NEWS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT:
Tony Adams, Executive Director
Opera House Arts
1 School Street, Stonington, ME  04681
207-367-2788 | tony@operahousearts.org

DATE: February 8, 2022

TITLE: FILM SHOWING TO MOURN THE PASSING OF ASHLEY BRYAN

Stonington, Maine – In celebration of the life of Ashley Bryan who died on Friday, February 4, 2022, Opera House Arts is showing the feature documentary “I Know a Man … Ashley Bryan.”  A winner at 15 film festivals, this documentary was produced by Sedgwick, Maine filmmaker Richard Kane and Brooksville political artist Robert Shetterly.

Show times are Friday, February 18, 2022 at 7:00 PM and Saturday, February 19, 2022 at 2:00 PM.  to purchase tickets, visit www.operahousearts.orgAll patrons must show proof of full vaccination at time of entry and are required to wear a mask while indoors.  Face masks are available at the door.

Both Richard Kane, director of the Maine Masters series of films on exceptional Maine artists and Robert Shetterly of Americans Who Tell the Truth will be present at the Friday night screening.

Ashley Bryan, the celebrated children’s book author and artist, died on Friday, February 4, 2022 at the home of his niece Vanessa in Texas at the age of 98. Ashley had been living on Little Cranberry Island in Maine since 1988 after teaching art at Dartmouth for 14 years. There will be a memorial service in celebration of his life in Islesford on his birthday July 13, 2022. 

According to his publisher at Simon & Schuster, Ashley Bryan was “An early, quiet, and potent force in bringing children of color and issues of racial diversity into the canon of children’s literature, he was committed to opening the eyes of children of all backgrounds to a wide range of themes through poetry, folktales, spirituals, and biblical narratives”. 

Ashley Bryan is the author of over 70 celebrated children’s books, winner of the New York Public Library’s Literary Lion, several Coretta Scott King awards, and the Newbery Honor for one of his latest books, Freedom Over Me, reviewed in the NY Times, https://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/13/books/review/freedom-over-me-ashley-bryan-andmore.html 

 

Synopsis: 

The documentary I Know a Man … Ashley Bryan is said by some to be an antidote to the hatred, racism and division that our country is experiencing today. The film is about this 90+-year-old creative wonder who skips and jumps in his heart like a child. Born in Harlem and raised in the Bronx, Bryan’s talent was nurtured by artist Romare Bearden. Ashley Bryan was drafted out of college at Cooper Union in New York City into the segregated US army at age 19. He served in an all-Black battalion during World War II and preserved his humanity by drawing, stowing supplies in his gas mask. For the past 53 years he had been living on the remote Cranberry Islands, Maine, and has been using art his entire life to celebrate joy, mediate the darkness of war and racism, explore the mysteries of faith, and create loving community. 

Ashley Bryan is a poet/illustrator of over 70 children’s books, and makes magical puppets and sea glass windows from found objects inspired by his African heritage. The film explores his world from the time his father “was given the mop and the broom,” (a reference to Gordon Parks’ famous photograph American Gothic). In the film he quotes Marian Anderson admonishing “to keep another down you have to hold them down, and therefore cannot … soar to the potential within you.” He spreads beauty through his linocut prints exhorting “Let My People Go.. His life story and the art he makes from this wellspring of experience is an inspiration to people of all ages. Ashley urges us to seek unity over division, peace over war, and love over intolerance and bigotry. 

 

Link to the trailer: https://vimeo.com/kanelewis/ashley90trailer 

Link to the website: https://www.kanelewis.com/about-ashleybryan 

 

Press Herald: Renowned Maine artist and author Ashley Bryan dies at 98: https://www.pressherald.com/?p=6419252 

Bangor Daily News: https://bangordailynews.com/2022/02/05/news/hancock/maine-artist-and-book-illustratorashley-bryan-dies-at-the-age-of-98/ 

NBC News: https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/ashley-bryan-prize-winning-childrens-authorillustrator-dies-98-rcna15058 

NPR: https://www.npr.org/2022/02/05/1078536079/ashley-bryan-childrens-illustrator-andauthor-has-died-at-98

 

Contact information for Richard Kane: 207-359-2320 kanelewisproductions@gmail.com 

 

Opera House Arts (OHA) was founded in 1999 to restore the 1912 Stonington Opera House, on the National Register of Historic Places, to its original role as a center for performance and a community gathering space. The non-profit organization just completed its 22nd consecutive season of programming live theater, music and dance, as well as movies, educational experiences, and community events at the Opera House.  The Opera House is normally open 52 weeks a year with a full schedule of film, community events and exciting original performances that serve local audiences of all ages.  With a community-based mission, OHA uses the performing arts to foster and promote excellence in all the ways we perform our lives: Incite Art, Create Community.

 

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