BUMP! opening attracts a crowd


By Greg Davis, EArtist Dan Dendanto with the large Minke whale skull and other whale vertebrae. Kelly Ellerbrook with a watercolor panel from The Perfect Christmas Egg. Nora West with her oil painting The Big Eddy. Members of the public in the midst of the BUMP! exhibit. The Perfect Christmas Egg illustration.ditor

FARMINGTON – The opening reception for Dan and Frank DenDanto’s “BUMP” was held on Friday in the Flex Space Gallery of the Emery Community Arts Center on the UMF campus. The free exhibit runs through March 16 and attracted viewers of all ages on Friday.

This science-based art installation exhibits the bones from three different whales, with a large skull from a 29-foot mjinke whale taking center stage. Most likely the casualties of collisions with ship propellers, the whale display features a number of smaller bones.

Brothers, Dan—a whale articulation specialist, and Frank—a project manager and designer, work as a team to create the visually-stunning exhibit. Set to the sound of whale songs, their hands-on exhibit invites the audience to touch the bones of these magnificent creatures, which one can imagine, appear to move with the tide.

Dan DenDanto explained the whale specimens are from those who died in coastal waters from collisions or entanglements with fishing gear, a major cause of death for these large creatures of the sea. The artist noted the display came as a result of a request from the Maine College of Arts to create an artistic display and it grew to include the tour that brought the exhibit to UMF.

Individual bones include vetebrae from a fin whale necropsied in 2001, the skull and veterbrae from a minke whale in 2002 and vetebrae from a pilot whale from 2004. Emery Director Jane Decker said she hopes schoolchildren will come to see the exhibit which has an appeal to art, biology and other science classes.

In addition to the gallery exhibit, Emery’s lower level features oil paintings by Nora West, New Portland artist and painter; and The Perfect Christmas Egg children’s book, with all of the original art panels by Kelly Ellerbrook, UMF assistant technical director.  Ellerbrook said each watercolor  book illustration took about eight hours to complete and the book came together over a  period of eight years.

West’s A Plein Air Summer Paintings share viewscapes from Monhegan to Katahdin and home again. These art installations also run through early March.

The “BUMP” exhibit was made possible with the help of the College of the Atlantic and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries.

Regular hours for the Emery Flex Space Gallery are 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. daily. Teachers are encouraged to schedule a time for their students to experience the “BUMP” exhibit. Contact Jayne Decker at jdecker@maine.edu for more information.



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