June 5, 2003 - Ellsworth American: Benin RPCV Peter LaFrenier opens New Blue Hill Gallery

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Benin: Peace Corps Benin : The Peace Corps in Benin: June 5, 2003 - Ellsworth American: Benin RPCV Peter LaFrenier opens New Blue Hill Gallery

By Admin1 (admin) on Friday, June 06, 2003 - 6:13 pm: Edit Post

Benin RPCV Peter LaFrenier opens New Blue Hill Gallery

Read and comment on this story from the Ellsworth American about Benin RPCV Peter LaFrenier who has just opened the New Blue Hill Gallery at:

New Blue Hill Gallery Displays Flora and Fauna from All Over*

* This link was active on the date it was posted. PCOL is not responsible for broken links which may have changed.

New Blue Hill Gallery Displays Flora and Fauna from All Over

By Jessica Brophy
BLUE HILL—Driving through Blue Hill last summer, Peter LaFreniere, a man who lives by images, was snared by a vision.

“Blue Hill is already a magnet for art with its galleries and music scene.”—Peter LaFreniere

Located a prominent spot on Blue Hill’s Main Street, the building that houses Blue Hill Bay Gallery was built in 1829.

“I made the decision to buy the house from the outside,” said LaFreniere. “It looked like such a beautiful setting for art.”

LaFreniere was referring to a 1829 brick cape on Main Street in Blue Hill, originally a residence and now home to Blue Hill Bay Gallery.

The gallery held its opening reception Sunday, June 1.

The historic cape—a collection of small cozy rooms with pressed tin ceilings, a fireplace, and hardwood floors—delighted LaFreniere.

“It’s a unique property,” he said. By December, he was its owner.

Located across the street from the town library, the building had been used most recently as the headquarters for the graphic design firm Designwrights, which has moved out of the area.

The house now serves as a backdrop for LaFreniere’s nature and wildlife photography. It also will show the work of other Maine artists and Impressionists from Quebec.

The current exhibit includes a collection jewelry by Maine silversmith Ken Kantro.

Also on display through July 7 is the work of Tim and Thea Flanagan, nature artists who work in acrylics and oils.

“They were my first choice,” said LaFreniere. “Our art complements each other in various ways.”

“The theme of the gallery is nature,” he said.

LaFreniere’s recent photographs are mostly “low light scenics,” meaning they were shot at dawn or dusk.

LaFreniere prefers the dawn. “Dawn has a stillness,” he said.

“Later in the day there is too much glare and too many people.”

Caption: Originally from Michigan, Peter LaFreniere spent two years in Benin with the Peace Corps from 1975-77 building grain storage silos and teaching tropical agriculture.

Originally from Michigan, LaFreniere spent two years in Africa with the Peace Corps and then lived in Paris. He spent 10 years in Montreal teaching psychology in French.

Living in Montreal was important to him. “Montreal is a vibrant place,” he said. But after a decade it was time to move on.

He plans to celebrate his past by displaying French-Canadian Impressionists in the Blue Hill gallery.

For the past 10 years, LaFreniere has been living in Lucerne and teaching psychology at the University of Maine in Orono.

After moving to Maine, he began developing his talents as a photographer. “I had time to do something else” in addition to teaching, he said.

“I mean, I took cameras on trips before that, but I got professional then.”

LaFreniere now has made Blue Hill both his home and place of business. In addition to housing the gallery, the historic building on Main Street provides living quarters for him and his Brittany spaniel, PJ.

“Blue Hill is already a magnet for art with its galleries and music scene,” said LaFreniere. “It’s a village that doesn’t disappear—it works 12 months out of the year.”

He knows he would have gotten more exposure had he chosen to settle his gallery in Bar Harbor. He chose Blue Hill anyway.

“Bar Harbor has floods of tourists,” he said. “But Blue Hill is the one place I wanted to live.”

LaFreniere will continue teaching at UMaine for a few more years, but plans to devote his summers to promoting the gallery. He said he would like the gallery to become a “permanent fixture of the town.”

“Blue Hill is also a wonderful area as a photographer’s base,” he said.

Information: 374-5773 or www.bluehillbaygallery.com.
More about Peter LaFrenier's Blue Hill Bay Gallery

Read more about the Blue Hill Bay Gallery at:

Blue Hill Bay Gallery

THE BLUE HILL BAY GALLERY is located on the main street of Blue Hill, a Maine coastal village and artist's colony.

A beautiful 1829 brick cape serves as the backdrop for displaying the works of nationally-recognized artists and artisans in a diversity of mediums, representing the natural beauty and cultural heritage of Maine and Quebec.

The Gallery is open 10-5 daily (except Tuesday) from Memorial Day to Labor Day, and weekends thereafter.

The Gallery Director and resident photographer, Peter LaFreniere, founded Nature Art in 1996 to promote the appreciation and protection of wild creatures and places. You can take a virtual tour of his best-selling photographic images of Maine by browsing this website.

Also featured in the Gallery are the natural images of the renowned Maine artist, Ken Kantro, founder of Lovell Designs. His award-winning designs have been exhibited in the Smithsonian and make fine gifts for that special person in your life.

Each new month will feature contemporary paintings of the Northern landscape and sea, selected from the many creative artists working in Maine, Quebec, and the Maritimes. Plan a visit and see what unfolds this season in Blue Hill.

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