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Celebrate People’s History


Atrium Gallery
Lewiston-Auburn Campus of the University of Southern Maine
51 Westminster St, Lewiston, ME 04240

Join the Scontras Center for Labor and Community Education as we Celebrate People’s History for an exhibit and events series during January and February of 2024 to be held at the Lewiston-Auburn Campus of the University of Southern Maine.

Visit our exhibit in the Atrium Gallery at Lewiston-Auburn Campus to view posters from the Celebrate People’s History Series as well as a new poster celebrating the Paperworkers’ strike that took place in Jay, Maine during 1987-1988. Artifacts from the strike—including buttons, t-shirts, posters, books, and ephemera—will be displayed as well. The public exhibit runs from January 11th to February 20th 2024, weekdays from 9:00AM to 4:30PM. All events are free, open to the public, and located at LAC: 51 Westminster St, Lewiston, ME 04240.



Sneak Peek for the Maine AFL-CIO Convention
Wednesday, January 10th, 5:00-7:00PM
Union members, leaders, and delegates to the Maine AFL-CIO Convention in Lewiston are invited to join us for a “sneak peek” of the exhibit and tour by the organizers.

Opening Reception
Friday, January 19th, 6:00-8:00PM
Join us for an opening reception on Friday, January 19th with Elizabeth Jabar, printmaker and artist who created a new poster specifically for the exhibit, Michael Hillard, USM labor historian and author of Shredding Paper: The Rise and Fall of Maine’s Mighty Paper Industry, Peter Kellman, life-long union leader and labor educator, and other special guests. For more information and to register here.

Of pirates, witches, and workers: 500-years of labor history
Thursday, February 15th, 6:00-8:00PM
For 500-years, “the cause of labor is the hope of the world.” Our stories reverberate throughout labor history, across the planet, and in our working lives. Join Scontras Center teaching fellow Kevin Van Meter for a lively labor history talk. For more information and to register here.

“Create your own Print” event
date/time to be announced shortly
Join Celebrate People’s History curator and world-renowned designer, artist, and archivist Josh MacPhee for a participatory event where you get to “create your own poster.” To be held at USM-Lewiston and USM-Gorham. More information shortly.

About the Celebrate People’s History Poster Series
The Celebrate People’s History posters are rooted in the do-it-yourself tradition of mass-produced and distributed political propaganda, but detourned to embody principles of democracy, inclusion, and group participation in the writing and interpretation of history. Since 1998, nearly 200 posters by over 150 artists and designers have been produced, with over half a million total posters in circulation. These posters have hung in classrooms, union halls, community centers, healthcare clinics, and city streets across the globe. And now the halls of USM!

About the Artist Elizabeth Jabar
Elizabeth A. Jabar is a feminist printmaker who explores a range of personal-political issues in her work including cultural identity, representation, equity and maternal ethics. Her practice is located in the studio, the classroom and the community where she co-creates collaborative and participatory projects with students, colleagues and community members. Elizabeth has generously worked with the exhibit organizers, union members, and paperworkers’ to create a new Celebrate People’s History poster.

About the Jay, Maine Paperworkers’ Strike
After the final shift on Monday June 15th, 1987, twelve hundred members of the United Paperworkers International Union Local 14 at the Androscoggin Mill in Jay, Maine went out on strike against the largest private landowner in the US and richest paper company in the world. After decades of forcing workers to work 60-hour weeks and most Sundays, International Paper Company tried to eliminate Sunday premium pay, take away Christmas as a holiday, subcontract out maintenance work at the mills, and launched “Project: Productivity” to restructure the workplace entirely in management’s favor. The union workers said this far and no further. The community supported them as they fought for their livelihoods, for environmental protections, and for their dignity. The overwhelming majority of workers held the line. The strike continued, militantly, for seventeen months, during which time the company replaced nearly the entire workforce. On the strike line, at mass meetings, in Jay and across the planet they chanted: “Scabs Out, Union In!” For more about the strike, books on the subject have been placed on reserve at the USM-Lewiston campus library for students and the public.

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