Question #1: Do You Agree That Your Vote Is Merely A Formality?

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Yesterday I signed on to my new apartment and, simultaneously, my Art Storefront was officially opened.

The next day I felt overwhelmed. Everything had been moving towards these two temporary goalposts and suddenly those goals are completed and a new cycle of goals must begin. In the unformed beginning of new goals, everything is chaotic. To recenter I need to find the eye of the hurricane where it is calm.

My responsibilities involve decades of papers to go through that should they get into other hands, are likely to be hauled off to the dump, unexamined.

A Twist of Fate Unearths a I950s Time Capsule! by Mackenzie Andersen

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The letters that are the subject of the above post could be automatically demolished, sharing the same fate of much of the peninsula’s history lost to the demolition developers who arrived in the last decade, led by Paul Coulombe who seemingly feels the Peninsula is his to design as in central management by oligarch, an idea readily embraced by local leadership as “follow the money” is a long tradition in government in Maine.

Paul Coulombe arrived with cash to spend from selling his distillery business to settle the legal agreement in a pay-to-play lawsuit in Pennsylvania.

Maine is the perfect place for Coulombe where the media treats him as a celebrity and politely does not mention his past indictments for a crime that wouldn’t be a crime in Maine where Pay to Play is legalized as public-private relationships in the Maine statutes as §5654. Conditional gifts, which is used liberally by Mr. Coloumbe.

When Coulombe organized a private campaign financing fundraiser for a new school, it was decided by the public school boards to use conditional gifts instead of the educational foundation to fund “the project”. As oligarchs make continued use of §5654. Conditional gifts, they gain greater control over our communities. The statute places no limitations on what conditions the donor can make and requires that the municipality “shall perpetually comply with, and may raise money to carry into effect, the conditions upon which the agreement was made”. The negotiations are strictly between leadership and the donor. The inhabitants of the municipality have no say in negotiations. The statute is vague about the length of time that the municipality is obligated to fund the project- a hidden cost.

As of late demolition developers have been targeting the public school system and have marked the mid-century high school for destruction. In my view it is not because the midcentury architecture is not worthy of preservation, but because the developers want its location. Their plans include a tall glass tower, like a flag planted to mark ownership by the conquerors. That spot should be theirs. The advocates of the demolish and replace plan declare “The school is the center of the community”. Well, it’s A center, not THE center. Their words reveal the centralized dominant role that they project for a newly industrialized educational system.

The referendum you are voting on states that the referendum is merely a formality!

Quoted from the new Reconsideration Petition

The April 24 ballot question was presented with the possibility that after the bond is approved, donations might be made that will reduce the cost of the bond, without explaining that the donations will be conditional gifts or what a conditional gift entails. That is saying that this is the bond the public will vote on and for which the public knows the terms, sort of, as stated on the ballot. Once the referendum requirements (as stated in Home Rule for constructing public buildings) are fulfilled, then the bond funding will be swapped out with gifts from donors whose identity may or may not be known to the public. The public will not have a say in, nor necessarily know, the new set of terms. The new terms may involve further expenditures for which the public will be responsible.

During the citizen’s meeting that was held before the April 24th referendum, a board member brought up funding and asked how is it going to look to funders if there are two separate groups with different agendas. Well, there are and that’s why we have a vote. In the board members’ worldview, the funders took priority over the will of the people. The people shouldn’t be given options because that wouldn’t look good to funders, sounding like the board is already negotiating with funders and the public had better go along with it. That’s how it works in the private sector. A public school is not supposed to be in the domain of the private sector but roles have a way of becoming interchangeable when the government becomes a public-private relationship.

Imagine that after a valid referendum is passed, the boards start accepting conditional gifts that allow donors to make any terms they want. How could the school board start accepting individual terms from donors without a systemic plan? Will individual donors have conflicts of interest? How can they resolve conflicts without a donor board that agrees to the terms among themselves, and has the right granted by statute to keep everything that goes on in their private pow-wow secret from the public?

It is inappropriate to include information additional to the referendum on the ballot. The additional information suggests that the bond won’t cost the taxpayers the amount they are being asked to approve, so don’t worry about your taxes going up! This can be interpreted as campaigning embedded in a ballot. It creates confusion around the real cost to the taxpayers. It is like saying “The terms being voted on are temporary and may change after the public votes for terms that, as stated on the ballot, may change at any time without further public voting”. Your vore is only a formality!


As long as the ballot is adding extra information, why not include the information that the donations will be made as conditional gifts and explain what that entails to the public?

The school’s industrialization will be marketed as serving the purpose of local industries.

Andersen Design is a local industry, recognized for innovation in its field. Andersen Design began teaching STEAM skills in 1952 but has never received recognition from community leadership for doing so. Ceramics is not on the state’s targeted industries list so how are they supposed to know the ceramic arts involve STEAM skills? If we wanted to teach those skills within the public school system (we don’t), do you think we believe that we would be allowed into the club? Based on experience, of course not! The system bought by the oligarchs will advance corporate feudalism on the Peninsula because that system serves the oligarch’s interests and small free enterprises do not!

Even the housing solutions are designed for corporate feudalism and are not suitable for remote workers and home businesses. The students promoting the school bemoan that they have repurposed spaces rather than spaces specifically designed for its current use. The same point can be made about state-enabled developers’ housing plans for this community. The houses are not designed to incorporate a creative lifestyle. They are described as half the size of what HUD identifies as “comfortable” so the only space to explore creativity will be institutional. With §5654. Conditional gifts, the donors can make any terms they want including rights to ownership of intellectual property emulating Statement of Policy Governing Patents and Copyrights Statement of Policy Governing Patents and Copyrights of the University of Maine but transferring those rights to the oligarchs.

While going through the many boxes of ancient Andersen Design papers, I rescued my mother’s water-damaged drawings and transformed this drawing into an image that can be a wall print or a decal.

When I started writing this post, I wasn’t planning on writing the long description for A Mother’s Drawing of Her Daughter but because writing is a process of discovery, that’s what happened.

This is what I wrote for the T-Shirt long description:

Drawing by my mother of my sister, Karen

Who but a mother could produce such a drawing? Look how intimately the artist knows her subject but keeps the subject’s secrets. We don’t know what is inside the bag that the barefoot girl is so intensely involved with but we feel the intense involvement, through the equally intimate involvement of the universal mother’s love for the hidden individuality of the child. The bag holds the hidden individuality of the child that only a parent can know as is expressed in the mother’s drawing of a daughter.

T-Shirts are about messages, that will be my message!

Please consider a paid subscription or foundational support today. I have moving expenses to meet and at the same time For $447.00 I can get three months of Instagram Support and Six months of Co-Pilot from Art Storefronts, which would be like having a marketing team on my side.

I need to make additional income to keep my new place and as synchronicity would have it, Art Storefronts appeared in my life simultaneously with the transition to a new place. Art Storefronts is the most supportive organization that I have ever experienced and I should not be surprised that it is a free enterprise organization since my experience is that relationships with others are much more cooperative in the small free enterprise sector than they are within the hierarchical sector of the public-private, for-profit, non-profit sector.

For this reason alone, the Boothbay Peninsula should be advised to switch courses and develop a small free enterprise entrepreneurial sector on this small rural peninsula, which won’t happen if that option isn’t given a voice. equitable to the voice granted to the corporate feudalism solution by two million dollars in campaign financing funding used to hire architects to put their vision in the face of the community as the only option to consider and the only question on the ballot.

I have been envisioning a heterarchical network of small entrepreneurial makers that includes a network of small Designer Craftsmen Museums, a concept I was not allowed to present to the leader of the Joint Economic Development Council of Boothbay and Boothbay Harbor as the leader acted stunned that I had the audacity to address her on my own initiative, and did not acknowledge my presentation, (attempted to be) presented long before Mr. Coulombe organized his cabal of anonymous funders to campaign finance a plan to reinvent our public school system with great emphasis on “maker spaces” and teaching STEAM skills. I also approached the Coulombe organization, just to say I did it, and was not expecting a response nor did I did receive one. You can imagine the time it took to wrangle the contact information for the Coulombe Foundation from the Community Resource Center!

So now I am stunned! – at the level of support I am receiving from Art Storefronts, which has developed a holistic support system for an individually owned business-to-business network of creators, printers, and merchandise providers.

To purchase their marketing package including three months of developing Instagram followers and six months free of Co-Pilot for $447.00 would make a world of difference at this moment, when I am simultaneously launching my Art Storefront, while moving to a new place of residence. I need an effective marketing campaign because my new place will cost more than I am currently paying and I am counting on Art Storefront to deliver an increased income but that requires a lot of effort put into marketing as well as a big leap of faith!

Very Cool Tote Bags printed with my artwork are available on My Art StoreFront!

Consider an environmental-sized work of art or a more modestly proceed selection from the gift shop!

I have never received this level of support before. It contrasts starkly with the non-support I receive from my State and community economic development leadership.

Art Storefronts is a breath of fresh air, a genuine Business-to-business network that I have been imagining. Now I discover that what I was imagining already exists and is getting better every day!

The companies below have a contractual relationship with Art Storefronts. They are the makers of the physical prints and merchandise:


Bay Photo:

Graphik Dimensions:

Print Partner:

Andersen Design began in the 1950’s by reimagining production as an individualized handcrafted project:

The Wikipedia description contrasts industrial design with craft design. Andersen Design merged them. The forms are pre-determined but the finishing is infinitely variable. Industrial Design, Now and Then: The Andersen Design Journey


Industrial Design, Now and Then: The Andersen Design Journey by Mackenzie Andersen

Reinventing the online platform as an interactive B to B experience!

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Andersen Design has a large line of classic functional forms that can be developed as a handcrafted merchandise provider to selected artists whose work is consistent with the Andersen Design brand, and at the same continue our tradition as a ceramic research and design company using the hand made process in finishing our product.

An option for a rural Peninsula is to cultivate a community of individualized makers with strong business-to-business relationships providing creative learning environments relatively free of intellectual property vultures. Art Storefronts has already created a working framework for small business-to-business relationships.

My parents and sister Elise were exploring ideas about using decals but never brought the idea to fruition. Art Storefront has a system in place whereby if Andersen can establish production again, we can work with other artists through the decals, which is simpler than working with other artists using our original bodies and glazes as there are other issues to work out with that.

I would prefer to develop production locally with small independent makers but there is also Mudshark Studios, in Oregon if local interest is not there.

Such a company could provide many interesting jobs as well as work-at-home opportunities for a rural peninsula, supporting a heterarchical network of makers, which is the way of the future!


About Susan Mackenzie Andersen

I was blessed with being raised in this amazing business in a home that uses ceramic slip-cast production as an art form. My mission is to set this business up so that others can enjoy the same lifestyle while benefitting from what Andersen Design created. Follow me on my substack blog, Mackenzie Andersen's The Individual vs The Empire! I write about the public-private-non-profit-profit wealth concentration and redistribution industrial complex - and then I dream a better world.

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