Portland Museum of Art is hands-down the best art museum in Maine. But what about the state’s small private galleries? Maine’s coastline has drawn artists for centuries, and the state’s galleries are packed with a who’s-who of painters, sculptors and everything in between. Here’s our list of some of the best.
One of Maine’s largest privately-owned galleries, Mast Cove began 38 years ago with just 12 artists. The southern sea port gallery has more than 70 works today, drawing casual onlookers and serious buyers alike to the restored barn and surrounding sculpture garden. The gallery also hosts jazz and blues concerts throughout the year.
1 Mast Cove Lane, Kennebunkport, ME, USA, +1 207 967 3453
Maine’s only gallery to focus exclusively on contemporary abstract art, ICON features the work of Maine artists as well as the galleries founder, Duane Paluska. The Illinois-born Paluska also has a woodworking studio on-site, and runs a radio show where he interviews artists featured at the gallery.
19 Mason St., Brunswick ME, USA, +1 207 725 8157
This new gallery set in a brightly-lit period brick building in the heart of Portland showcases contemporary artists from around Maine. Launched in 2014 on the (correct) premise that some of the greatest arts hail or were inspired by the state, the gallery is one of three outposts for an art collector who charges artists a monthly fee for exposure. The different way of doing business has alienated some, but the gallery hosts some rare, hard-to-find contemporary print, painting and sculpture artists unseen elsewhere.
154 Middle Street Portland, ME, USA, + 1 207 956 7105
Located in the heart of the Old Port, Portland’s longest standing gallery, was founded in 1977 by owner Peggy Greenhut Golden, a New York native who also curates the biannual Portland Show. With a reputation four decades in the making, Greenhut is routinely voted Portland’s (read: Maine’s) best gallery and is a large reason why the city’s art community has its stellar reputation. With more than 40 contemporary painters and sculptors, the gallery features the who’s-who in Maine art.
146 Middle Street, Portland, ME, USA, +1 207 772 2693
Vincent van Gogh observed that "The heart of man is very much like the sea, it has its storms, it has its tide and in its depths it has its pearls too." As Henry Isaacs' "Cove at Swan Island" suggests, the sea – and perhaps the heart as well – also contains the harmony of the universe as found in the color purple, a mix of blue (yin) and red (yang). #colorMegreenut #paintportland #artscene #localart #maineart #maineartist @henryisaacsstudio
This art space for contemporary Maine photographers, painters and artists was recently launched by a Greenhut Gallery employee to give Maine artists more visibility. Located on street level, the gallery describes itself as a space for passerbys and art-enthusiasts alike. Open only on the first Friday of each month or by appointment, the gallery draws from Maine’s up-and-coming artists.