Outdoor art exhibit brings community together during troubling times

3 years ago

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Aroostook Partners in the Arts, with the help of a local art gallery, has encouraged people of all ages and artistic talents to creatively express their emotions through a special outdoor art exhibit this summer.

Since July community members have hung nearly 50 works of art on the fence separating the Riverside Pavilion from surrounding businesses.

The art pieces range from colorful portrayals of friendship, love and community to expressions of grief for loved ones who have died or calls for political activism and cancer awareness.

A piece of artwork promoting cancer awareness at Aroostook Partners in the Arts’ outdoor exhibit near Riverside Drive.
Staff Photo/Melissa Lizotte

Aroostook Partners in the Arts board member Shelby Pelletier has been providing primed canvases at the doorstep of her art gallery, The Common Gallery, for community members to use.

“There’s so much going on in the world right now,” Pelletier said. “We wanted to provide a safe space for people to express their emotions through art.”

A community-contributed art piece near Riverside Pavilion expresses grief over a loved one.
Staff Photo/Melissa Lizotte

The artwork will remain at the Riverside Pavilion through October and people are invited to contribute artwork at any time until it ends. Participants can pick up a canvas on the front steps of The Common Gallery, located at 422 Main St., create their artwork and then bring the canvas back to the gallery for volunteers to hang at the pavilion.

Anyone who wishes to create artwork without a canvas is also welcome to do so.

A variety of artwork is displayed near Riverside Pavilion in Presque Isle.
Staff Photo/Melissa Lizotte

Pelletier noted that many of the community members she has spoken with have loved seeing the creativity and expression of local people, even those who do not consider themselves “artists.”

“All together, these pieces create a type of art installation that stands on its own,” Pelletier said. “It reflects a complex range of emotions about what people are going through right now.”

Artwork on display near Riverside Pavilion in Presque Isle.
Staff Photo/Melissa Lizotte

Anyone wishing to participate in the exhibit can contact Aroostook Partners in the Arts at 207-762-0180 or aroostookppartenrsinthearts@gmail.com for information.