Waterville Creates president Shannon Haines and conceptual artist Fred Wilson to be honored at annual Colby Museum Summer Luncheon

May 1, 2023

The Colby College Museum of Art is pleased to announce it will honor Shannon Haines, president and CEO of Waterville Creates, and renowned artist Fred Wilson with awards for their contributions to the arts as part of its annual summer luncheon celebration, a signature event the museum hosts each July. 

Haines, who has led Waterville Creates since 2016, will be the recipient of the 2023 Jetté Award for Leadership in the Arts. The Colby Museum’s Jetté Award is given in memory of Edith and Ellerton Jetté and recognizes the achievements of individuals and groups who have distinguished themselves through their work as leaders in arts philanthropy, scholarship, education, and/or community engagement efforts. Past recipients have included Hugh J. Gourley III, David P. Becker, Alan B. Mirken, Norma B. Marin, William D. Adams, Peter and Paula Lunder, Alex Katz, Paul J. Schupf, Phong Bui, Sharon Corwin, and William Tsiaras.

Prior to taking on her role with Waterville Creates, Shannon Haines served as the executive director of the Maine Film Center from 2012 to 2016 and as the director of the Maine International Film Festival from 2002 to 2017. Under her leadership, Waterville Creates completed a formal merger with the Maine Film Center and the Waterville Opera House in the fall of 2018 with the goal of maximizing efficiency and expanding programmatic impact and reach. She also led Waterville Creates’ collaboration with Colby College on the planning, design, and fundraising for the Paul J. Schupf Art Center, which opened in December 2022 and has already seen impressive community participation. The center serves as the new home for Waterville Creates’ year-round film, visual, and performing arts programming, as well as the Colby Museum’s Joan Dignam Schmaltz Gallery of Art. 

Fred Wilson, whose work investigates museological, cultural and historical issues that are largely overlooked or neglected by museums and cultural institutions, will receive the 2023 Cummings Award for Artistic Excellence. The Cummings Award celebrates distinguished artists who, in the spirit of Willard “Bill” W. Cummings (1915-1975), have dedicated themselves to their creative practice and who at times, as educators and cultural leaders, have made a positive impact on people’s lives through advocacy and community building. Past recipients have included Alex Katz, Lois Dodd, Yvonne Jacquette, David C. Driskell, Rackstraw Downes, and Jeremy Frey.

Since his groundbreaking exhibition Mining the Museum (1992) at the Maryland Historical Society, Wilson has been the subject of more than 40 solo exhibitions around the globe. Since 2008, Wilson has been a  member of the Board of Trustees at the Whitney Museum of American Art. He represented the U.S. at the Cairo Biennale (1992) and Venice Biennale (2003). His many accolades include the prestigious MacArthur Foundation Fellowship (1999), the Skowhegan Medal for Sculpture (2006) the Ford Foundation’s Art of Change fellowship (2018) and Brandeis University’s Creative Arts Award (2019). Most recently Wilson unveiled Mother (2022), a large-scale installation commissioned by Delta Airlines for New York’s LaGuardia airport. 

As in years past, the 2023 MSL is expected to attract approximately 500 attendees who will come together to celebrate the contributions of artists and to champion the Colby Museum’s unwavering role in building community and transforming lives through art. The event builds on a tradition that began in the early days of the museum, soon after its founding in 1959, when friends of the museum similarly gathered to celebrate and support the museum and its impact.

The day’s festivities will begin with  a panel discussion, led by Jacqueline Terrassa, Carolyn Muzzy Director of the Colby Museum, featuring artists Daniel Minter, Virgil Ortiz, and Paula Wilson

Minter, who received an honorary degree from Colby College this May, is an influential and widely celebrated Maine-based artist known for his work in the mediums of painting and assemblage. Minter has illustrated over fifteen children’s books, many of them award winning, including the Coretta Scott King Illustration Honor. He was also commissioned in both 2004 and 2011 to create Kwanzaa stamps for the U.S. Postal Service. His overall body of work often deals with themes of displacement and diaspora. Minter is the founding director of Maine Freedom Trails, which highlights the history of the Underground Railroad and the abolitionist movement in New England. He is also co-founder, with his wife Marcia Minter, of Indigo Arts Alliance, a non-profit dedicated to cultivating the artistic development of people of African descent.

With an artistic practice spanning over four decades, Ortiz fuses his Pueblo culture with sci-fi, fantasy, and apocalyptic themes, yielding thought-provoking and futuristic imagery through clay and a variety of other media that ranges from clay sculpture and vessel-making to fashion design. He teaches Pueblo history to multiple generations of viewers worldwide by telling the story of the 1680 Pueblo Revolt in his art through a cast of superheroes he’s created over the years.Ortiz (Cochiti Pueblo) served as exhibition designer for and is a commissioned artist in Painted: Our Bodies, Hearts, and Village, a collection reinstallation currently on view at the Colby Museum, with support from the Terra Foundation for American Art. The exhibition centers Pueblo perspectives on the contexts that informed the social and cultural landscape of Taos from 1915 to 1927, when the Taos Society of Artists, a group of Anglo-American painters, was active. 

Paula Wilson is a multimedia artist whose densely layered, colorful, and often monumental works utilize a variety of painting, collage, filmic, installation, performance, and print techniques.Wilson, who is based in Carrizozo, New Mexico is co-founder of the artist organizations MoMAZoZo and the Carrizozo Artist-in-Residency (AIR) program. Wilson is one of the featured artists in Ashley Bryan / Paula Wilson: Take the World into Your Arms, currently on view at the Colby Museum’s Joan Dgnam Schmaltz Gallery of Art at the Paul J. Schupf Art Center in downtown Waterville, is a 2022–23 Senior Fellow at the museum’s Lunder Institute for American Art, and was the 2022 recipient of the Alfonso Ossorio Creative Production Grant, an annual artistic production grant supported by the Ossorio Foundation and administered by the Lunder Institute.

This year’s Museum Summer Luncheon is hosted by honorary event hairs, Paula Crane Lunder and Peter Lunder, along with co-chairs Katherine Bishop ’87, Valerie Carberry P’23, Museum Board of Governors Chair Hilary Barnes Hoopes ’89, P’20, ’24, Museum Board of Governors Vice Chairs Richard Blanco Litt.D. ’14, Vice Chair and Alice Kang P’21, ’26, and the Museum Board of Governors.

About the Colby College Museum of Art

Founded in 1959, the Colby College Museum of Art is a teaching museum, a destination for American art, and a place for education and engagement with local, national, and global communities. Part of Colby College, the museum is located in Waterville, Maine, and actively contributes to Colby’s curricular and co-curricular programs and to the region’s quality of life. It inspires connections between art and people through distinctive exhibitions, programs, and publications and through an outstanding collection that emphasizes American art and contemporary art within holdings that span cultures and time periods. The Colby Museum actively seeks to increase diversity, equity, inclusion, and access across all of its work and to advocate for the community value of art, artists, and museums in engaging with today’s most vital questions.