Visions, Blue Moon Gallery to close

8 years ago

HOULTON, Maine — The town’s sole art gallery will close its doors Saturday, June 18, 2016 ending a 13-year tenure in historic downtown Houlton.

Visions/Blue Moon Gallery has provided local artists with an opportunity to showcase and sell their work from its 66 Main St. location. The business operated under the Southern Aroostook Cultural Arts Project banner.

“It is with a very heavy heart, that we have to announce that we will be closing our doors at the end of June of this year,” said Karin Cohen, spokesperson for SACAP. “This unfortunately, is due to our not having enough volunteers or board members to do all the work required for us to be able to stay open, which includes staffing Visions, as well as organizing, advertising, and carrying out the fundraising that needs to be done in order for us to continue to operate.”

SACAP is made up of a group of artists, volunteers and board members who are dedicated to continuing the traditions and ideals the organization was founded on. SACAP is a non-profit arts and education program that serves the greater Houlton area and beyond. According to the group’s website, its mission is to foster a flourishing arts community while creating an exciting cultural environment. SACAP offered a space for local artists to showcase and sell their work, as well as a classroom setting for workshops and group meetings.

Unfortunately, the number of individuals willing to donate their time and energy has dwindled in recent years.

“Currently, our board is down to just five members, and only six volunteers, all of whom have worked extremely hard to keep SACAP/Visions and the Blue Moon Gallery, flourishing,” Cohen said. “For the past 13 years, dozens of dedicated volunteers and SACAP members have given their time and talents to try to provide our community with an outlet for the arts in Aroostook County. They have put their hearts and souls into making Visions a venue for artists, craftspeople, and other creatives, to sell their work. It has also been a place where the visitors to our area, as well as members of our community, could shop locally for handcrafted art and gifts for their family and friends … or to buy something special for themselves, to enhance their homes and their lives.”

The group did a number of yearly events, including the “Festival of Trees” fundraiser and the “Seeds of Creativity,” student art show, and hosted numerous artist and book signings over the years.

“We deeply regret, that we will not be able to continue to bring our community, the annual events we have hosted in the past,” Cohen said. “There are also many community events that we will miss being a part of including the Third Thursday/Family Fun Day, the Market Square street fair, Midnight Madness over the Fourth of July; and the Houlton Rec Center’s yearly holiday fair.”

The first 40 feet of the storefront is the shop called, Visions, where a wide variety of items are sold, including framed paintings and photographs, prints, cards, jewelry, silk scarves and ties, quilts, wooden toys and games, musical CDs, furniture, and decorative items. A middle room houses the Blue Moon Gallery where exhibits are on display for two-month intervals, and all the way in the back, is the Stellar Arts Cavern, a wonderful resource room and space for artists to gather, hold workshops, and share ideas.

All those artists that have display cases or other furniture at SACAP/Visions/Blue Moon Gallery, have been asked to come to the gallery to gather their belongings.

“These are things that have generously been offered to us for our use during the past 13 years, since SACAP started,” Cohen said. “Also, anyone who has artwork or crafts in Visions may pick up their work during our hours of operation on Wednesdays and Fridays from noon to 5 p.m. and Saturdays, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.”

A liquidation sale of donated artwork and leftover items, between now and June 18 is ongoing.

“We wish to thank everyone in our community, as well as the many visitors to our area, who have stopped in to admire or purchase something from our artists and fine crafters, as well as to all those who have come through our door for all of our events over the years,” Cohen said.

Those artist who plan on picking up items should call ahead at 532-9119 to ensure someone is at the gallery.

“For all of those, who through the years have been involved with SACAP, Visions, and the Blue Moon Gallery, we are sure that this must be as hard for you to read, as it has been for us to write,” Cohen said. “It will be a very, very, sad day indeed, when the door to Visions is closed … and the open flag is taken in for the last time.”