Thursday, July 1, 2010

Summer buzzing along

Summer seems to arrives so quickly & then it buzzes along @ lightspeed. So that's the excuse for the time beween blogs. But here are some observations about the past month or so.

Saco Community Garden has been put on the Saco Garden Club's garden tour this year. The founding members of SCG have been working to make community gardening a reality for over a year now, working closely with the Saco Park & Recreations Department. So being invited to participate in the garden tour is a considerable honor. Just google either organization to get the dates & times.

After a triumphant winter in the Mills, Biddeford Art Walk has moved outdoors & is still the final Friday of each month, still from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. Still a great way to spend an evening locally & be inspired. Biddefords' own Tammy Ackerman is the contact for questions about the Art Walk.

The Saco Spirit & it's merchants have been working very hard all year to produce an enjoyable, organized Artfest. This 40th was the best yet. We saw new venders, like Portland's own Creative Trails bringing new artists to Saco. There were old stand-bys to revisit. There was a wonderful Silent Auction featuring many arts, crafts, free services coupons & lovely items to pamper the winning bidders. Sam's Place framer & artist Jim Cotsis won the Mixed Media ribbon, for the second year in a row! We will be featuring his winning work w/ the ribbon some time in the weeks' ahead, in our front store window - keep your eyes peeled.

If anyone is interested in a Art Club, contact Elizabeth Shore. Her Art Club meets the 2nd Thursday of every month @ Sam's Place, Main St.

So here's hoping you all get out & enjoy all the events this quick summer season!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Spring Blog: Things that Rock

Saco Bay Trails is holding its annual meeting at the Dyer Library Meeting Room, this coming Saturday, May 15th at 9:30AM.

The trails committee recently installed a memorial bench to honor Horace Wood, in a mid-trail location that showcases much of the Rachel Carson Nation Wildlife Refuge. The bench will be dedicated at the Annual Meeting.


The Master Gardeners of the Saco Community Garden will offer a gardening workshop Sunday, May 22nd at the Saco Museum to support SBGC's donations to libraries, gardening education programs and horticultural scholarships. Most plants sell for $4.00 and further information can be obtained at or call Cathleen at 286-2711.


The Saco Museum opens a new show, Making History: Art & Industry in the Saco River Valley, May 29th. Email or call Jessica at 283-3861 for details


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Intro to Drawing

The University of Maine System at Saco Island will be offering an Intro to Drawing (Art 115) through the University of Maine System. The class will meet Thursdays from 12 noon-5:00pm beginning May 20th through August 19th. Call 282-4111 or 1-800-696-3391 to sign up for this exciting course that satisfies 3 fine art credits toward most core curriculum requirements.

The talented Augusta faculty member Pat Chandler will instruct. Visit her website to enjoy the touching portraits, brilliant still life work and the accurate visual medium she has chosen to communicate through.

Registration is painless if you call the helpful counselors to walk you through the process. Call now, registration began April 12th.

Father and Daughter
Portrait by Pat Chandler


Friday, April 9, 2010

The Arts Now

The talented Thornton Academy Players will perform "Into the Woods", this Friday and Saturday at 7pm and Sunday at 2pm. Tickets sell for $8. For more info email

If you just want to experience the history and humor of Red Soucy and Roland Bergeron at their farewell performance, Cornerstone United Methodist Church is the place to see them one last time. The performance is Saturday night at 7pm and tickets sell for $5. For more info call 207-282-2755

If Franco is your interest, the McArthur Library is featuring renown artist Lucie Therrien in concert Sunday at 3pm. For more info about ongoing programs and concerts call 207-284-4181 or visit

The OOB/Saco Adult Ed is offering a class called Tips for Decoration on a Budget next Tuesday, April 13th frp, 6-8:30p. Cost is $29. For more info call 934-7922 or visit their web site.

The Saco Spirit Merchants are planning the Annual Fashion Show for Thursday April 29th at the Ramada. The $35 tickets get attendees dinner, the runway show, celebrity waiters and gift bags. Go to Saco Spirit's website or buy tickets from participating merchants downtown.

In Vino Veritas*

2010 Mill-ennial Memories

Last night marked the gala opening of the long awaited Mill-ennial Show. There was a great turn-out (I stopped counting at 150). From the wine table it was a wonderful sight. Passing red or white, I got to see all the artists whose work hung inside. There were so many talented people representing so many different media. The things they all had in common were a connection to the area and a love of their craft. Respected evergreen artisans rubbed elbows with a younger blooming set. It was like a garden of the mature experiences and new hybrids talking and sharing knowledge.

Newer artists like Assemblage Robin Puleio and Photographer Nick Anagnostis, a Thornton Academy Alumni, showed with well-known Fiber Artist Kathy Angel Lee. Lee's work "Saco Mills" was chosen for the Mill-ennial publicity.

George Hughes' Intelligent Design

This show had it all: witty art from Peter Bennett and George Hughes to social commentary from Omer Gagnon. Well received Encaustic Artists Laura Dunn and Diane Bowie Zaitlin both proved again that their medium continues to engage in fresh surprisingly new ways.

Anastasia Weigle's Zoological Curiosities

The galleries diversified by presenting works in the Mill and in the Museum. Large works world-class sculptor Celeste Roberge, whose current works are a sentimental favorite and small scale works by Assemblage Artist Anastasia Weigle broaden the scope of work. The former's works, dedicated to her cherished parents, tugged at the heart in a big way while the latter's miniatures stirred up a collective cultural memory in an enclosed intimate setting. This is just another example of the Museum's attention to detail - how they showcase a narrative versus simply collecting.

Donna Caron's Upright Figures III

Once relieved from wine pouring, I wandered the gallery and enjoyed the work in both locations. Sculptor Donna Caron's Upright Figures III referenced the past and the organic and still elicited a brave stance towards an uncertain future. It was astonishing to see Painter Tammy Charles' acrylic Crows full scale after admiring it so long as a thumbnail sized work on her website. With the size of the work, the painting appeared to glow.

Tammy Charles' Crows in the Cornfield

Once one saw the scale and diversity of the works, it made perfect sense to use two sights for the show. The experience had the feel of a scavenger hunt once the Stone Soup Artisans Spring Fling was thrown in for good measure.

The show runs until June 13th. Even better, the Museum intends to present a Mill-ennial every two years. Raise a glass, because we can expect to see this event grow in richness and complexity, in much the same way the artists grow and change. We can hardly wait!

*With wine comes truth. Cheers!


Wednesday, March 31, 2010

7 Questions with Artist Chris Reed

Encaustic by Chris Reed

1. What do you do when you're not feeling creative? How do you get back in your groove?

I rarely am in a deficit for creative energy. When I'm looking for that extra boost, meditation provides the stillness and concentration to be more engaged in the present moment.

2. Do you think creativity is innate or learned or both?

I believe creativity is innate in all of us, yet can be greatly augmented through our connection to the environment and one another, which is the best education.

3. What has been your biggest influence or inspiration in the past? Currently?

In addition to other artists, the natural environment has always been inspiring to my painting. More recently, architectural decay, including the effects of oxidation have complemented my process as well.

Encaustic by Chris Reed

4. How do you feel living in Maine affects your work?

The natural beauty of Maine and slow pace of life is very nurturing for being an artist that I appreciate more all the time.

5. Who is/who are your favorite artist/artists? What do you love about them or their art?

Jasper Johns, Anselm Kiefer, and Gerhard Richter are at the forefront of my artistic influences. I am most intrigued by their tactile and applicatory use of the painting medium.

6. If you could take a vacation anywhere, where would go and what would you do?

I would embark on a trip to either the Greek Islands or the Tuscany region of Italy to capture the stunning light.

7. What's your best advice to beginning artists?

My best advice to beginning artists: Always be mindful of the beauty that awaits.


Chris Reed graduated from Bowdoin with a degree in Visual Arts. Chris has exhibited in Portland Galleries and taught at The New School in Kennebunk and Saco/OOB Adult Ed.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Biddeford Art Walk

The Biddeford Art Walk is almost upon us. That's why we have had a flurry of artists (like a flock of birds or a gaggle of geese) in Sam's Place. (editors note: we do not intentionally allow birds or geese in the shop) We have supplied artists with hanging wire, "s" hooks and various small brads for their frames. Someone's been in for core board, another for tape. All these excited preparations remind one of the hours before a much anticipated wedding.

Art shows and weddings are both days of commitment, fear and celebration. Expectations scatter in the brain like confetti. The public will love it. The public will hate it. Does this gown make me look like the back end of a milk truck?

There's the inevitable moment of panic before the ceremony. Does he have the ring? Is the paint dry? I should have gone into short stories.

Finally, there is the eventual pride and peace when it all comes together like a well-catered affair. So too, the art show arrives and artists' work is waiting for you to fall in love enough to carry them off and hang them in your home (another editor's note: think I'll stick with art shows and avoid the whole wedding thing).

Following the commitment there is the reception and here is where the wedding and the art show usually diverge. Receptions can be fraught with corny DJs and rambling drunken toasts delivered by your emotional college buddy. Art shows as lively as the Mill installations provide the opportunities for live music, dancing dogs, yummy foods for purchase and the fabulous company of like-minded art-makers and art-lovers; feels like a party!