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Wiscasset Town Vote June 13, 2023

A Letter to Wiscasset Voters and Our Friends

The Maine Art Gallery is celebrating 65 years of residency in the Old Academy Building in Wiscasset. During those years, the gallery and town have established a mutually beneficial relationship that has maintained and preserved the building while presenting accomplished artists who reside in, or create their art in, Maine. As an independent non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation since 1992, the gallery has a history of delivering educational programming for students and professionals— transforming our 19th century building into a vital 21st century visual arts center.

We kicked off this Anniversary Season in April with a post-Covid return of our Wiscasset K-12 Student Show to an enthusiastic reception by students, parents, and teachers — giving young artists the gift of seeing their creations in a professional gallery space. We are now honoring our founding artists and their contemporary successors with what the Portland Phoenix hails as “[a] landmark show in the history of art in Maine.”

Our longevity in Wiscasset was endorsed in 2021 by residents with a super-majority 2-to-1 vote extending our lease from five to 20 years to assure that town and gallery were committed to work together to attract grants for the long-term preservation of the Academy Building. Since that vote, the gallery received support from the Davis Foundation enabling us to invest $22,000 in 2022 for a perimeter drain to improve foundation waterproofing. And just recently the 1772 Foundation awarded us a grant of $10,000 to be matched by a like amount for conducting exterior woodwork repairs and painting as part of our Historic Building Condition Assessment’s (HBCA) preservation priorities.

You can help us build on these successes. Vote YES on Question 52 in the upcoming June 13th elections. Your affirmative vote will support the appropriation of up to $28,800 in matching funds for grants awarded to the gallery “to preserve, renovate and improve” our 1807 red brick schoolhouse in keeping with our HBCA priorities.

In addition, we urge you to reiterate the 2021 endorsement of our lease extension; vote NO on the non-binding referendum Question 1 (on the ballot’s last page), recording your opposition to a sale of the Old Academy Building. 

The Maine Art Gallery has transformed itself into a dynamic cultural destination that draws accomplished artists from across the State whose renown in turn attracts thousands of mid-Coast residents, seasonals and visitors to spend time and money in the Prettiest Village in Maine. Our gallery invests substantial efforts throughout the season in promoting our Wiscasset location: in the last months alone, we have received “showcase” coverage in Maine Home + Design, were listed in Down East’s 101 Things to Do in Maine (#50), have been featured on Total Maine Channel 8 ABC and were promoted on NPR radio sponsor spots.

Whether you are an artist, a member, a patron, a volunteer, a resident or someone from beyond, please demonstrate your support for the Maine Art Gallery: a Wiscasset original with a home in Wiscasset history -- and help us get our message out to your friends and neighbors who share our vision. 

Sincerely, 

 

Richard Riese, President

John Sawyer, Treasurer

Celia Ludwig, Secretary

David Pope, Chair, Building Committee

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