Paint Westbrook grows in celebration of art

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Westbrook artist Caren Michel looks out over the Presumpscot River during the inaugural Paint Westbrook event in 2015. The plein air painting event returns on Saturday, Sept. 9.

WESTBROOK — The third annual Paint Westbrook plein air event will be complemented this year by the first ever Arts in the Brook event.

The coinciding events will take place Saturday, Sept. 9, in various parts of the city. Westbrook Arts and Culture, the Westbrook Downtown Coalition and Continuum for Creativity are hosting the events.

Abigail Cioffi, the executive director of the Downtown Coalition, said Arts in the Brook was created because of the popularity of Paint Westbrook.

“It’s been really great the past couple of years and we wanted to do more to celebrate art,” she said.

Arts in the Brook will take place downtown on Main Street, near the River Walk trail, and in Riverbank Park. There will be performances by Drouin Dance Center and Brio Dance, live music, a photo scavenger hunt and other activities.

There will also be a Paint the Streets event in Riverbank Park, which came from a resident’s idea to paint street intersections in the city. Mike Shaughnessy in June proposed painting murals and colorful designs directly onto some streets, starting in the Frenchtown neighborhood. The City Council was concerned about safety issues and the project is on hold while the city looks into its legality.

The Paint the Streets project will allow residents to paint the main paths and walkways in the park. Large stencils with leaf, flower and vine designs will be attached prior to the events and anyone can come to paint.

Paint Westbrook, the plein air painting event, will feature artists painting outdoors, mostly near the River Walk, Cioffi said. They will be painting throughout the day and there will be maps available downtown for people to easily find where artists will be stationed.

Email registration for plein air artists is due Friday, Sept. 1. Anyone can register to paint by sending their name, address, phone number, email address and website to westbrookartsculture@gmail.com, with the email subject line “Paint Westbrook.” There is a $10 registration fee.

Cioffi said there have been 15-20 painters in the past two years, and that while most are professional artists, all skill levels are invited to participate. Most people paint, but Cioffi said any medium is allowed.

On Sept. 9 from 5-7 p.m., Continuum for Creativity, located at 863 Main St., will host a reception and public viewing of the art created that day. The pieces will stay on display through Oct. 14. The prices of the pieces will be set by the artists and Continuum for Creativity will charge a 30 percent commission on gallery sales.

Cioffi said Arts in the Brook and Paint Westbrook are both great ways for the community to get involved with local art. She said Paint Westbrook is especially unique because it allows artists to share their take on the city.

“It’s a nice way to celebrate Westbrook and get artists’ perspective of Westbrook,” Cioffi said. “We want people to be out in Westbrook and share their vision of it.”

 Kate Gardner can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or kgardner@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter: @katevgardner.

Westbrook artist Caren Michel looks out over the Presumpscot River during the inaugural Paint Westbrook event in 2015. The plein air painting event returns on Saturday, Sept. 9.

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