Times Article on Artist Marsden-Harden Shows Head Tide Church Painting

An article about an Exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art featuring native Maine artist Marsden Hartley appeared in the Art & Design Section of the Sunday New York Times for March 16th 2017.  The Met exhibition explores Hartley's complex, sometimes contradictory, and visually arresting relationship with his native state.  The article, which contains images of many paintings from the exhibition, includes a 1938 painting, Church At Head Tide, Maine, on loan from from the Colby Museum of Art, in Waterville.

Church at Head Tide, Maine, Marsden Hartley, 1938

In the summer of 1937, Marsden Hartley returned to Maine, his place of birth and where he would live until his death six years later. He created some of the most powerful works of his career in this period, when he declared himself the “painter from Maine” after years of restless travel. By the late 1930s, the village of Head Tide was in decline and its Congregational Church had been deserted. Hartley emphasized this state of abandonment by depicting the church in the depths of winter, when its stark white exterior was nearly indistinguishable from the snow that surrounded it. Incised lines across the church’s sidewall and the downward strokes that define the facade evoke a sturdily built structure that is nonetheless vulnerable to the passage of time.
— Colby Museum of Art

Visit the following links to view the Times article, the Metropolitan Museum of Art description of the exhibition, and to view the collections at the Colby Museum of Art.

Information from Midcoast Conservancy on Proposed Dam Modifications

Saturday, March 18, the Alna town meeting will include an opportunity to vote on a proposal to make repairs and improvement to the Head Tide Dam. In developing the proposal, the citizen committee had four key objectives in mind: to represent the history of the dam through an interpretive display, to maintain and enhance current recreational use, to improve public safety, and to ensure that all species of migratory and resident fish will have safe and timely upstream and downstream passage through the Head Tide site throughout the year. Both the committee and the selectmen believe the proposal full achieves all four of the desired outcomes.

We hope you will attend the meeting and vote. To help residents fully understand the project, below are important things to know about the proposed changes. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions!

Midcoast Conservancy

 Repairs/improvements to Head Tide Dam:

  • Replacement of right abutment with new abutment wall and overhead platform.Removal of concrete sill below old abutment and ledge to attract more flow to this side of river.
  • New safety railings on platform; new path and safety railing from parking area to river edge.
  • New educational kiosk on site history and fisheries.
  • Regrading of parking area and installation of canoe/kayak rack and picnic table; new abutment platform will be wheelchair accessible from parking area.Removal of invasive vegetation, stabilization of eroding bank, and stabilization of old foundation piers and walls that are falling in towards river.
  • Donation of $7,500 to Town of Alna from the Atlantic Salmon Federation for any future maintenance

In addition, this proposal will extend the life of the dam by reducing high flow pressure on the spillway and by addressing the section of the dam that has deteriorated most significantly, does not impact the swimming hole, and will be developed at no cost to the Town of Alna.

Click here for diagram of proposed changes (also shown below).

Alna Store Changes Hands, Role as Community Center to Remain

February 28, 2017

Abigail W. Adams, The Lincoln County News

Amy and Mike Preston’s ownership of the Alna Store ended on Monday, Feb. 27. In a sale that has been in development for over a year, the Prestons officially transferred ownership of the store to Ken and Jane Solorzano, of Alna, the next day.

After a short closure for cosmetic and energy-efficiency improvements and for reorganization of the kitchen, the Solorzanos said they expect to reopen on Monday, March 6 as the Alna General Store with an expanded menu and grocery options, and with the possible addition of Suneay hours for brunch.

Amy and Mike Preston bought The Alna Store soon after moving to town, Amy Preston said. She received a phone call from Mike with the idea to buy it while she was driving in Boston, doing her previous job as a sales rep, she said.

The couple had a five-year plan when they took over, and intended to sell the store at the end of the five years. They would go on to operate the store for over a decade, with Amy Preston manning the counter and overseeing daily operations six days a week.

“The joke became the store was Mike’s midlife crisis that I inherited,” Amy Preston said. Throughout the Prestons’ tenure, The Alna Store cemented its role as a community gathering place and outreach center, and the staff and customers became a family, several staff members and regulars said.

Owning a country store was not something that had been on the Solorzanos’ radar, they said. They decided to buy the store after being encouraged to do so by several members of the community, Jane Solorzano said.

Ken’s cooking, which has a strong influence from his Spanish heritage and his upbringing in San Diego, has a reputation, and is in high demand, Jane Solorzano said. Ken recently retired from the military, and with both children grown, the Solorzanos decided to dive in and buy the store.

The couple will add a new countertop and shelves to the store, and plan to install heat pumps, solar panels, and a generator, they said. The traditional menu will stay the same, but the kitchen will be remodeled to allow additional Spanish-themed menu options, such as tacos, enchiladas, and rice and beans, among others.

The couple also hopes to add prepared dinners and pre-marinated meats to the store’s offerings, they said. They also plan to expand grocery options, so Alna residents don’t have to travel so far for staples, Jane Solorzano said.

The Solorzanos will try to keep their food offerings as locally sourced as possible, they said.

While there will be several new additions to the store, and cosmetically it will look different, the store’s role as a community gathering place will remain the same, Ken Solorzano said.

“We love Mike and Amy,” he said. “We want to continue what they started and build on their achievements.”

The store will also continue to serve as a tagging station for hunters and will issue fishing licenses, Ken Solorzano said.

Jane Solorzano said she would like to continue Amy’s work to deliver meals to elderly residents, and hopes to draw in young volunteers to expand the effort.

The store “is a place where community comes together. It’s almost like a meeting house,” Ken Solorzano said.

The Prestons put the store up for sale so they would have the time to do other things while “we still have our health and our wits,” Amy Preston said.

“This is a really exciting time for both (the Prestons and) us,” Ken Solorzano said.