Peggy Greenhut Golden figured: Why look anywhere else to find artists, when so many of them were right in Maine? Thus began her mission at her self- named Old Port gallery to exclusively feature artists with a connection to Maine — whether they grew up there, live there full- or part-time, summer there, or are simply inspired by the state’s majesty.
“Maine has had a tradition of being a state where artists evolve,” said Greenhut Golden, whose 35-year-old Greenhut Galleries on Middle Street is just a short walk from Portland’s waterfront. “I knew there were a lot of very talented artists in Maine in need of wall space.”
Today, the gallery shows hundreds of artists who have various personal connections to Maine and who work in a broad spectrum of styles and mediums. It also represents a cadre of roughly 15 exclusive — and very diverse — painters, illustrators and sculptors. (They each get regular solo shows at Greenhut but exhibit elsewhere, as well.)
Greenhut rotates shows in and out of its light, airy, 3,000-square-foot exhibition space on a monthly basis — many of which are its exclusive artists’ solo exhibitions, with a variety of themed group shows peppered in between. One of its most recent group endeavors was its Sixth Invitational Biennial Portland Show. Artists had to create a piece wholly inspired by the city, representing the ways in which they interpret or experience it. Going along with that, they had to write a paragraph or two explaining the piece — an exercise in words that isn’t always easy, as artists are more accustomed to images, textures, shapes and colors.
Upcoming exhibitions include a solo show from May 3 to 26 featuring roughly 25 works by Susan Barnes. The mid-career artist blends photos, paint, drawings and collage in willowy and muted-colored mixed-media panels that often focus on movement, light, the environment and infrastructure.