DESTINATION MIDCOAST MAINE
A pair of Maine Windjammers pass the Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse in Rockland, Maine. Photo courtesy of the Maine Office of Tourism.
aine has always exerted a gravitational force on serious artists. From historical greats like Frederic Church, Winslow Homer, Marsden Hartley and Fairfield Porter to contemporary masters like Richard Estes, Richard Tuttle, Robert Indiana, Lois Dodd, and even the greatest living glassblower—the Italian maestro Lino Tagliapietra—artists come to Maine to work. Because it is a place of beauty where culture has not come to dominate nature, the hardworking coast is a commonsensical antidote to the culturally urbane urban megalopolis anchored by New York and the catty machinations of the artworld. The appeal is real: Maine has more artists per capita than any other state.
S P E C I A L
A D V E R T I S I N G
S E C T I O N
After many years in the gallery world both in New York and on the West Coast, what struck me on my return home was the open attitude of artists and venues in Maine. Here, the art scene is more about community than territory. The fences are not as high and everyone can more easily flow in a less striated world. The galleries, museums, kunsthalles, co-ops, studios, institutions of higher education, various art groups and artists are more at ease with each other. Consequently, while it is one of the leading art centers in America, Maine’s art scene doesn’t look or feel like other places—and that is a very good thing for everyone. Clusters of museums and phalanxes of galleries make it easier for consumers to systematically cover their quarry, but here the arts
are more naturally blended into the working coastline, the weather-wizened shores and the bold landscape. It’s a scenic context, but it is anything but slick. Maine’s beauty and appeal are free from affect: It is a tough, honest and unpolished place. So it should come as no surprise that Midcoast is the quiet but professional epicenter of Maine art. If you are one of the people (like me) who prefers to start at the top of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Guggenheim and work your way down the spiral, then you might want to consider similarly shaping your visit to Maine. Working your way back down the coast even over a weekend can be an idyllic art adventure. Located just off I-95 less than two hours
J u l y / A u g u s t 2 0 1 5
Art New England 49