Stained-and-varnished wood sculptures by Steve Bartlett are part of the exhibition “Untitled 2020” at the Portland Museum of Art. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

Museums are springing back to life, creating more opportunities for seeing art in person.

The Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland has remained open and shown art since June, after the first wave of the pandemic swept across Maine, while others have stayed closed. The Portland Museum of Art reopened last week after being closed since early December, the Center for Maine Contemporary Art in Rockland reopens Thursday, and the Ogunquit Museum of American Art will open for the season May 1, as it usually does.

The early spring brings great opportunities to see a range of contemporary Maine art.

The CMCA in Rockland reopens with its Biennial Thursday. Photo by Dave Clough Photography

CMCA will reopen with its Biennial on view through May 2, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. This gives people a little more than a month to see a survey of contemporary Maine art and a chance to meet CMCA’s new director, Tim Peterson. He replaces the recently retired Suzette McAvoy. “Personally, I am excited to welcome back visitors for the first time since I arrived at CMCA in January,” he said, promising an announcement of spring exhibitions soon.

“We_Gonna_Be_Alright” by Ryan Adams is part of the new “Untitled” exhibition hosted by the Portland Museum of Art — for now on its website and in person when the museum reopens. Courtesy of Portland Museum of Art

Meanwhile, the PMA will reopen with “Untitled, 2020: Art from Maine in a ____ Time,” a juried exhibition of contemporary art that chronicles some of what we experienced individually and collectively over the past year. It’s not an exhibition about the pandemic, but the pandemic informs everything on view as 25 artists working in Maine make sense of a world in chaos. They made all the work in response to the fill-in-the-blank kind of year that it was – sad, tragic, profound, hopeful, empowering, dispiriting. The themes cover social justice, isolation, climate change, human rights, equity, accountability, disinformation and more.

The museum installed the exhibition in the winter, in anticipation of a spring in-person opening. It’s has been available as a digital exhibition since February.

“I cannot wait until we open again and bring people in to see in person the wonderful testament to our community,” Jaime DeSimone, curator of contemporary art, said at the time of the digital opening.

Finally, people are welcome to come in.

A collection of panels by members of ARRT!, or Artists’ Rapid Response Team!, hangs in the Portland Museum of Art as part of the exhibition “Untitled 2020.” Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

The museum received more than 900 submissions, affirming Maine’s active art community and the fervor of creativity rippling across studios statewide. It was open to all comers and all media, with the only requirement that the work be created in Maine in 2020.

Artists with work in the show are Ryan Adams, ARRT! (Artists’ Rapid Response Team!), Henry Austin, Greta Bank, Steve Bartlett, Rachel Church, Titi de Baccarat, Anna Dibble, Christopher Dudley, Rosamond Gross, Celeste Henriquez, Greg Jamie, Eleanor Kipping, Enrique Mendía, Meghan Mitchell, Elijah Ober, Ashley Page, Veronica A. Perez, Julie Poitras Santos, Joshua Reiman, Charles Schreiber, Sally Stanton, Giles Timms, Deborah Wing-Sproul and Evelyn Wong.

The museum will be open four days a week, Thursday through Sunday, with a timed-entry reservation system, and reservations must be made in advance. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday, Saturday and Sunday, and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday. Admission is free on Friday, $18 and $15 otherwise. For details, visit portlandmuseum.org.

Jo Sandman’s drilled and carved corals will be on view at the Ogunquit Museum of American Art this spring. Photo by Perry Smith, courtesy of Ogunquit Museum of American Art

When it opens for the season May 1, Ogunquit will show abstract work in variety of material and media – paintings, photographs, sculpture – by Jo Sandman, a Black Mountain College artist and longtime art educator. Ogunquit acquired 33 of her works through the Jo Sandman Legacy Project in 2018 and is showing them for the first time, with other pieces from other collections. It also will open with “Remember the Ladies: Women Painters in Ogunquit, 1900-1950.”

Robert Indiana’s “LOVE” at the Farnsworth in Rockland. Courtesy of the Farnsworth Art Museum

Meanwhile, the Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland never closed since reopening last June. It too is operating on a timed-entry system, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday, with an Eliot Porter photography show, “All the Wild Places,” through May 2, and selections from the permanent collection ongoing. It has a full slate of spring exhibitions lined up, with an announcement planned soon.

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