Great Little Art Galleries
Sometimes, little is great.
While Maine offers many spectacular art museums, just as spectacular are the medium-sized to teeny art galleries that dot its coastline and towns. Here, you’ll discover a plethora of works by both up-and-coming artists and seasoned experts alike, from painters to welders to jewelry makers. Purchase art you can hang on your wall, wear proudly or even wield in your kitchen. The piece is unlikely to have an exact duplicate and may transform regular daily habits, like drinking out of your coffee mug, into treasured rituals.
Turtle Gallery (Deer Isle): Just north of the Deer Isle village center right along Route 15 is The Turtle Gallery, encompassing a charming 1876 two-story barn, the adjacent Centennial House Gallery and outdoor sculpture gardens. Representing both emerging and established artists across a wide range of disciplines, here you’ll find fine art, sculpture and contemporary crafts for viewing and purchase. Step out of the light-filled barn into their sculpture garden featuring both eye-catching and meditative works that come and go during their exhibits.
George Marshall Store Gallery (York): Located in a 19th-century former general store on the picturesque York River, this gallery may conjure up images of historic, coastal paintings when taken in from the outside. But inside you will find a modernized space showcasing contemporary art of emerging and mid-career artists from Maine and New England. Browse paintings, sculpture and more – and, keep an eye out for their seasonal workshops they host at the gallery.
Spruce Tree Studio (Tenant’s Harbor): Owned by Artist Sarah G. Lee who grew up Maine, today her love of our state and making and crafting combines in the form of beautifully textured, whimsical paintings. While you’re there, you’ll also find a variety of housewares for sale, like hand-foraged candle sticks and table linens, many of which are handmade pieces of art themselves.
River Roads Gallery (Skowhegan): Located in downtown Skowhegan, this gallery is a treasure trove of beautiful artwork and craft, including ceramics, fiber arts, jewelry, illustrations, art glass, woodworking, basketry and more. Cooperatively managed by Maine artisans, they work to give back to the community through their art, and also host art parties, where you can get a hands-on look at the creative process of Maine makers, creators and artists.
The Good Supply (Bristol): Starting with the work of just 16 artists, today this small business has grown to feature over 100 makers (90% of whom are Maine-based) in a lovingly restored 1850’s barn. The walls inside are vibrant with the work of both original artists and new makers, from match box collages to hand-crafted wooden clocks and skateboard decks beset with stained glass. A great place for gifts, you’ll want to stay awhile – and may find yourself circling the barn a second or third time to take it all in.
Cove Street Arts (Portland): Located in Portland’s East Bayside community, this interdisciplinary art space strives to showcase the enduring legacy of Maine’s place in American art history, promoting contemporary art and providing an engaging space for artists and community. Spacious at 8,000 square feet, Cove Street Arts includes multiple galleries and showrooms where new work is featured each month, a bookstore/small works gallery, an event and workshop space and a full-size, retractable movie screen for video art installations and film screenings. Aspiring artists should keep an eye out – Cove Street Arts features two artist studios in which residencies will be offered on an invitational basis.
Maine Art Hill (Kennebunk): This unique art destination is made up of seven micro-galleries charmingly nestled adjacent to one another. Celebrating a 30-year legacy and one of Southern Maine’s premier art galleries, the collections are fresh and diverse, displaying local artists’ work and offering retail sales of jewelry, sculpture, paintings and more.
Eastport Gallery (Eastport): Eastport’s oldest gallery, this collective of local member artists offers a variety of work, from metal sculptures to dynamic paintings. Stop in for their literary and music events that often pop up on their back deck and online.
Caldbeck Gallery (Rockland): Known and respected in both the Maine and New York art worlds for its exhibitions of paintings, sculpture and photography, this husband-and-wife owned contemporary art business has been representing artists with a connection to Maine since 1982. Come by for new artwork throughout the seasons.
Artemis (Northeast Harbor): Tucked away in the coastal elegance of Northeast Harbor, this gallery has been featuring Maine-themed and Maine-inspired artists since 2012. From felted wool sculptures to dreamy watercolors and abstract creations, each piece intrigues and offers a compelling perspective.
Local Color (Belfast): Located in pleasantly eclectic downtown Belfast, this year-round, sunny venue offers a variety of work by local artists, including oil, acrylic and watercolor paintings, copper and solar plate etchings, woodcuts and linocuts, fiber art and found wood assemblage. Be sure to keep an eye out for their guest artist each month.
Courthouse Gallery (Ellsworth): Not far from Acadia National Park, this gallery is housed within Ellsworth’s historic 1830’s Greek Revival courthouse and registry of deeds, which have been beautifully renovated to capture their former grandeur. High ceilings and 4,500 square feet of exhibition space allows the gallery to be a hub for artists, collectors and friends. Featuring works from nationally-established artists, emerging artists and estates, the gallery regularly rotates these works through exhibitions, in addition to hosting artist’s talks, events and guest speakers.