For the past seven years, TIMA has sponsored an extended study of Eastport’s architecture, landscape and community — the first serious, in-depth, broad look at a community’s architecture along the eastern coast of Maine. The study has been led by architect and architectural historian, John Leroux of Fredericton, New Brunswick and photographer and professor of art, Thaddeus Holownia of Jolicure, New Brunswick. Leroux is the author of seven books on New Brunswick architecture, including Building New Brunswick: an architectural history, St. Andrews Architecture: 1604-1966 and most recently Glorious Light: the stained glass of Fredericton. Holownia is Professor of Art and Department Chair at Mount Allison University in Sackville, New Brunswick. More than a thousand large format photographs have been taken so far including interiors and exteriors of buildings, wider streetscape and landscape views, and a whole series of portraits of trees. A series of six thematic written essays will provide context for the photographs. The study will lead to a book publication as well as an exhibition in 2018.
John Leroux writes: “Like similar towns and cities that flourished under 19th century industry and commerce, Eastport’s architecture and urban form bear witness to human achievement and aspirations, tempered by the inevitable cycles of boom and bust that are inescapable in this part of coastal Maine. Here you can find a particular story of America, compelling struggles of tradition and progress, of land and sea, of war and peace, of immigration and exodus, of quality and shoddiness, and of the sacred and the secular.
Beyond the great sweep of North American history, there is something distinctly ‘here’ about here. Eastport never succumbed to a need to be something it wasn’t, but it had the foresight and good fortune to reach for a balance between being a factory town and a centre of culture and refinement. And at the centre of this was its scale – where the individual could find their place but wouldn’t lose themselves as they could in a larger, faceless center. I am reminded of the great artist Alex Colville’s thoughts, that being outside the bookends of attention is not only liberating, it can be the best spot to find genuine advancement. At the height of his creative output, Colville deemed that ‘universality comes from the particular… and by immersing oneself in the particular, it is possible to be universal.’
In a place as special as Eastport, the allure of its history and landscape lie as much with the anomalies and exceptions as it does with convention, and it is that very aspect that makes it so valuable to its present and future.”