PORTLAND, ME.- The Maine Center for Creativity (MCC), a Maine-based nonprofit dedicated to promoting the growth of the arts and creative industries in Maine, has announced the winner of its Art All Around(TM) international design competition. Jaime Gili, a Venezuela-born artist living in London, will receive the $20,000 prize and see his designs transform the sides of eight tanks and the tops of an additional eight tanks at the Sprague Energy tank farm in South Portland. This project marks the largest canvas (261,000 square feet) for public art ever developed at a Maine industrial site, and represents a unique creative collaboration between the public and private sectors.
"It is an honor to have my design chosen for this important public art project," said Gili. "I hope that this work will enrich the history not only of Portland but of public art itself, and that it will become a destination for art enthusiasts from Maine and all over the world."
The competition drew 560 entries between its March 25 kickoff and June 25 deadline. Submissions poured in from 73 countries worldwide, including Italy, Australia, Thailand, Brazil, Spain, China, France, Nigeria and Taiwan, as well as nearly every U.S. state. More than a million visitors viewed the Web site's call for entries during the three-month submission period. A nine-person jury of international judges (for details, visit www.artallaround.com) selected the five finalists announced last month, as well as Gili as the winner.
Following rigorous deliberations that concluded a multi-phase selection process, jurors agreed that Gili's submission was the strongest.
"Gili's bold design represents a multifaceted response to the industrial landscape and will become another world-class addition to Maine's significant art collection," said juror Linda Earle, program director of the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture.
"His bold, colorful gestures refer to Latin American modernism and the important historical role that movement has had in the history of public art. The triangular forms resonate with the shape of sails in the wind and the crashing waves of Maine's rocky coast," added juror Mark Bessire, director of the Bates College Museum of Art. "This lyrical movement is a very sophisticated global and local response to the much loved gritty working harbor of our city. The palette and gestures will always project exuberant energy, offering Maine a work of art that will stay fresh for years."
The other Art All Around finalists (for details, visit www.mainecenterforcreativity.org) were:
-- Catherine Callahan and Bret LeBleu of South Portland
-- Holger Friese of Berlin
-- Nicole Langille of Columbus, Ohio
-- Bo Nathan Newsome of Durham, N.C., and Sara Lambert Bloom of South
"We congratulate Jaime on having his design chosen from so many worthy entries, especially those of his talented fellow finalists," said Greg Boulos, president of the Maine Center for Creativity board of directors. "We are confident that, when the tanks are painted, his images will help add to Maine's reputation as a vibrant, innovative, creative place for the visitors and residents who view them by land, sea and air."
Professional paint subcontractors will start painting Gili's artwork on the Sprague tanks in spring 2009, with an anticipated completion date of 2011, depending on weather conditions.
"Art All Around presented a great opportunity for us to continue our long history of community involvement and it has been a pleasure to participate," said Burt Russell, vice president of operations, Sprague Energy Corp. "We look forward to joining our neighbors in watching this design come to life on our tanks and help build Maine's reputation as an innovative community."
MCC is continuing to raise funding for the project through donations from private individuals, corporations and foundations.
Jaime Gili of London began his art studies in his native Caracas, Venezuela, in 1972. He received his Masters of Fine Art from the Royal College of Art in London in 1998. After moving to Spain, he enrolled at the University of Barcelona and received a bachelor's degree and doctorate in fine arts. He has also studied in Paris and Berlin. Gili has participated in dozens of solo and group exhibitions in countries including Mexico, Venezuela, Australia, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. His work appears in public collections at Saatchi Gallery, Banco Mercantil in Caracas, and the University of Essex. Gili has been featured in publications such as Artforum, ArtPapers and The Guardian. He has also worked as London correspondent for LAPIZ, a Madrid-based arts magazine. He is represented by the London gallery Riflemaker ( www.riflemaker.org).