Local artist spearheads public art market, hopes to create studio, exhibition space
PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Lin Trombley of Presque Isle had been participating in pop-up art exhibitions during First Friday Art Walks for awhile before she reached out to different artists that she knew with the goal of creating more public opportunities for them to showcase their talents.
Those conversations have so far resulted in two public art markets at Riverside Park in Presque Isle, the second of which was held on Sunday, Sept. 23. Around 20 artists gathered under the Farmer’s Market pavilion to share their work with the community and gain greater connections with fellow artists in Aroostook County. Trombley hopes to use such events as a way to get the word out about a new studio and exhibition space she plans to open in spring 2019.
Thus far, Trombley has created a website and Facebook and Instagram pages for her developing business, Anomic Chameleon Creatives, and is in the process of looking for a location in the Presque Isle area. In October 2017, she had plans to turn an upper-level floor of the former Key bank building in Presque Isle into space for the business but later withdrew from the planned renovations due to financial reasons.
“I tend to get passionate about projects very quickly and want to jump right in, but I decided to take more time and find a space that would be more in my price range for starting a business,” said Trombley, herself a self-taught acrylic and mixed media artist.
Her plans are to create studio space that artists can rent on a monthly, weekly or daily basis, hold solo and group exhibitions throughout the year, and possibly expand to include career development services for artists and open mic and poetry nights for the community.
Throughout the past year Trombley has connected with at least 50 other artists, many of whom she had not met beforehand, and recently joined the board of Aroostook Partners in the Arts, whose members work to promote arts education in County schools. During Sunday’s art market, members of Aroostook Partners in the Arts held a raffle of various artists’ work, with half the proceeds going toward their group and the other half going to the artists themselves.
Many of the artists who took part in the art market also said they plan to take advantage of the studio and exhibition space at Anomic Chameleon Creatives once the business is up and running.
“A lot of artists around here have a harder time finding places to hang their work, so having a space dedicated to that is going to be great,” said Caitlin Sanipass of Presque Isle, who typically works in acrylic painting but also creates jewelry and photography.
The art market also attracted artists such as June Levesque of Caribou, who sold her handmade “Ruby’s Rock Soap” — named after her granddaughter — wearable wrapped crystals and woodburning works, and Lorie Smith, of New Brunswick, Canada, who sold watercolor paintings as part of her business Mustard Seed Art.
“When Lin finds a place, I definitely plan on having a spot to work,” Levesque said, about Anomic Chameleon Creatives. “I’m thankful for her tenacity and hard work in bringing artists together.”
On Sunday, many community members came out to support the artists who sold their work, including Mary Otis of Blaine.
“I was just driving past and noticed that this was going on,” Otis said. “It’s a nice space to come and see what local people are creating.”
Samantha White of Presque Isle also said she admired the variety of art that was available.
“I like a little bit of everything,” White said about her taste in art. “It’s great to have an event like this that we don’t normally see around here.”
The community support behind the public art market is one that Trombley hopes to build more momentum upon while she continues searching for the perfect space for artists of all backgrounds to gather in addition to what Presque Isle already offers with Wintergreen Arts Center and the First Friday Art Walk exhibitions.
“I think so many artists feel that there isn’t a place for them to go and that’s something that needs to be highlighted more,” Trombley said. “I’ve met so many more artists than I already knew were here and I want all of us to feel an even greater sense of togetherness.”