New blood at River Arts: “I’m new to River Arts,” said Pemaquid painter Alice de Mauriac when I caught up with her recently in the West Gallery of Damariscotta’s River Arts. “I started showing here last summer.” Last fall, she and her husband, Julio Sanchez-Banos, an engineer who hails from Spain, rearranged the main gallery’s interior space, painted the walls a crisp white, and began their volunteer job of hanging all of the nonprofit gallery’s shows.
“We painted the whole gallery,” said de Mauriac. “We took out partitions. Julio built a cover for the fireplace. It makes for a more uniform space.”
The remodeled gallery feels bright, fresh, and open – less like a house and more like a space intended to be an art gallery. The freshly painted white walls and lack of partitions in the main gallery make for a decidedly more gallery-type experience, allowing one to step back and take in the many pieces of art that typically populate a River Arts show. On the walls of the main gallery currently is the “Artists’ Choice” show, which runs through Friday, June 2.
“We are so excited by this place,” de Mauriac said. “We are trying to make it more of a professional gallery.” De Mauriac praised gallery founder Linda Morkeski’s long-standing policy of being an “inclusive” gallery. “Everyone from beginners to professionals is hanging their work here,” said de Mauriac. Though shows in the main gallery are juried, “some jurors are more egalitarian” in their choice of work to be hung, she said. Beginning artists have just as much chance of making it into a River Arts show as an artist with a lengthy resume, unlike the situation at many galleries, which typically only consider artists that have reputations, resumes, portfolios, and/or degrees, de Mauriac noted.
“This is a great place for a young artist to start out because they can get in,” de Mauriac said. “This is a resume-building place. You can be self-taught (and have a show) here.”
De Mauriac is looking forward to the coming months. “The summer people are coming in and they’ll be surprised by the changes,” she said with a smile.
Go to riverartsme.org to find out more about River Arts’ exhibitions and classes. River Arts is located at 241 Route 1, Damariscotta. It is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday.
Keep up with River Arts on Facebook at facebook.com/riverarts.
History in his blood: Wiscasset filmmaker, musician, and historian Sumner McKane will present a free program titled “The Lumberjack Culture in Maine” from 3-4 p.m. on Monday, May 15 at The Lincoln Home, 22 River Road, Newcastle. McKane will screen his 2011 film “In the Blood” about turn-of-the-last-century Maine lumberjacks and river drivers, and answer questions. For those unfamiliar with McKane and what he does, this is a chance to meet the talented, likable man and get to know his interesting work. “In the Blood,” by the way, features a soundtrack written and performed by McKane. Learn more about him at sumnermckane.com.
(Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or write me a letter in care of The Lincoln County News, P.O. Box 36, Damariscotta, ME 04543. I love to hear from readers.)