The Stier Family Gallery, on the library’s lower level, hosts exhibitions that offer great variety of media, topics, and artists that educate, inform, or entertain the community. Information about our current exhibit is below, followed by information on how to apply to exhibit your work in our gallery.
Currently On Display
My Climate Future:
High Schoolers Picture Their World to Come
Photographs by Trevor Oakley, Christopher Choi, Dora Hurt, and Dakota Fisher-La Plante
November 1 – December 31, 2023
Selected images from the exhibit
What will Cape Elizabeth look like in future decades, given predictions of substantial climate change? Greta Thunberg aside, the views of young people—who did not cause the problem yet have the most skin in the game—have been largely absent from conversations on this topic. Seeing for Ourselves, a local nonprofit worked with students at Cape Elizabeth High School to leverage the visual expression of the hopes and fears of teens about Cape in particular to amplify the views of high-
The mission of Seeing for Ourselves lies in equipping and training marginalized individuals to take control of their own public narrative by documenting their lives photographically. Its principals ventured into New York City’s housing projects in 2010-2013, helping residents produce heartwarming imagery—leagues different from the shots of crime scenes and disrepair monopolizing media coverage of these communities for a generation. The effort led to the publication of Project Lives: New York Residents of Public Housing Photograph Their World (powerHouse, 2015), which can be found in the library’s collection and which helped restart city and state funding of the projects.
Convinced by this success, NYC asked the nonprofit to conduct a similar effort on behalf of New Yorkers serving a term of probation. Embedded in the local probation department in 2018-2021 and assisted by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), Seeing for Ourselves helped the justice-involved and their neighbors produce imagery at total variance from the mug shots and orange jumpsuits dominating media portrayals for decades. Promoted by both an award-winning documentary and companion book entitled “In a Whole New Way: Undoing Mass Incarceration by a Path Untraveled,” the visuals are helping create a new public image of America’s dominant criminal justice sanction and so encourage its use as an alternative to locking people up.
Now comes “My Climate Future,” which aims to amplify the views of those not often included in the national conversation around climate change. Four local high school students—Trevor Oakley, Dora Hurt, Christopher Choi, and Dakota Fisher-La Plante—ventured out into Cape with their smartphone cameras in April, taking shots of the salt marsh behind the school, Willard Beach, Hobstone Woods, and other locales, imaging what the future holds in store. They captioned the photos accordingly and submitted them to the nonprofit. The Southern Forecaster covered the effort.
Seeing for Ourselves has leveraged this pilot project and publicity to apply for new NEA funding supporting a full-scale initiative both here in Cape and on New York’s Long Island in the 2024-25 school year. Another gallery exhibit, documentary, and publication would result.
Information for Prospective Artists/Exhibitors
The Stier Family Gallery consists of two wall display areas (with a rail/cord hanging system) and a large display case divided into 5 segments. More detailed space plans are available in the gallery application.
- All interested artists are strongly encouraged to make a site visit prior to submitting a proposal. Artists are able to use part or all of the gallery space available. Please note, if an artist is only using part of the space (i.e. only the display cases), another artist’s work may be displayed elsewhere in the Gallery.
- Any interested party in utilizing the gallery must submit an application to the Library Director.
- Applications are accepted any time of year. Exhibits are scheduled on a “first come, first serve” basis. Please note that at times of high demand, the gallery may be scheduled months in advance.
- Given the public viewing of the gallery, the subject matter of any show must be appropriate for children as well as adults, therefore explicit images are not permitted in gallery shows. The Library Director reserves the right to reject or remove any material(s) that seem incongruent with the public nature of the gallery. In the event that the Library Director rejects or removes any material(s) for exhibit, that decision is final.
Click here for more information or to apply!