GRAY – The Gallery at Maine Wildlife Park will have its grand opening, from 5 to 7 p.m. Saturday, July 16. Regular hours for the gallery will be noon to 4 p.m. Thursday through Sunday until early September.

Among the events at the opening will be a book signing by Dean Bennett, author of numerous books about wildlife and wilderness. Bennett is professor emeritus at the University of Maine at Farmington and the father of former Maine Senate President Rick Bennett. He has traced the transformation of the area around Chamberlain Lake in Maine’s Allagash Wilderness Waterways region with his book, “The Wilderness from Chamberlain Farm.”

Gallery organizers hope to attract a new audience for art among people who love wildlife and never thought about owning art that was inspired by nature.

“We think of this gallery as a way patrons can take home their memories of the park, which is such a special place,” said Toni Seger of Western Oxford Foothills Cultural Council, which is sponsoring the project.

The July exhibit includes T-shirts depicting work by five of the exhibited artists: Milton Christianson, Ieva Tatarsky, Susan Balch, Paul Breeden and the Rev. Paul Plante. Other exhibitors were selected from among Maine’s wildlife artists.

The Gallery’s logo was provided by sign maker, watercolorist and wood carver, Thomas Merriam, who will exhibit his work in August.

The August show will feature work by Native American artists from the Wabanaki Indian Alliance Store in Old Town and by Stanley Neptune of Indian Island.

Gallery manager is portrait artist Patricia Chandler, who will exhibit her work in August.

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