Hoping Maine Art Galley continues to inspire
I recently visited a wonderful show at the Maine Art Gallery (MAG) that reflects on the last 65 years of exhibitions.
I saw paintings by founding members Gene Klebe, Laurence Sisson, and F.W. Saunders. Of course, there were mica collages by Mildred Burrage. Current artists Celia Ludwig and Mark Coates, who also curated the show, and others on exhibit share gallery space with some pretty big names: Stephen Etnier, Marguerite Zorach, William Thon, William Kienbusch, Cabot Lyford, Marguerite Robichaux, Dozier Bell, Katherine Bradford (who used to live on High Street) and Wiscasset's favorite, Chippy Chase.
Being inside that iconic (1807) brick building, I was struck by the smell of old paint and the sensation that there is still a lot of learning going on there. An archival photo of early Wiscasset students is testimony to the building’s past as the town academy while the gallery walls today provide ongoing lessons in Maine’s art history.
I was surprised to hear that Wiscasset's upcoming Annual Meeting may be a litmus test for the future of MAG. A non-binding question on the town’s Warrant suggests the Town of Wiscasset might consider selling its old academy that has been the home of MAG for 65 years. It has been a friendly arrangement that Miss Burrage asked for back in 1958. She made a compelling case for it then and there is absolutely no compelling case to abandon that now.
While I am no longer a resident of Wiscasset, I hope that at their June 13 meeting, Wiscasset will prove there is loyalty for a 2021 agreement between the town of Wiscasset and MAG for a 20-year lease. To do otherwise would not only be wasting the investment Wiscasset has made, but denying generations to come a place to enjoy, learn and be inspired.
Ironically, the name of this show is "Generations." I hope the MAG continues to be a source of stimulation, pleasure and pride for Wiscasset, Lincoln County and Maine.
Martha Frink (formerly Stetson)
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