Consul General of France in Boston Valéry Freland was in Lewiston ME on Thursday March 16, to celebrate La Semaine de la Francophonie (Week in Celebration of the Francos). During a meeting with board members of the University of Southern Maine Lewiston Auburn College-Franco-American Collection (USM LAC FAC), the President Doris Bonneau presented the Consulate General with a signed print of “A la mémoire de nos ancêtres”, by artist Mercedes Gastonguay. “We are pleased to know how many people in Maine are native French speakers,” Freland told the Franco-American Collection board members, who met with him at USM LAC in Lewiston.
On March 17, Gastonguay led a discussion about her original large oil tableau “A la mémoire de nos ancêtres” (“In memory of our ancestors”), at an artist’s tea, hosted by the Collection. Her tableau is an original work honoring the French Canadians who immigrated to the Lewiston-Auburn area to work in the local mills along the Androscoggin River. Featured in her tableau are images depicting a progression of iconic images about the French-Canadian immigration experience.
Along with some history about the arrival of the Franco-Americans to Lewiston-Auburn, Gastonguay described the year and a half-long process she undertook to create the work, including research, planning, drawing, and painting. Some sketches of her work were displayed and prints of the painting were available for purchase.
As one of the largest repositories in the Northeast for the culture of French Canadian immigrants to the United States, the Franco-American Collection preserves the past and promotes the study of Franco-American culture and history. On May 23, 2017, from 5-7:30 PM, the Collection is hosting a public exhibit and program to showcase Franco-American veterans and Franco-Americans in international service. A reception and program are free and open to the public.
For more information, contact the Franco-American Collection at Lewiston-Auburn College located at 51 Westminster Street in Lewiston. For more information about the collection, call 753-6545, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or see http://usm.maine.edu/franco