Portland Artist Puts Creative Touch On Collins Center In Orono 

Thanks to Maine’s Percent For Art program, and about 60,000 glass tiles,the Collins Center for the Arts at the University of Maine in Orono is getting a bit of makeover. John Patches is the Executive Director of the Collins Center and he’s raving about the program. “Percent for art is part of a state mandated program through the Maine Arts Commission,” says Patches, “it’s a great program for artists, to support artists and to help bring artistic expression into public buildings.”The program sets aside 1% of the construction costs in public buildings for works of art. “We were particularly pleased with this installation because we were able to choose an artist from Maine presently working out of Portland,” Patches says.The home grown artist is none other than Joe Kievitt of Portland. “There was a call for artist, it was a competition,” says Kievitt, “and this is one I was interested in because this is a great neutral space with both vertical and horizontal space and it was one I was really interested in because I thought tile would work very well in here.”The lighting is the main reason the glass tiles work so well in here. “The tile can dramatically change from one kind of lighting to the next over the course of a day or at an angle that your viewing at,” says Kievitt. Patches thinks the new artwork will change the entire dynamic of the Collins Center. “It is transforming the Collins Center,” says Patches, “I think it will become a focal point in the building which we are excited about because this is also the site of the new cafe.” The new cafe will be run by the same people who own “Verve” in Orono and it’s set to open in October.Patches hopes everyone can share in that excitement. “I think they’ll be in awe it will be awesome for people, the whole experience, can you imagine having coffee here everyday or for lunch.”