Mainely Creative: Artwork, photographs and videos inspired by Maine and New England -- created by Bob Barancik

How do over six billion human beings live full and productive lives without destroying the natural systems that sustain all life on this small planet?

That is the big question facing the world today.

Perhaps some parts of the answer can be found in Maine — which is literally the leading edge of the United States.

This state has long been known for its independent and genuinely American spirit. For centuries, its people had to apply all their ingenuity to survive a hard land and an unforgiving sea. If farmers, loggers, fishermen, shipwrights, or sailors could not competently improvise solutions to the demands of a changing environment, they would end up destitute or dead.

In the popular imagination, Maine is often idealized as an unspoiled Eden. But the real Maine is more problematic and perplexing. No one who lives and works in Maine on a full-time basis would confuse it with paradise.

Much of Maine's vast, wild forests have become standardized industrial tree farms. Its seemingly endless schools of native cod and salmon have been decimated by overfishing. Many of the state's great rivers remain dammed and polluted. Once remote coastal and lakeside areas are relentlessly subdivided because the original land owners cannot afford to pay the escalating property taxes.

Perhaps the most troubling trend is the state's descent into a low-paying service economy. Maine is a place where many working people must toil at two or more jobs to make ends meet.
They work as clerks at strip malls, wait tables, or in some way cater to the needs and desires of tourists. It is hard to earn an honest buck here, and people grab at what is available.

The purpose of this Web site is to publicly recognize a few of the large number of Mainers who manage to lead creative lives in sync with nature and their local communities. Maine is one of the few places left in this country where nonconformists can be heard and function as valued citizens.

Their small, self-initiated social experiments and businesses may point us in the direction of a more sustainable and sane society. Their voices and visions are certainly worth considering.

It is my hope that will stimulate your thinking about your current life choices and generally tickle your fancy.

— Bob Barancik / Portland, Maine / May 1, 2002

Barbara and Sumner
Craig LaPine
Art Therapist and Child Psychologist
Wreathmaker and Special Education Specialist


Organic Gardener and Pediatrician

  Craig LaPine
Teacher, Community Activist, Organic Gardener
Click here for the full list of Originals
59 West Street
Unit 1
Portland, ME