Barbara Michelena, obituary

Fri, 07/31/2020 - 6:30pm

CAMDEN — Barbara Michelena passed away on July 16, 2020 at her Camden home surrounded by close friends and family.

Barbara was born to Lillian and E. Cleveland Giddings, a direct descendant of US President Grover Cleveland in Brooklyn, New York in 1930. An only child, Barbara spent her early childhood in Oceanside, L.I. Later, the family moved to Washington DC, where Barbara attended the exclusive and academically rigorous Sidwell Friends School. 

Barbara's interest in art led her back to Brooklyn, where she attended Pratt Institute’s School of Design. It was there that she discovered her love of Maine while visiting an art school friend one summer and she would return every year thereafter.      

After graduating, Barbara worked for the prestigious design office of Raymand Loewy, in New York, as well as Charles Luckman Associates in Los Angeles, where she met and soon married Thomas “Peter” Michelena. They would eventually team up to form Michelena Design Associates. They had two sons, Peter and Adam.

In 1991, Barbara and her husband retired to Camden and have been vital members of the mid coast creative community ever since. Barbara served on the board of The Center for Maine Contemporary Art (CMCA), where she conceived and developed the “Work of the Hand,” a week-long juried craft fair and major fundraiser held each October.

In 2010, Barbara opened CRAFT Gallery in Rockland, which grew to be regarded as one of the premiere fine art craft galleries in New England. Barbara described the gallery as “an intersection of design, fine art and craft.” For nearly a decade CRAFT gave Maine craft artists a unique platform to display and sell their work in a unique space designed to celebrate the artists and highlight their remarkable creations.

She is survived by her youngest son, Peter, who lives in Los Angeles.

Barbara has requested that gifts in her memory be made to the Knox County Homeless Coalition, an organization she admires and supports. 

There will be no services. 

Condolences may be shared at

Arrangements are with the Long Funeral Home & Cremation Service, 9 Mountain Street, Camden.