About the Lewis Gallery
Exhibit of Student & Teacher work from the Portland Public High Schools
Lewis Gallery – May 6 through June 15, 2022
Celebrate the work of High School students and their teachers and mentors. Curated by High School senior and Lewis Gallery intern, Ella Burdin, this group exhibit highlights the work of current students at Portland High School, Deering High School, Casco Bay High School and Portland Area Technical High School.
Re-Emergence: USM Book Arts
In the Lewis Gallery – April 4-25
The University of Southern Maine Kate Chaney Chappell ’83 Center for Book Arts is delighted to be back in the Lewis Gallery this year, hopeful that 2022 sees us all unfolding, turning pages and re-emerging. The artwork presented in the gallery represents artist’s books from current students in the Visual Book classes, and Critique Group members at the USM Kate Cheney Chappell ’83 Center for Book Arts.
The past two years we continued to make art in isolation and stretched to make connections and learn over Zoom. While not every piece in this exhibit directly speaks to the pandemic, you certainly will find that many of us turned toward nature for comfort, got creative with using materials on hand in our homes, and felt the upheaval of the world work it’s way into our art.
We are grateful for you to view our work in person. We encourage you to have a conversation about the art with others in the gallery. Just as we feel the importance of connecting with a wider audience, we hope you are re-emerging and making connections with your community.
In creating a monster, a dictionary is of no use.
The definition of “enormous and frightening imaginary creatures” is a wholly inadequate description of our relationship with these beings. Monsters are strangely comfortable in our lives and are culturally more nuanced and confusing to us than ever. They can be horrifying, cute, malicious, dim, powerful and pathetic.
Perhaps the disturbing aspect of monsters is that they remain a foil to our humane characteristics. Monsters in all forms help us understand the things that can happen if our better nature runs astray, help us face our fears, laugh in the face of absudity and embrace otherness with empathy.
Illustrated Monsters by Monster Illustrators provided a unique opportunity to explore a universal subject that spans cultures and informs storytelling on many levels. Each illustrator in the show showed a wealth of artistic expertise, inspiration and stories to share.
Art in Captivity: Inside Out
Part of Freedom & Captivity
Portland Public Library partnered with Freedom & Captivity to create an exhibit of photographs of art created by current inmates in Maine. These photographs by Séan Alonzo Harris, Lesley MacVane and Trent Bell from inside Maine’s Correctional Facilities revealed the human necessity to create art. This exhibit was on view in the Congress Street windows at Portland Public Library from September 15 – October 15, 2021.
An outdoor opening reception was held during October’s First Friday Art Walk on October 1, 2021 from 5 – 8 pm on Congress Street with Maine Youth Justice.
Maine Youth Justice is a youth-led, nonpartisan, activist organization whose goal is to close Long Creek, Maine’s youth detention facility, and create safer and stronger communities by investing in a continuum of community-based alternatives to incarceration for youth where all of Maine’s young people can not only survive, but thrive.
The vision of youth justice is a collaborative and equitable response to harm that recognizes and builds on the strengths of individuals and community.
The Youth Justice project was funded in part by a grant from the Maine Arts Commission, an independent state agency supported by the National Endowment for the Arts.
MYJ will have a table with information about the campaign to close Long Creek, how to get involved in the movement to end youth incarceration and Know Your Rights posters created by Central Maine SURJ (Showing Up For Racial Justice).
Freedom & Captivity is a state-wide public humanities initiative during Fall 2021 to bring critical perspectives from the humanities to the interrogation of incarceration. Recognizing that mass incarceration is fueled by racism and profit-generating mechanisms that tear apart communities and families, the project offers opportunities for public engagement about imagining prison abolition and the redirection of resources toward community investments, the repair of racial and gender injustice, intergenerational trauma, and eldercare for the aging population in Maine’s prisons. The project, which includes art exhibitions, workshops, webinars, a podcast, research and creative production, public education materials, and linked courses taught across Maine’s campuses, aims to cultivate opportunities for imagining freedom in an abolitionist society. The project is conceived with the participation of people in Maine directly impacted by the carceral system.
MAPS: Maine Amori Printmaking Society
Curated by Jeff Badger
Curated by Nancy Davidson and Ilana Welch
The Lewis Gallery is centrally located at our Downtown Library in the heart of Portland’s Art District. It is very accessible and enjoys a large audience of community members. The library is very interested in working with curators and artists to help reflect the diversity of our community including members of the BIPOC community, LGBTQIA+ community, and/or persons with cognitive or mental disabilities. We host exhibits throughout the year with community organizations and collaborators. If you are interested in exhibiting your work please contact Programming Manager, Rachael Harkness at firstname.lastname@example.org or (207) 871-1700 x723.
The Library’s Cultural Center Team is currently reviewing exhibit proposal guidelines in an effort to make the gallery more accessible to artists and curators and will post them here when the process is complete.