Love Art? Then you will love a Maine art destinations vacation. Really! This rugged, remote state has a vibrant emerging art scene – that you must “sea” to believe.
Maine has long been known as Vacationland and “The way life should be” but now the Pine Tree State is popping up on top food and art lists as THE place to explore and buy art, and to eat and drink with top Chefs in the nation. What a brilliant combination – art and food on vacation.
Maybe it’s because of Maine’s spectacular natural beauty that artists are drawn to the state to fulfill their creative souls. With beautiful beaches, sparkling granite shores, picture prefect harbors, lighthouses and brightly colored lobster boats, crystal clear lakes and lush mountains, Maine’s scenic beauty is constant yet ever-changing.
Artists love to capture the scene on canvas, in sculpture, photography and jewelry. Maine art goes beyond pictures and portrayals, and into hand crafted home goods, natural Maine-made goods derived from sea glass, driftwood, seaweed, seashells, the list goes on.
So where are the top art destinations in Maine? Portland, Rockland, Kennebunk/Kennebunkport, Ogunquit, Bar Harbor, Boothbay, Camden are all thriving art destinations, for art creators and art-lovers!
Ogunquit Maine has long been an artist community, the name in Abenaki means “beautiful place by the sea” and so this seaside setting is inspiration to artists of all kinds. Ogunquit Museum of Art has a spectacular location overlooking Perkins Cove and the sea, with wonderful exhibits of Native American Art, sculptures and more. Perkins Cove and Ogunquit Village are loaded with boutiques and galleries with local paintings, photography and jewelry.
Kennebunk and Kennebunkport have grown to be a top art spot. The Kennebunks are home to over 30 unique galleries featuring local and internationally famed art, from Lower Village to downtown Kennebunk, Dock Square and out Ocean Ave by Walkers Point, to the working fishing village of Cape Porpoise. There is so much art activity and creativity, from encaustic to kaleidoscopes. The Kennebunks host a Village Art Walk the 2nd Friday of every month in season, where you can visit 20+ galleries in a fun open-house evening format and chat with artists and fellow art lovers, some galleries even live music and libation.
Anchoring the Kennebunkport area art scene is Maine Art Hill with its 9 unique galleries of its own. Featuring over 40 artists – in paintings, sculpture, photography, jewelry, 3D and mobile art. Maine Art Gallery, The Shows, the Grand and the Studios at Maine Art Hill serve as the hub of Kennebunks’ art scene and a great starting point for your perusal of the Kennebunk Art Scene.
Portland Maine also has an art walk, the First Friday Art Walk with open houses at over 30 galleries. As the name implies, the Portland Art Walk is the first Friday every month, time varies based upon the season. Portland’s top spot for art is the Portland Museum of Art – the largest oldest public building in Maine is itself architecturally stunning, opened in 1882 and redesigned by I. M. Pei architects in 1981. This museum in the heart of Portland offers four floors of revolving exhibits of over 20,000 pieces of art.
Rockland was once a humble fishing village, now it’s a thriving art and artist community. In great part thanks to Farnsworth Art Museum’s fame, home of the Winslow Homer collection. The new Center for Maine Contemporary Art – CMCA – in downtown Rockland is a cool setting – and offers current fascinating art displays, near the waterfront and just a few blocks from the Farnsworth. Strolling Rockland’s pretty streets you will stumble upon numerous art galleries and coops.
Colby College Museum of Art is another striking setting, in Waterville Maine. This beautiful traditional college campus’ modern building is a work of art itself, and worth a visit for view everything from Norman Rockwell to Picasso, Winslow Homer to Georgia O’Keefe. The Colby College of Art Museum is typically admission free.
Bar Harbor, in the heart of Mount Desert Island, home to Acadia National Park, has inspired artists for generations. Cadillac Mountain at sunrise and sunset, or the schooners and lighthouses dotting Frenchmen’s Bay and out to sea, its spectacular. Bar Harbor offers visitors lots of artsy
shops, boutiques and galleries, from the kitschy to the cool and uber-creative. Bar Harbor has a 1st Friday Art Walk in season to tour the galleries in a fun social circuit.
Boothbay Harbor, Brunswick, Damariscotta and Camden all have great art scenes- and art walks. Just strolling the waterfront streets of these quintessential seaside villages, you can pop in and out of galleries and shops and admire local art work. For a remote art adventures, visit Mohegan Island to see the raw beauty of Maine, and the rustic artists that reside here. You can visit for the day by ferry, or stay overnight on the rugged island.
Enjoy your Maine art destination vacation. Be sure to give yourself enough time to give the dramatic artistic places in Maine more than just a brush stroke to explore. Art pun!
See a list of all the Maine Art Walks throughout the state