Michael D. Dostie is a jeweler, an artist and now an organizer for Lewiston-Auburn’s first Art Walk, an event that will turn the downtown Twin Cities into one big art gallery.
The brainchild of LA Arts Gallery 5 Curator Tammie Grieshaber, the event will have local businesses hosting local artists’ work. The Art Walk will begin May 27 and continue one night each month all summer. More that two dozen artists have submitted work, and more is coming in.
Dostie, 28, will be showing some of his own work, which has been displayed at LA Arts Gallery 5.
Can you explain the Art Walk for people who haven’t heard about it?
We have asked local businesses, organizations and building owners to allow us to display artwork and sculpture in their window fronts, lobbies and showrooms. These venues are clustered along Lisbon Street in Lewiston, stretching from L/A Arts and the Lewiston Public Library up to J. Dostie Jewelers. On the night(s) of the Art Walk, people may walk from one exhibit to the next to view the work of artists who will be showing their work.
What attracted you to the project?
Not only do I work in the heart of Lewiston’s downtown, I live here too. I care about the future of this community and I want to improve the quality of life for inner-city residents and the downtown business community.
Which businesses will be involved?
Lewiston Public Library, Dube’s Flowers, Hardy Wolfe & Downing, FISC, Lamey Wellehan, Norman Hanson & Detroy, Murphy & Coyne, Gil Poliquin Hearing & Optical, Antonio’s Deli, Androscoggin Bank, PropSys, J. Dostie Jewelers, Holly’s Own Deli, Captive Elements and L/A Arts.
Your art has been exhibited through L-A Arts. What’s the connection between your gallery work and your window displays and jewelry?
The window displays at J. Dostie Jewelers are just for fun. Sometimes a wave of creativity will just hit me. My father, Daniel Dostie, has always impressed upon me that shopping for jewelry should be an experience; that people should be pampered with not only the best service but also visually captivating decor and display work.
The jewelry I create for J. Dostie Jewelers is meant to compliment a woman and give her a means to express herself. When she wears a piece of fine jewelry, a woman should feel special, important. My industry is as much about emotion as it is about style and fashion.
The work I have done for gallery exhibits through L/A Arts is a combination of the fun and creativity of my window displays and the expressive nature of the jewelry I create for J. Dostie Jewelers. The work tends to be a little riskier and more experimental in pushing the boundaries of style people in New England are used to.
Do you work in the same mediums in your gallery pieces?
For gallery work I use sterling silver, allowing me to create larger and more bold pieces that tend to be more affordable. For the jewelry I make for J. Dostie Jewelers I prefer the luxury of white and yellow gold.
Will you be showing work at the Art Walk?
Here at J. Dostie Jewelers we will be showcasing a couple of collections (my own included), but we want the focus to be on our feature artists.
Working in YPLAA and now on the Art Walk, do you ever feel like you’re working against some people’s conceptions of Lewiston-Auburn?
Some people’s conceptions still reflect how Lewiston was perceived 15 years ago. I work longer hours and I work harder every day to show anyone who walks into my business that those conceptions are unfounded. My work with YPLAA and Art Walk Lewiston Auburn reflect that drive.
Do you feel like downtown Lewiston-Auburn has become a better place for young professionals in recent years?
In recent years the Lewiston and Auburn downtowns have gained 10 excellent restaurants, new events such as the L/A Film Festival and The Dempsey Challenge, two local breweries, a six-story hotel, a beautiful river walk and a magazine dedicated to this area. All of these things are within a five-minute walk of J. Dostie Jewelers. I think these things speak for themselves and I see them as only the beginning.