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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.

The Definitive Survey of a Re-Discovered American Genre from the Lesser Collection at the New Britain Museum of American Art. Sensational paintings that gripped the Depression-era public with their themes of adventure, mystery, horror, sci-fi and damsels in distress.

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banned books

To celebrate the importance of reading, film and the freedom of the First Amendment, the Portland Public Library presents the third annual “Banned Book Film Series”.  Join us for a screening of each film in the Rines Auditorium. These films are Rated for adults. Refreshments will be provided.  Thursdays in October!

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Page to Stage is a collaboration between Portland Stage Co. and PPL.  This program is an opportunity to engage in questions about the plays, playwrights, and ideas presented on Portland Stage Company’s Main Stage. This discussion will is facilitated by Portland Stage staff, actors and directors. All of the Page to Stage events are free and open to the public.

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

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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:
Whose Port This Is, I Think I Know: PPL & Local Poetry in October
A description of the October 2014 Port City Poems reading at PPL.   More »
Professional Hockey History in Portland
Gems from the history of professional hockey in Maine- from the Nordiques, Mariners, and Pirates.   More »
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 »
Contact the team leader
Tom Wilsbach   Email »
Art & Humanities Librarian
207-871-1700 x725
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