About Natasha Mayers
Natasha Mayers has been called “the heart and soul of activist art in Maine.” She is widely known for her work supervising more than 600 school and community murals from Maine to Nicaragua. She supervised painting utility poles in her town which depict local history and were featured in Lucy Lippard’s book, The Lure of the Local. For the past 35 years she has been creating parade “floats” for the local Whitefield 4th of July parade. For Natasha, the painted poles and parade floats represent art by the community, about the community, and for the community, empowering a community to portray and know itself.
She has been a Touring Artist with the Maine Arts Commission Artist-in-Residency Program since 1975. She has taught students from nursery school to college and in diverse populations: immigrants, refugees, prisoners, the homeless, and the “psychiatrically labeled,” with whom she has worked since 1974, and has organized many exhibits of their artwork.
Natasha was awarded the Individual Artist’s Fellowship from the Maine Arts Commission in 1998, the “Artists Projects: New Forms Award” from New England Foundation for the Arts, and the Zorach Scholarship to the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 1976. Natasha was selected to be the “Millennium Artist” for the State of Ohio, in the national residency program Artists and Communities: America Creates for the Millennium (a White House/National Endowment for the Arts project with one artist chosen for each state). She worked for three months in Portsmouth, Ohio with young people and elders to create a series of works on utility poles, highway columns, and walls, exploring local views of identity, values, and sense of place.
She is a long-time member of the Union of Maine Visual Artists (UMVA), a statewide organization to advocate for artists. She has worked with other members to organize exhibits on such themes as homelessness, “Columbus and the New World Order,” militarization, economic conversion, and mental illness.
Natasha founded ARRT! (the Artists’ Rapid Response Team) in 2012, an artists’ collective that meets monthly, creating over 400 banners, props and yard signs for most of the progressive organizations in Maine. She co-founded and is editor-in-chief of The Maine Arts Journal: Union of Maine Visual Artists Quarterly.
Exhibiting work since 1976, she often explores themes of peace and social justice. Her work was shown in 2003 at the Portland Museum of Art exhibit Mapping Maine: Four Contemporary Views (Jacquette, Cady, Hopkins, Mayers) and at Aucocisco Gallery in Portland, she exhibited her Endless War maps.
She showed her Bankster series at SPACE Gallery in Portland, and in 2015 had a show at the Maine Jewish Museum of her Men in Suits paintings, reviewed in Hyperallergic, followed by Men in Suits/Men in Trouble exhibit (with Kenny Cole) at Harlow Gallery in 2018. In 2020, her War Chests series was featured in I Am An American, a group show at the Cove Street Gallery in Portland.
For one year, Natasha made a daily artwork that appeared on the progressive news site, Common Dreams.org, which commented on current issues and reached a daily audience of 150,000. For this series, she created, in a photocollage or painting, a playful and/or deadly-serious response, a thought-provoking, open-for-interpretation visual image.
Her portrait was painted by Robert Shetterly as part of his Americans Who Tell the Truth series, featuring her words: “We need artists to help explain what is happening in this country, to tell the truth and reveal the lies, to be willing to say the emperor has no clothes, to create moral indignation, to envision alternatives, to reinvent language. We need artists to help us come together and share our voices and build community around powerful issues concerning our roles in the world and our planet’s survival. Compassion must be translated into action.”
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Mayers was born in 1946 in Atlanta, Georgia and grew up in Croton-on-Hudson, NY, oldest of five children. After earning a BA at Sarah Lawrence College (junior year in Rome, Italy), a MAT at Antioch-Putney Graduate School (Yellow Springs, Ohio), she married Art Mayers and went into the Peace Corps in Northeast Nigeria. They moved to Maine in 1970. She is divorced and has two children, Noah and Siena.