Contact: Susan C. Larsen, Ph.D., Executive Director

Office: 207-536-1686


Portland, Maine, April 9, 2019—Our first Lifetime Achievement Award goes to
Roberta Smith, Co-Chief Art Critic of the New York Times. The breadth of Roberta
Smith’s inquiry and her impartial, accessible style has won her a loyal national readership. This award comes with a prize of $50,000 which, according to New York Times guidelines, Roberta Smith has donated to a charitable non-profit. Ms. Smith has chosen to give her prize to the Art for Justice Fund, which is dedicated to combating the injustices of mass incarceration through the collective action of artists, advocates and philanthropists.

In a recent interview, Roberta Smith described her career as one devoted to“responsibility and loyalty to the readers.” She stressed the importance of integrity and credibility to build a long career as a working art critic. Since joining the New York Times in 1991, she has written on every aspect of contemporary art, design, folk and outsider art, photography and much more. Roberta Smith has been responsible for building an audience for the art of the self-taught, for ceramic art, video art, digital art, systems of re-presentation and much more. Across many traditional boundaries, she has offered a frank, lovingly detailed assessment of new art and artists to her expansive readership. Hers is a voice listened to by millions of readers. Yet she also encourages her audiences to come to their own conclusions and expand their cultural vocabularies. On many occasions she said, humorously, that her goal was to “Get people out of the house to look at art.”

The Dorothea and Leo Rabkin Foundation, headquartered in Portland, Maine, gives annual prizes to eight visual art journalists from across the country. This is the first time the foundation has given a Lifetime Achievement Award. Leo Rabkin was an artist who worked and exhibited in New York City for sixty years. His wife, Dorothea, joined with Leo to create a landmark collection of American folk and outsider art. They lived in New York City and had a wide circle of friends including artists, writers and curators. It was Leo’s wish that thefoundation assist art journalists who play a vital role in the art community nationwide.

Trustees of the Dorothea and Leo Rabkin Foundation are: Edgar Allen Beem, Brunswick, Maine (arts journalist, political columnist); Deborah Irmas, Los Angeles, California (writer, art historian, philanthropist); Nancy Karlins Thoman, Ph.D., New York (art historian, journalist). Susan C. Larsen, Ph.D., (art historian, curator) is executive director.

If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Danielle Frye, Executive Assistant,

Danielle Frye
Art Review: Strong Rabkin exhibition built on a solid foundation


Now on view at the Dorothea and Leo Rabkin Foundation in Portland is an exhibition featuring 20 works from eight of Maine’s artist-endowed foundations. Not only is it a worthy introduction to these institutions, it is a fascinating and beautifully installed exhibition. (Article written by Daniel Kany)


Susan Larsen Martin
Celebrating Maine's Artist-Endowed Foundations

Opening Reception May 4th, 5-8 PM

Maine is fortunate to have many artist-endowed foundations contributing artistic and financial resources to our state. Artists love coming to Maine for her natural beauty, tranquility and unspoiled wilderness. In the 19th and 20th centuries, many artists established studios and seasonal homes inMaine’s seaside towns, farmlands and urban areas as well. At the end of life, many of these artists thought carefully about their legacy and decided to create artist-endowed foundations headquarters in Maine. Their love of Maine prompted them to provide new experiences, economic support and educational institutions to sustain younger artists and advance an ever-expanding appreciation of new art forms in the state.

We are proud to bring together the work of some of Maine’s most distinguished artists whosegifts to Maine include seasonal residencies for artists, exhibition programs for the general public, grantsto artists and writers and other programs that continue to enrich Maine’s cultural life. Maine’s culturalties to New York City are reflected in the number of modernists who have made our state a second home and beneficiary of their philanthropy.

This exhibition of 20 borrowed works is drawn from the institutional collections of the following artist-endowed foundations currently active in Maine:

Ellis-Beauregard Foundation, Rockland, ME (

Surf Point Foundation, York, ME (

Joseph A. Fiore Art Center, Jefferson, ME (

Heliker-LaHotan Foundation, Cranberry Isles, ME (

Bob Crewe Foundation, Falmouth, ME (

Kenneth Noland Foundation, Port Clyde, ME (

Stephen & Palmina Pace Foundation, Stonington, ME ( residency/)

Dorothea & Leo Rabkin Foundation, Portland, ME (

Artists represented in our exhibition include: Joan Marie Beauregard; Bob Crewe; John David Ellis; Joseph Fiore; Beverly Hallam; John Heliker; Robert LaHotan; Kenneth Noland; Stephen Pace and Leo Rabkin. Each will have two works, one typical major work and
one study or smaller work. We hope that the vitality and beauty of this presentation will pay tribute to the vision and generosity of a generation of important artists who are even now playing a role in the future life of art in Maine.

If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Susan C. Larsen, Ph.D., Executive Director at 207-536-1686 or email or Danielle Frye, Executive Assistant at



Kenneth Noland (1924-2010)   Mysteries: Gold Silence , 2002  Acrylic on Canvas

Kenneth Noland (1924-2010)

Mysteries: Gold Silence, 2002

Acrylic on Canvas

Ken Murphy

Congratulations to Board Member, Edgar Beem, for his 1st place award for journalism excellence at the annual conference of the Maine Press Association.  Check out his weekly opinion column, The Universal Notebook, in the Forecaster!



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Ken Murphy
Folk & Outsider Art

Dorothea and Leo Rabkin began collecting country furniture and pieces

of American folk art in the late 1950s.  Living in Manhattan, their taste was

unusual but they soon found colleagues such as American Folk Art Museum

director Robert Bishop and collector Herbert Waide Hemphill.  The collection

grew to over 1200 individual objects over several decades.  It was shown at

the American Folk Art Museum in the 1970s marking a renewal of interest in

folk art among art lovers.  In the 1980s, the Rabkins also embraced outsider

art and were early collectors of such artists as Sam Doyle, Bill Traylor, James

Castle, Jon Serl, J.B. Murry, Louis Monza, Raymond Coins and many others.

This show opened on September 1st and will be open through October.  

Stop in to see the remnants of the renowned Rabkin collection!

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    LOUISMONZA  (1897-1984),  Lady Liberty ,  1945, Oil on canvas  Born, Turate, Italy; Died, Redondo Beach, California  Active in New York City to 1948

LOUISMONZA  (1897-1984), Lady Liberty,  1945, Oil on canvas

Born, Turate, Italy; Died, Redondo Beach, California

Active in New York City to 1948

$400,000 to Art Journalists

The Rabkin Foundation awards $400,000 to Art Journalists.  Eight Visual Art Journalists win $50,000 each.  Please check our Grants Page of the Website for further information about our grant program, jurors, recipients, and recent press.

Ken Murphy