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Art & Culture

Art & Culture

Portland Public Library is the City’s cultural center and is the most visited cultural institution in Maine offering print, film, music, and online collections to showcase the arts and creativity.

We offer materials in the arts and humanities, a wide variety of programming in partnership with local cultural organizations, and a place where creative organizations and individuals can share their work with others. We celebrate the broad diversity of our community’s creative expression, and are committed to building awareness and appreciation of the arts around us.

Port City Poems: A Reading

Join Portland Poet Laureate Marcia F. Brown and other local poets for a night of short readings from the anthology Port City Poems: Contemporary Poets Celebrate Portland, MainePort City Poems  (published 2013) is a collection of Portland-themed poems compiled by its current and former poets laureate.  Intended to celebrate both Portland’s rich poetry heritage and its vibrant present-day literary community, all poems in the collection are inspired by some aspect of life in the city of Portland, Maine. Poets reading at the event include: Anita Clearfield, Wil Gibson, Megan Grumbling, Claire Hersom, Annaliese Jakimides, Michele Leavitt, John McVeigh, Ed Rielly, Betsy Sholl, David Stankiewicz, Sally Woolf Wade, and Anna Wrobel. Doors open at 6:30; reading is from 7:00-8:30 p.m.

Please email hartsig@portland.lib.me.us or call the Reader’s Advisory desk at 871-1700, ext. 705, if you have any questions about the event. This program is free. Light refreshments will be provided.

Join local sexuality educator and owner of Nomia’s Portland’s first women owned and operated sensuality boutique, Gina Rourke and editor Rachel Kramer Bussel in a conversation about the role that erotica plays in literature, in the lives of readers, and in society.

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Visit our library locations to experience a variety of visual and performing arts.

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boon island

Portland Public Library is teaming up with the Portland Museum of Art for select Brown Bag Lectures to offer three afternoons of literature, art, and discussion. On these Wednesdays, start at the Library and join the author lectures, then head to the PMA* for free admission and a tour of works related to the themes in the books. Conversa- tion continues with tea and cookies at the PMA Café.

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Stream movies, tv episodes, audiobooks, and music for FREE using your PPL library card. Sign in and you are set to begin. You can borrow up to 6 items per month and borrowing times are 21 days for an audiobook, 7 days for music, 3 days for video.

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The Feathered Hand

In addition to our ever-changing exhibits in the Lewis Gallery, PPL has a notable collection of donated and commissioned art pieces throughout our locations including the dazzling new installation The Feathered Hand  by Alison Hildreth in our Main Library Atrium.

Descriptions of many pieces and information about the artists are available on PPL’s Digital Commons.

Page to Stage is an opportunity to engage in questions about the plays, playwrights, and ideas presented on Portland Stage Company’s Main Stage.  The discussion is facilitated by Portland Stage artistic staff and free and open to the public.
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Shakespeare didn’t write to be read. His plays were meant to be performed. The speeches of Martin Luther King, Jr. were beautifully written, but the experience of reading them cannot compare with the power of King’s delivery.

For more than two decades, PPL has been committed to offering the best of popular feature films, unusual indies, classics, animation, and world cinema, as well as documentaries, performances, and educational and instructional videos.

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Portland Public Library’s Brown Bag Lecture Series features bi-weekly reading and Q&A sessions with authors from Maine and around the nation.

All Brown Bag Lectures are free to the public (unless specifically noted as a fundraiser). Because they usually take place over the lunch hour, guests are encouraged to bring their lunch.  Special thanks to our Brown Bag Lecture Series coffee sponsor, Coffee by Design; to our cookie sponsor, Whole Foods Market; our media sponsor, WCSH Channel 6; and to Longfellow Books for selling books at each event and for providing a percent of those sales to the Library’s Annual Fund.

If you have questions about our Brown Bag Lectures or would like to be added to our weekly calendar e-mail, please send us an e-mail.

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Random Acts of Culture
The Press Gang, Random Acts of Culture

“Random Acts of Culture” are unannounced high quality mini-concerts and performances to surprise and delight library visitors. Each “Act” highlights the vitality and variety of the arts in Portland.

Previous “Acts” include performances by The Press Gang Celtic music trio, the St. Patrick’s Day in the Morning music trio, he Downeasters Barbershop Quartet, and a special reenactment of Romeo and Juliet’s balcony scene performed by Acorn Productions.

Get ready for the next Random Act of Culture coming soon!

Museum Passes Available

Portland Public Library offers free passes to several local Museums and cultural sites including Portland Museum of Art, Portland Observatory, Southworth Planetarium, and the Maine State Museum. To request a pass for a specific date, with your Library card, call or visit the Lending Desk at any of our locations.


From the PPL blog:
Talking about Race
For many of us, talking about race feels difficult -- it is easy to make a mistake and many of us ar   More »
FLASH book sale
PPL will hold a FLASH book sale on Saturday, July 29 from 9 am - noon at 1000 Riverside Street.   More »
Louise Penny to speak about book “How the Light Gets In”
PPL and Longfellow Books present a book talk and signing by Louise Penny on Thursday, July 31at 7pm.   More »
Contact the team leader
Tom Wilsbach   Email »
Art & Humanities Librarian
207-871-1700 x725
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