Maine's natural beauty has inspired generations of painters, sculptors and other artists. You can view the original works of both famous and unheralded artists year-round at museums, art walks and festivals. No matter how quirky or conventional your artistic tastes may be, you'll be sure to find a work of art that inspires you.
Maine’s largest and northernmost county, Aroostook is home to a diverse mix of cultures and communities, settled in a region with strong agrarian roots near the Allagash Wilderness Waterway. You can learn more about the history and artistic heritage of this region at the Aroostook Historical and Art Museum, which houses the E.B. White Photograph Collection. In August in the St. John Valley, you can celebrate the region’s French-Acadian art, food and history at the Acadian Festival in Madawaska and the Ploye Festival in Fort Kent (a ploye is a type of pancake). In August 2014, the region will host the Acadian World Congress. You can also find local arts and crafts at the Midsommer Celebration in New Sweden in June, the Maine Potato Blossom Festival in Fort Fairfield in July, and the Crown of Maine Balloon Fest in Presque Isle in August.
Portland and Casco Bay
On the first Friday of every month, you can celebrate the artists of Maine's largest city by participating in Portland's First Friday Art Walk. You can enjoy live music and visit galleries, shops and museums, including the Portland Museum of Art. The museum's collection contains more than 17,000 fine and decorative works of art, including paintings by Maine artists Winslow Homer, Andrew Wyeth and John Singer Sargent. You can also visit the Winslow Homer Studio on a bus tour that leaves from the museum. You can see additional works by local artists at the Fall in the Village Art & Musical Festival in September in Freeport at Discovery Park on the L.L. Bean campus.
Bangor, the cultural and historic hub of Penobscot County, is a city with a proud logging heritage. You can visit the famous 31-foot-tall statue of lumberjack Paul Bunyan, which stands on a stone pedestal in front of the Bangor Civic Center in Bass Park. The city is also home to famous native son, author Stephen King—who brought this Paul Bunyan statue to life in the 1986 novel IT. To learn more about the area that helped inspire King's work, you can contact the Greater Bangor Convention and Visitors Bureau to schedule a "Tommyknockers and More" Tour. You can learn about Maine’s Native American heritage at The University of Maine Museum of Art and the Hudson Museum. In August, you can find Maine arts and crafts at the American Folk Festival and at the Kah-Bang Music & Art & Film Festival, New England's largest discovery and indie festival.
The fishing villages and offshore islands that dot the coastline of Maine’s MidCoast region have long attracted artists to this area. You'll find art celebrating the region's seafaring heritage at the Maine Maritime Museum in Bath and the Penobscot Marine Museum in Searsport. You can view the sculpture displays at the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay. You’ll find world-class art collections at The Bowdoin College Museum of Art in Brunswick and the Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland. You can see the work of the Maine FiberArts community at their Visitor Center Gallery in Topsham. You'll also find regular art walks in MidCoast towns, such as the Brunswick Art Walk on the second Friday of each month and the Bath Art Walk on the third Friday of each month.
Kennebec and Moose River Valleys
Famous for its whitewater rafting and snowmobiling, the Kennebec and Moose River Valleys region also boasts nationally known museums, Shakespearean theater, and an international heritage trail. In Gardner, you can find baskets, ceramics and other works by local Maine artists at the Center for Maine Craft. In the state's capital city, Augusta, you'll find art honoring Maine's pre-history, history and natural science at the Maine State Museum. In Waterville, you’ll find nearly 8,000 works of primarily American and contemporary art at the Colby College Museum of Art. In Solon, you can discover the frescoes inside historic South Solon Meeting House. You can also check out the summer lecture series at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture.