The summer art calendar in coastal Maine is jam- packed by design.
During the cold depths of a northern New England winter, all of us involved in the Maine art scene have plenty of time to think and plan. We know exactly when the away-crowds will return. We know precisely how short that window of opportunity is. And we take each and every effort to optimize our gallery and museum programming in the ways most likely to bring our diverse communities of artists, enthusiasts and collectors together for festive gatherings under summer skies, once again.
In contrast to last year’s busy season, when the lingering COVID-19 pandemic dominated many arts organizations into a series of half-steps and false starts; the summer of 2022 is shaping up to be a banner year for Maine-based artists and cultural institutions.
That’s precisely why we wanted to offer this coastal Maine summer arts preview: to shine ample light on a select cross- section of buzz-worthy fine art occurrences taking place in Vacationland as the weather warms up. Get ready to hit the road, grab a lobster roll and go see some art!
Where to start? A few turns away from the four-lane commercialized-monotony of Route 1 in Kittery is where you’ll discover the Foreside district; several walkable blocks bursting with a high density of foodie-approved eateries, boutique shops and art galleries.
One brand new Kittery Foreside gallery that should be a must-visit on your list is the David Lussier Gallery (66 Wallingford Square, Kittery; davidlussiergallery.com).
“Our grand opening will be June 3 from 5-9 p.m.,” states award winning contemporary impressionist, nationally- recognized plein air painter and gallery owner David Lussier. “We will specialize in plein air paintings and New England landscapes and seascapes. In addition to myself, my wife Pamela Lussier, plus family members Benjamin Lussier and Jennifer Simpson, will be the primary focus of the gallery. This summer, we’ll be hosting a Maine Seacoast and Island Summer exhibition, which will include invited artists.”
A couple of towns up the coastal road, just a short distance past the Nubble Lighthouse, is where you’ll find Ogunquit, Maine. This four square-mile town, and its storied Ogunquit Art Colony, have a well-documented reputation as integral parts of the history of American art and modernism.
On September 16, 1928, a group of artists and friends met at the Perkins Cove Studio of painter Charles H. Woodbury to organize an art group that would exhibit fine art and provide educational programs in Ogunquit. Their tradition continues today at Barn Gallery (3 Hartwig Lane, Ogunquit; barngallery.org) where juried members of the Ogunquit Art Association (Maine’s original artists’ group) host their vibrant exhibitions, inspiring gallery talks, lively panel discussions, illuminating demonstrations and enlightening workshops.
“The Ogunquit Art Association is celebrating their 94th Anniversary in 2022,” stated Ogunquit Arts Collaborative President, Deidre O’Flaherty. “This exciting new season of art exhibitions and programs by artists of the Ogunquit Art Association begins with our Opening Exhibitions at Barn Gallery running from Wednesday, May 25 through Saturday, July 23. Virtual versions of our exhibitions will be made available on barngallery.org. Also, much of the work will be seen on our Barn Gallery Facebook and Instagram accounts.”
Nearby, the Ogunquit Museum of American Art – OMAA (543 Shore Road, Ogunquit; ogunquitmuseum.org), a true ocean-front gem of a small museum, mounts a variety of engaging modern and contemporary exhibition programs from May through October.
Among the OMAA’s multiple noteworthy summer exhibitions this year is “Jim Morin: Drawing and Painting” (May 1-October 31, 2022) featuring the multi-faceted work of Jim Morin (b. 1953, Washington, D.C. and now a resident of Ogunquit). Best known as the distinguished editorial cartoonist for The Miami Herald for over 40 years, Morin is a longtime painter in oil and a multiple Pulitzer Prize winner in journalism for his cartoons.
“This season the Museum has assembled incredible pieces in many mediums that reflect different views of American art,” said Amanda Lahikainen, Executive Director of Ogunquit Museum of American Art. “We are very excited to welcome our visitors to share in the beauty of the works of art in our vibrant galleries. We will also be revealing the newly installed signature window that reveals our incredible view of the Atlantic Ocean.”
DON’T MISS: The birthplace of the legendary Ogunquit Art Colony now also serves as the beating heart of one of Maine’s most important cultural happenings! If you attend Ogunquit’s 2nd Annual Perkins Cove Plein Air Event on Saturday, September 10 (ogunquitperkinscovepleinair.com), you’ll be able to enjoy the timeless sight of plein air painters in the act of putting brush to canvas in — and around — Perkins Cove. There will be judging for Professional, Amateur, and People’s Choice awards plus a Wet Paint Sale. There will also be historical tours, art history talks, artist demonstrations, and live music in Perkins Cove.