In2019, The Gallery in Readfield opened as a nonbusiness gallery to establish a creative, supportive and celebratory community art presence in central Maine. Artists are invited to exhibit a body of work in The Gallery for a month, and receive help to plan and execute a solo or group show. The exhibiting artist or artists provides a reception and host an opening and closing along with The Gallery. My goal is to help each artist get the work out of their studio and onto The Gallery walls.
Such a task can be overwhelming for a new artist, so I help hang the show and guide each artist through this process. Each exhibition is designed and curated by the artists themselves. The walls of this beautiful space are designed to give the public direct access to the fine art works of emerging local artists.
The Gallery in Readfield is designed as a free venue for artists to show and share their work with their neighbors and visitors to central Maine. I am committed to minimizing fiscal barriers that separate the artist from the community and the community from art. As such, all of the sales go directly to the artists.
Pre COVID-19, art was on the walls during the spring, summer and fall months. There were gala openings and celebratory closings with each show. When winter came around The Gallery hosted events for the community such as local musicians and Lunch and Learns with local speakers such as Co-founder and Executive Director Chris Asch of Capital Area New Mainers Project who spoke about assisting new families who come to Maine escaping hardships of their homeland. As a result, several families signed up to mentor refugee families.
During the holidays The Gallery lit candles and everyone savored homemade latkes while tapping toes to music played by a local klezmer band. These are only a few of the wonderful programs.
But large gatherings are halted now in small spaces and openings are on Zoom.
The Gallery is operating online until it feels safe to physically reopen. The shows that were scheduled for 2020 simply shifted to an online slideshow on the gallery website. The artists were all willing and excited to be able to continue showing their work during these difficult times. We artists typically work in isolation and with a worldwide pandemic are even more isolated.
From Thanksgiving through December, The Gallery invited its artists to participate in an online $100 and under Holiday Art Show, which was an uplifting win-win for artists and community alike. Artists offered their work for sale and the price was low enough so the community had the opportunity to buy original art. The Gallery works hard for everyone involved to connect local artists with the community and, perhaps, a new collector.
To brighten and highlight the closed gallery's ongoing presence, we made a small garden this summer parallel to the ramp that leads to The Gallery’s front doors. Mammoth sunflowers grew 10 feet tall and welcomed everyone up the ramp, past The Gallery, on the way to the Post Office. Community members anonymously participated in grooming the garden.
This is a time in my own life where I can do this work and help out fellow artists as I try to think globally and act locally. The Gallery is my gift to the Readfield community and as an art presence in Central Maine. It is also my gift to my fellow artists to build a vibrant and creative arts community and a safe, supportive, gentle space to show and sell their work.