Some people like to say you can find art everywhere.

Especially if artists create art everywhere. That’s the case in Southern Maine, where artists have recently created works that can be seen in the great outdoors, in all sorts of public spaces. These range from bus shelters and a former gas station in Portland to others in parks, along the Portland waterfront and at an art gallery and farm in Pownal.

COVID-19 has prompted people to look for outdoor versions of their favorite activities, including browsing art. So now may be a good time to get out and see some art in the fresh air and sunshine, while a mild Maine autumn is upon us. It’s a chance for people who’ve been hesitant to go inside to see art during this pandemic to quench their thirst in the great outdoors.

Here then are a few ideas of places where one can see works of art out in the open.

“The Mainer Project” bus stop by artist Pigeon, aka Orson Horchler, on St. John Street in Portland. Photo by Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer

THE ART STOPS HERE

Artists transformed three Portland bus shelters into works of art this summer as part of the Creative Bus Shelter Program, a partnership between Creative Portland, the Greater Portland Metro bus service and the Greater Portland Council of Governments. “Hope & Friendship” is the shelter designed by Portland artist Ebenezer Akakpo near 519 Congress St. and Mechanics’ Hall. The blue, green and red metal panels surrounding the shelter feature Adinkra symbols of hope and friendship used in Ghana, Akakpo’s home country. “The Mainer Project” at 325 St. John St., near a Dunkin’ Donuts, was done by Pigeon, a Portland-based street artist whose real name is Orson Horchler. It features four large, semi-transparent portraits of Mainers, some who’ve lived here their entire lives, others recently arrived. “Glacial Retreat” at 88 Bedford St., near the University of Southern Maine, is aptly named. Maine artist and photographer Justin Levesque created watery-blue imagery on the shelter’s panels, to present a theme related to the high temperature of ocean waters off Maine and the effect on cod. For more information on the shelters, go the Creative Portland website.

“Scratching Doe” by Wendy Klemperer will be on view at Hawk Ridge Farm in Pownal. Photo courtesy of June LaCombe Sculpture

FARM WORKS

June LaCombe Sculpture is presenting an outdoor exhibition during October called “Autumn at Hawk Ridge Farm,” at LaCombe’s farm and gallery property at 90 Minot Road in Pownal. Some 150 sculptures by 40 artists will be on view by appointment only in gardens, meadows, woodlands and in a barn. The show’s featured artist is Paul Heroux, a ceramics artist based in central Maine, and others with work on view will include Meg Brown Payson, Lise Becu, Digby Veevers-Carter and Wendy Klemperer. LaCombe asks that people reserve a time to view the outdoor show on her website, to allow her to space out visitors. She said to view the show, as it meanders her property, people will have to walk about a mile. People who sign up will get a price list that will help identify pieces as they walk. For more information go to the June LaCombe Sculpture website.

“Gathering Stones” by artist Jesse Salisbury at Fish Point on the Eastern Promenade Trail in Portland. Photo by Sharyn Peavey for Tempoart.

ROCKY COAST

This summer Maine artist Jesse Salisbury, with help from his father and son, engaged in a really heavy art project. Literally. He used giant granite and basalt stones – ranging in weight from 4,000 to 12,000 pounds – to create a work called “Gathering Stones” at Fish Point, on the Eastern Promenade Trail in Portland. The total weight of the stones was 38,500 pounds. The stones are split and carved into a shape that Salisbury hope encourages interaction. Some are hollow, so you can walk right in. Others are made to sit on, or step on. Hanging out among these rocks also affords beautiful views of Casco Bay. The trail leading to Fish Point can be accessed from Commercial Street or Fort Allen Park. For information on “Gathering Stones” go to Tempoartmaine.org

“Counting from Thirteen,” a mural and public art project by artists Ryan Adams, Daniel Minter and Titi de Baccarat at 754 Congress Street. Photo by Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

HOMAGE TO THE FALLEN

A former gas station at 754 Congress Street was transformed this summer by three artists from Portland into a statement of outrage over centuries of violence against Black people.

Daniel Minter, Ryan Adams and Titi de Baccarat contributed to the work. Minter and Ryan collaborated on “Counting from Thirteen.” The title comes from the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, which abolished slavery but also created a legal loophole that allowed the massive criminalization of Black people and gave rise to other forms of institutional racism. The front of the building features an abstract installation that involves 13 painted rectangular boxes on the building representing 13 bodies. Also on view at the gas station site is a life-size figure created by de Baccarat, on a knee, arm raised and clad in a Black Lives Matter T-shirt.

“Altar’d Space” was created by artist Athena Lynch in Portland’s Congress Square Park. Photo courtesy of Friends of Congress Square Park

MEDITATE A WHILE

Artist Athena Lynch installed a work of native Maine stones in Congress Square Park, at the corner of High and Congress streets, called “Altar’d Space.” The rocks are stacked to create a semi-circle, around a small body of water, about three feet long. Inside the pond is a solar pump that creates subtle movement of the water. Lynch says the piece was inspired by violence against Black people and the protests that followed, as well as the emotions they stir in people. She wants the work to become a space where people can grieve and process their emotions while connecting with the elements of nature. For more information on Congress Square Park go to the Friends of Congress Square Park website.


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