TAMC joins monthly First Friday Art Walk

12 years ago

    PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Thirty years ago The Aroostook Medical Center (TAMC) began a program to both help enhance beautification efforts at the A.R. Gould Memorial Hospital and to showcase the work of talented, local artists. To celebrate this milestone and to kick off the next decade of what has evolved into a popular Artist of the Month program, TAMC will officially join in as a regular partner in Presque Isle’s First Friday Art Walk beginning Oct. 5.

Sponsored by the Central Aroostook Chamber of Commerce, the First Friday Art Walk is an event where people can meet, unwind and enjoy the arts on the first Friday of every month from 5-9 p.m. The activity has grown from seven participants to 14 in recent months, offering an array of art and entertainment for patrons.

“A stroll through local galleries and businesses offers those taking part to hear live music, meet local authors and artists, and experience the heart of our community,” said Theresa Fowler, executive director of the Central Aroostook Chamber of Commerce. “We are so pleased that TAMC is coming on board as a regular participant.”

To mark TAMC’s first time as a designated stop on the First Friday Art Walk, a reception will be held at the main entrance of the A.R. Gould Memorial Hospital Oct. 5 from 4-6 p.m. The featured artist of the month for October at TAMC, Michele Green of Westfield, will be on hand to meet attendees and to talk about her artwork. Refreshments will be served.

“We are very much looking forward to welcoming the community to TAMC as we celebrate 30 years of highlighting the works of talented local artists on display at the hospital and join, for the first time, in the First Friday Art Walk,” said Sherry Beaulieu, TAMC volunteer and guest relations manager, who oversees the Artist of the Month program at the hospital.

Highlighting the work of artists at TAMC began in 1982, under the direction of then TAMC volunteer manager Eleanor Reece, as part of an effort to enhance internal facility beautification efforts, as well as to support local artists.

Over time, as more artists expressed interest in having their works displayed in TAMC’s high traffic public hallways, the TAMC Artist of the Month Art Gallery was created in the hallway by the Pinkham Entrance at A.R. Gould Memorial Hospital. The gallery was designed to highlight the talents of one local artist per month.

“This partnering effort was a win-win for TAMC and the artist as it gave the artist a wonderful opportunity to get some great public exposure and gave our patients, guests and staff an opportunity to stop, admire and enjoy the new works each month,” said Beaulieu.

As the popularity of the program grew, the Artist of the Month gallery became a place where community patrons would come to look at art for possible purchase of the pieces on display for gift giving and for their own home decorating use. Joan Gagne, who served as the president of the TAMC Ladies Auxiliary at the time, was asked to manage the sales and commissions from the newly developed TAMC Art Loan Program.

“Although it wasn’t a huge amount of money, every penny earned was important to us through the years. It helped to support many of TAMC’s service equipment needs and other patient care special projects,” Gagne said.

Shortly after getting started, volunteers with the TAMC Art Loan Program commissioned local artist John Holub to create the very popular “Skating on the Presque Isle Stream” watercolor print, which is still available and has sold over 30 copies to date.

The TAMC Ladies Auxiliary disbanded in 1998, and the management of both the Artist of the Month and Art Loan programs was transitioned to the volunteer services manager.

Through the years over 75 Maine artists have been featured at TAMC. The artwork has included various mediums including canvas, flat wood sculpture, photography, oil, acrylic, watercolor, gem and charcoal pencil. Sales continue to support a multitude of TAMC health care services and equipment purchases.

Each November, the Artist of the Month art gallery wall is reserved solely for displaying artwork that will be featured for bid on the annual Presque Isle Rotary Auction to support the civic organization’s largest fund-raising effort.

According to Beaulieu, she is always looking for new talent and is pleased to welcome back past featured artists to display works in the TAMC Artist of the Month Gallery. For more information or to inquire about becoming a featured artist, contact Beaulieu at 768-4032 or by e-mail at sbeaulieu@tamc.org.

In addition now to TAMC, regular participants in the First Friday Art Walk are Wintergreen Arts Center, Morning Star Art and Framing, Merchants on the Corner, The Cubby, Reed Gallery at the University of Maine at Presque Isle, Salvation Army Store, Bou’s Brew Pub, King Morton’s Hall of Music, Precision Tattoo, Mark & Emily Turner Memorial Library, Cafe Sorpreso, Catholic Charities and Oasis Salon.