Contact: Mary Ellms, [email protected]

Waterville Creates Announces ‘Shirt Stories: Frescoes by Barbara Sullivan’

WATERVILLE, Maine – Waterville Creates is excited to announce the next exhibition at its Ticonic Gallery, “Shirt Stories: Frescoes by Barbara Sullivan,” which opens on Monday, November 15.

A dual citizen of the United States and the Republic of Ireland, Barbara Sullivan was inspired by her paternal grandparents’ migration to the United States in the late 19th century to find work as they sought new opportunities for themselves and their family. Sullivan initiated the “Shirt Stories” series in 2018 at the Tyrone Guthrie Center, an artist residency program in County Monaghan, Ireland, and later revisited this series during the summer of 2021 at The Ellis Beauregard Residency in Rockland, Maine.

Shirts are inherently and metaphorically intimate because they are worn next to our skin. When folded, they evoke anticipation of what is in store, and through this exhibition, they are intended to elicit “an unfolding” of our individual stories. “Shirt Stories” asks the viewer to consider the broader historical, social, and economic impact the Hathaway Shirt Factory has had in the Waterville community as well as its unique place in the history of New England textiles and the early labor movement, which provided countless jobs for new arrivals to the United States as well as many local Maine families.

“I constantly think about the complexity of shirt construction, how a yoke accepts a collar, how a sleeve is inset, hidden seams, buttonholes, how fabrics stretch depending on what direction the garment is sewn,” says Sullivan. “As I invent the patterns for each shirt, I consider the history of fabrics, cottons, silks, wools, where the fibers come from, how they are produced and gathered. Are the patterns woven or printed? These considerations help me as I plaster and paint each shirt to place my work in the history of textiles and labor.”

Ticonic Gallery would like to thank exhibition sponsors MaineGeneral Health and Caldbeck Gallery, Rockland for their support of this exhibition.

A special members’ only reception will be held with the artist on November 18 from 5:00-7:00 p.m. To learn more about becoming a member, please visit

“Shirt Stories” runs until Friday, February 11, 2022. Admission is free. Ticonic Gallery is open to the public Monday-Friday from 12:00 – 5:00 p.m.

About Waterville Creates 
Waterville Creates connects artists, organizations, and the public with arts and cultural events and programs happening in our community. Supporting and promoting arts education, exhibitions, theatre, film, music, and dance that is accessible to all, Waterville Creates is leading the effort to make Waterville an exciting cultural destination and a thriving, vibrant community. For more information about Waterville Creates, visit