiar time.” 

Registration is free for Boomers and businesses. To learn more, visit the SMJC website.

Southern Maine Jobs Collective includes Portland Buy LocalPortland DowntownLocal Economy Payroll, Heart at Work Associates, and Collective Commitments.

The Maine Senior College Network is a program of the