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News Feature

Originally published in Island Ad-Vantages, July 24, 2014
Fifth annual Lobster Buoy Auction will honor Jon Imber

Lobster buoys as art in Stonington

John Stinson created this buoy for this year’s auction on August 5 at Fisherman’s Friend in Stonington, Maine. Proceeds support Penobscot East Resource Center.

Photo courtesy of Penobscot East Resource Center

Five years ago, no one could have anticipated the huge success that would come from a bundle of authentically decorated wooden lobster buoys. Bobbi Billings, the Administrative Director at Penobscot East Resource Center, and the creator of this fundraising project, is pleased that this project has taken off like it has, according to a press release from Penobscot East.

“This project has given us a presence not just as a nonprofit organization dedicated to securing a future for fishing communities along the coast of Maine, but also a presence in the art community throughout the country,” she said.

This year’s auction will feature 60 buoys. Artists from all over the country have decorated buoys with a variety of media, into various shapes and sizes.

Billings said, “This year we have a buoy that artist Jon Imber created for us in October when he was quite ill. Diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in the fall of 2012, Jon painted until his final days. He had lost the use of his hands and could no longer stand, but he could move his head. His assistant rigged a headset with a dowel and attachable brushes, and until the Friday before he died, Jon was still painting. He passed away in April, and with his widow Jill Hoy’s blessing, we are auctioning off Jon’s last buoy. Imber created buoys for all five years of the auction and will be greatly missed. He was an incredibly talented artist with works all over the world.

This year’s auction is dedicated to Jon’s memory and all five of his buoys will be on display at the auction. In addition, a moment of silence will be observed in his honor at the start of the auction. It’s the least we can do to pay tribute to such an amazingly talented, supportive and generous artist.”

The auction will be held on Tuesday, August 5, upstairs at the Fisherman’s Friend Restaurant in Stonington. Attendees can preview the buoys at 5:30 p.m., and the live auction will follow at 6 p.m. Dennis Damon, Penobscot East’s Board President, will be the auctioneer.

If you are unable to attend the auction but would like to preview all of the submissions, and possibly place a silent bid, log on to the Penobscot East website If you have any questions, call Bobbi Billings at 367-2708.