any pieces of outstanding artwork have been placed in L-A area homes and businesses in the past 15 years, thanks to the success of the All Maine Invitational, the annual art exhibit and auction present by L/A Arts.

Once again, the Atrium Gallery of the University of Maine’s Lewiston-Auburn College is filled with vibrant and varied artwork by some of the most talented artists in Maine.

Installation of the exhibition was completed earlier this week and it will be in place for free viewing by the public through April.

On May 1, each of the 60 pieces will go up for bid at a popular, fun-filled auction event.

The exhibition represents some of the best work created by Maine artists: paintings, prints, drawings, photographs including landscapes, still lifes and abstract work.

In addition, finely crafted jewelry, ceramics, metal, woodworking and unique works in fiber are featured in the exhibition.

Robyn Holman, director of exhibitions at L-A College, has been curator of the show through most of its history. She said a majority of the pieces are sold to people who live in the Twin Cities area.

“I think it’s remarkable that we have been able to do an auction like this for 15 years,” Holman said. “After 15 years, that’s an incredible amount of art from some of the top artists in the state that’s still in our community.”

Besides many paintings, photographs and other works in traditional styles and media, the public will find some delightful new items, Holman said. “We have a printmaker from Auburn this year, Bobette McCarthy. We saw her work a year ago, so it’s nice to have her in this exhibition.”

There are artists from all over the state, Holman said, including those with established careers and those whose work is becoming well known.

“They are invited to be part of the exhibit based on the quality of their work.

“We try to get not only painting, printmaking and drawing, but we also have a heavy focus on contemporary crafts – ceramics, fiber artists, jewelry, and woodworkers.”

She mentioned that there are a number of unusual pieces, including a chair by Wayne Hall of Orland made from stripped maple branches.

It’s quite striking – very lively,” Holman said.

McIntosh and Tuttle Cabinetmakers of Lewiston are back this year, Holman noted. “They just started a new line and we are featuring one of their pieces.”

“The nice thing about this exhibit is it’s a variety of styles and forms of expression. It’s a good survey of what artists in Maine are doing,” Holman said.

She emphasized that the reserve prices of the pieces for auction can range from as low as $100 to thousands of dollars.

“We have a turned bowl that’s very reasonable,” she said, adding that some small drawings might also be good for people starting to collect art on a budget.

“Sometimes, though, we see things double in value at the auction,” she said. “All it takes is two people who want it.”

An opening reception will be held Thursday, March 25, in the spacious Atrium Gallery in conjunction with the Androscoggin County Chamber of Commerce’s monthly Business After Hours. The reception features jazz by The UMA Café Ensemble; food will be provided by the Humble Gourmet.

A virtual tour of the exhibit will soon be available on the L/A Arts web site at www.laarts.org.

Hours for the Atrium Gallery, located at 51 Westminster St., Lewiston, are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Friday; and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.


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