Karen Adrienne rolls ink Wednesday at Circling the Square Fine Art Press in Gardiner. The owner and director was preparing the Water Street venue for the first art walk in the community since 2019 that will commence at 5 p.m. Friday. Dozens of businesses will host artists while several studios will be open to the public during the tour along Water Street. Adrienne, who helped start the ArtWalk Gardiner more than 15 years ago, said the enthusiasm by both merchants and artists is palpable. Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal

GARDINER — Local artists and businesses will be highlighted once again for the first time since 2019 as ArtWalk Gardiner returns Friday from 5 to 8:30 p.m.

More than 30 artists and 15 businesses are slated to participate. The event’s founder and lead organizer, Karen Adrienne, said that over time, the art walk evolved to incorporate local businesses.

“It’s still basically inviting the public into artists’ studios,” she said, “and what’s unique is that we invite artists that don’t have studios downtown and set them up with a business. It’s a cooperative way to have our artists and shops in town linked together for a community event.”

Adrienne is a local artist who works as owner and director of Artdogs Studios and Circling the Square Fine Art Press. She was also a professor of art at the University of Maine at Augusta for 30 years.

She’s owned a building in downtown Gardiner since 2004, and since 2005 she and other local artists began hosting annual art walks.

With the exception of a hiatus during the COVID-19 pandemic, the event has been going strong for nearly two decades.


Adrienne said it feels “terrific” to be back for the first time since 2019.

“It’s such a wonderful community event,” she said. “It also speaks to the need of artists in communities and what they offer a community, and it networks artists in the community. All sorts of important things, especially for a small town like Gardiner.”

She said the art walk plays a significant role in helping local artists network and gain exposure.

Altogether, Adrienne said the art walk takes about three to four months to plan, a process that involves the help of event coordinator Danae Lagoy and a six-member advisory committee.

“We have done it in the past with purely volunteers, and it always kind of breaks down, so hiring an event coordinator has been a great idea,” she said.

Lagoy, who is also a local artist, said this is her first time working as an event coordinator, and that it’s been an exciting opportunity. Much of her work involves speaking with local businesses and pairing them with artists.

“The artists will work inside businesses, and I’m trying to curate a good flow of that,” said Lagoy, “and then I’m doing the advertising and PR, so a lot of different things. And I’m going to be a participating artist, so I’m excited to show my studio to the world.”

Both Adrienne and Lagoy said there has been plenty of positive community feedback leading up to the event.

“People are really excited,” said Lagoy. “I think there’s a lot of energy around the event. There’s also a lot of new businesses and new people in Gardiner since the pandemic happened, so I think it’s gonna be a really great way to encourage this creative environment, introduce people to one another, and get artists and businesses in collaboration with each other.”

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