Longtime pillar of the Midcoast arts community, Alan James Baldwin, 76, of Damariscotta Mills, died peacefully on April 6, 2023. After fighting metastatic thymic carcinoma, he rested at his home on Great Salt Bay with his children, grandchildren, and siblings around him.
Born in Morristown, N.J. on Nov. 24, 1946, Alan attended Morris Hills Regional High School in Rockaway, N.J., and completed his bachelor’s in fine arts at Bard College. He met the love of his life, Mollie Huntzinger Baldwin, at Camp Kieve on Damariscotta Lake, while she worked as the camp nurse and he worked as a camp counselor. The two moved to Damariscotta Mills and built a wonderful life together, raising two daughters, many cats, and contributing to the Midcoast community in various ways.
Alan is remembered most for his artistry and craftsmanship. In the early ‘80s, he opened Artsake Framing Gallery, a custom frame shop with services ranging from simple frames to extensive restoration. His loyal customers valued his attention to aesthetics and detail, his immense variety of quality frames and woods, and his beautiful hand-thrown pottery. Alan was known for setting a very high standard and adding artistic flourishes to ensure that every piece of art was “well-dressed.”
In addition to Artsake, Alan held a number of odd jobs over the years, but most often could be found offering time, mentoring, and support in various official and unofficial volunteer roles. He was a member of the Lion’s Club, served as a Big Brother, taught pottery to hundreds of Kieve campers, and picked up trash along the river’s edge in the municipal parking lot of Damariscotta.
One of Alan’s greatest passions was classical music, which almost always played in the background at Artsake. He participated in several choral groups, including the Tapestry Singers and St. Cecilia’s Chamber Choir, and truly loved performing music with friends and community members. Friends have noted his “sizzling wit and easy laugh,” his “patient and knowledgeable teaching,” and his kind and gentle soul.
Alan was predeceased by his wife, Mollie Baldwin, in 2020. He is survived by his daughters, Jennifer Libby Baldwin and Elizabeth Jayne Baldwin, of Portland; and by his grandchildren, Augustus James Baldwin and Eloise Virginia Baldwin, also of Portland. He is also survived by his sister, Virginia Anne Pomata, of Leesburg, Va.; and his brother, Howard Spencer Baldwin, of Bristol, R.I.
A memorial service will be planned and announced in the coming months.
Memorial donations in lieu of flowers may be made to Kieve Wavus Education, Baldwin Family Arts Center, P.O. Box 169, Nobleboro, ME 04555 and online at kwe.org/give/ or CHANS Home Health & Hospice via 60 Baribeau Drive, Brunswick, ME 04011 and online at midcoastparkviewhealth.com/giving/donate.