“Paint Westbrook” coincides with a marathon that’s expected to bring hundreds into the city.
For the second year in a row, there is an open call for local artists to participate in a plein air painting event in Westbrook, and organizers have the same goal in mind – showcase the city as a vibrant arts center.
This year’s “Paint Westbrook,” on Saturday, Sept. 10, will again coincide with another high-profile event nearby in the city, hoping to capitalize on an influx of people that may linger to shop or eat downtown.
Major League Triathlon is hosting its Greater Portland event in Westbrook on Saturday, and will use Riverbank Park as its base.
Participating artists in the plein air event will choose from a handful of locations, spend the day painting outdoors, and then exhibit the work at the Continuum for Creativity artspace, 863 Main St., that night. Continuum will host an opening from 5-7 p.m.
Last year, the first plein air event was part of “Best in the ‘Brook Fest,” a day of events organized by the Downtown Westbrook Coalition that were planned to coincide with the Insane Inflatable 5K at Sunset Ridge, which brought more than 2,000 people into the city. This year’s triathlon event, however, will bring hundreds of people directly into downtown.
Mary Brooking, the director of Continuum and president of Westbrook Arts & Culture, an organization that advocates for the arts, said Monday that the group had looked at the Sept. 10 weekend for its second annual event, which happened to also have the triathlon in town.
“We thought that was great because more people would be around, and out and about, and it seemed like a good marriage,” she said.
Brooking said there are roughly two-dozen artists already registered.
During the inaugural event last year, about a dozen artists from around Greater Portland participated. Each artist chose from a variety of locations around the city, including Riverbank Park, Woodlawn Cemetery and the newly opened Ash Street office building. Brooking said there will be a number of similar locations this year, and they are working to add the roof of the city’s parking garage at One Riverfront Plaza to the list. The roof provides a sweeping view of downtown Westbrook and the Presumpscot River.
Each artist is asked to produce no more than two pieces for the show at Continuum, where the work will be exhibited through Oct. 8.
Abigial Cioffi, the coordinator of the Downtown Westbrook Coalition, said other painting locations will include the riverwalk, Rivermeadow Golf Course, and the farms and fields along Stroudwater Street.
“Having ‘Paint Westbrook’ on the same day as the triathlon will make for a wonderful day outside in downtown Westbrook,” she said. “Visitors, both triathlon participants and festival attendees, can visit the artist locations all day and watch paintings come to life. It is a great way to highlight the artistic community and encourage pedestrian use of the downtown.”
Brooking told the American Journal last year that beyond the success of the opening were the connections made between artists from Westbrook and from other areas. She said events like Paint Westbrook can lead to more artists working in the city, or supporting programs at Continuum like art workshops.
In the past year, workshops and classes hosted at Continuum have expanded.
To register for Paint Westbrook, email firstname.lastname@example.org. There is a $10 registration fee.
Westbrook artist Caren Michel looks out over the Presumpscot River during the inaugural Paint Westbrook event last year. The plein air painting event, organized by Westbrook Arts & Culture, returns on Saturday, Sept. 10.
Music Heals 2016
On Sept. 24, at 6 p.m., Steve Azar will be returning to Maine, and is bringing Deana Carter with him. “Music Heals 2016” will be held at the Westbrook Performing Arts Center, and raises funds for victims of human trafficking. All of the profits will go toward organizations Hope Rising and Amirah House. For tickets, see www.musicheals2016.com. For other events at the performing arts center, see www.westbrookpac.org
Poetry, painting at Continuum
The Lowry’s Lodge poetry series will take place at Continuum for Creativity on Saturday, Sept. 17. From 7-8:30 p.m., the event will feature readings by poets Maryli Tieman and Bob MacLaughlin.
On Thursday Sept. 8, author Joyce Lovely will dicuss her book Ice Cream, Gas Masks and God: A Young Girl Grows Up in the War Years, at 6 p.m.
On Thursday Sept. 29, Carl Johnson, author of From Beer to Beards: Boston Baseball’s 2011 to 2013 Roller Coaster Ride and The Baseball Buff’s Bathroom Book Volume One, will read and discuss his most recent work, at 5:30 p.m.