It has been a good year at Senior College at Belfast. Enrollment is up somewhat, finances are much better, and we had a very nice group of new instructors. You will get all the details in the end of year annual reports in September. However, I thought you might like an update on the finances especially since there was such a concern a year ago. Several factors have combined to put us well into the black. We increased the registration for six week classes a little bit. We made purchasing books the responsibility of each student (as have all Maine senior colleges). There was a good response to our first annual appeal, and our savings benefited from a strong stock market. The savings are mostly the result of a few bequests we have received recently.
It is important to achieve a strong financial position since we want Senior College to continue whatever contingencies or “rainy days” we might encounter. For example, one Maine senior college recently faced a rent increase of many thousands of dollars. Others have seen decreased assistance from the University of Maine campus they are affiliated with. Some, too, have had to spend thousands on audio-visual equipment.
The Maine Senior College Network recently held a state-wide video conference. Ten senior colleges participated. The primary purpose was to try out the format and get better acquainted. Concerns that each senior college had were shared. Some are mentioned above. A very common one is finding classrooms in which to hold classes. Everyone wishes they had a single, up-to-date, accommodating location like the we do here at the Hutchinson Center! Another common concern is getting up to speed on the web and with online registration. It was agreed that it is helpful to be in dialogue. Future conferences might be held to bring curriculum committees and publicity committees together.
From the perspective of an instructor, a joy of Senior College is being able to share and pursue things that are important to you. I am really enjoying diving back into the pre-Civil War abolition movement and appreciating in a new way how remarkable it was.
Thank you so much for your support of Senior College at Belfast.
Arlin Larson, president
16th Annual Festival of Art
Volunteers for the 2018 Festival of Art are invited to sign up now. If you are willing to give an hour or two of your time to serve as a Greeter, a Security Guard, or provide a light food item for the opening night reception, your help will be most appreciated. Sign up sheets will be on a table in the Atrium during the last three Thursdays of April. You may also e-mail Cathy Bradbury at email@example.com. Thank you very much for your help.
Special Events Committee
The Special Events Committee has arranged a visit to the Langlais Sculpture Preserve in Cushing on Tuesday, May 8, followed by lunch on our own at the charming Thomaston Cafe, just 3 miles away.
Maine native Bernard Langlais, best known locally as the artist who created the 62-foot wooden Abenaki Indian sculpture in Skowhegan, lived his last 11 years in Cushing where he populated his 90 acres with hundreds of wooden sculptures of animals and people he created with an ax, chainsaw, and hand tools. The Langlais estate containing thousands of art works, land, and his homestead in Cushing was given to Colby College’s Art Museum in 2010 after his death. Through combined efforts over five years by Colby College Art Museum, the Kohler Foundation and the Georges River Land Trust, the Langlais Sculpture Park was created, and now is owned by Georges River Land Trust. The tour will take us to see 12 larger-than-life restored wooden sculptures, Langlais’ workshop, and his homestead, all connected on five acres by a wheelchair friendly path.
The menagerie features a gigantic Richard Nixon rising from a swamp, a playful elephant sculpture with food an elephant eats painted on the inside of the structure, and a wooden likeness of Andrew Wyeth’s “Christina.” Langlais’ woodworking studio will also be toured, where you can see his creative space including wooden mallets, tools and wood shavings on the workbench seemingly as he left them.
We will meet at the lower Hutchinson Center parking lot at 8:30 a.m. and carpool to Cushing. There is no charge for this trip, except the cost of your lunch. Trip registration forms will be available in the Senior College office, on the outside of the office door, and on line. Registration ends on April 30.
For more information, please call Martha Laitin at 323-2368 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We hope you can join us!