Daniel Sipe, executive director of Lights Out Gallery in Norway. Nicole Carter / Advertiser Democrat

NORWAY — If it is Wednesday in Norway, free lunch awaits anyone willing to roll up their sleeves and volunteer on various community projects at Lights Out Gallery on Tannery Street.

Meals to feed volunteer crews are prepared by artist and Norway resident Georgia Ryan, who is working at at the gallery through an Americorps VISTA program. Last week on Community Wednesday, she served an enchilada casserole with fresh avocados, cabbage and jalapeno.

“We would love for more volunteers on our Community Wednesdays,” Lights Out Executive Director Daniel Sipe said. “There are things happening in this building all the time.”

Current projects include final preparations on the second-floor dance studio, building out a woodworking shop in the basement, or assisting with a public art commission by the University of Southern Maine.

With labor provided by volunteers, Lights Out Gallery’s basement will be transformed into a community woodworking shop. Courtesy Lights Out Gallery

In progress

The continuing art project is the work of artists and partners Pamela “Posey” Moulton and Roy Fox of Bridgton. Appropriately dubbed “Tangle,” the interactive sculpture is being constructed from discarded commercial fishing gear collected by Portland Harbor fishermen.


Moulton also serves on Lights Out Gallery’s board of directors.

Design and construction of Tangle follows the similar installation of “Pinky,” three sculptures residing at Payson Park in Portland.

For her materials, Moulton salvages tons of rope, cable and netting collected through a Gulf of Maine Lobster Foundation turn-over program. The plastic gear begins to degrade over time and the program is a way for fishermen to dispose of their no longer viable gear.

Tangle, a public art sculpture commissioned by USM, is the product of Bridgton artists Pamela “Posey” Moulton and Roy Fox, OHTS students and local volunteers. Courtesy Lights Out Gallery

An environmental artist and educator, it is up to Moulton to retrieve what she needs from mounds piled on Portland’s working waterfront. It takes excavators to break into the refuse so she can sort and move it to her storage barn in Bridgton.

She said her most recent “haul” of recovered gear was about nine tons. The first project she utilized fishing gear for weighed an estimated 30 tons.

“It’s a disgusting, black blob,” she explained of their starting point. “It’s filled with dead fish and trash, it’s tangled and pretty hideous. I have to rent a box truck to get it to my studio.


“Then we have to cut it all into pieces, separate it from weights and any wire cable, and clean it,” which means power washing, often in a bay at self-serve car washes.

It takes many hands to prepare underwater fishing gear for a future as three-dimensional art. Students in the graphic design program at Oxford Hills Tech School have helped pull and cut it into workable pieces, and are currently helping to paint Tangle.

“Tangle is an immersive sculpture,” Moulton explained. “When you walk into it, it’s a different feeling than outside of it. It’s meant to be like a living organism, like mycelium, that grows from the ground. And tangle is an old Nordic word for seaweed, which connects it to [the ocean] where it comes from.”

Last Wednesday two artists and Community Wednesday volunteers worked alongside Fox and Moulton on Tangle, Kat Grier and Ronnie Wilson.

Kat Grier of Norway, accompanied by her dog Brodie, volunteering at Lights Out Gallery as part of its Community Wednesday volunteer program. Nicole Carter / Advertiser Democrat

“I’m here to be a part of something in my community,” Grier said as she applied primer to columns of netting and rope. “I kind of knocked on the door and asked if there was anything I could do in the art gallery. Posie happened to be here. It’s such a great project.”

Moulton and Fox anticipate that Tangle will be ready for delivery to USM early next year.


Rebuild, renovate

Upstairs, the dance studio floor has been installed and after various code improvements are done the studio will be ready to open. Remaining tasks include insulation, drywall, and fireproof door installations. Bancroft Contracting is donating an exterior stair entry, valued at $80,000, that will provide access to the studio as well as the first-floor’s eventual mobile workspace.

In the basement, numerous windows have been installed to provide natural light. Volunteers will continue interior renovations to build out the workshop, using tools and equipment donated to Lights Out by Mary Llewellyn in honor of her late husband Ben after she read about the gallery in an Advertiser Democrat article.

A future phase at Lights Out will be renovating space for community office use, with cubicle workstations, internet access and conference room. There will also be a maker’s retail section set up at the gallery.

“They do so many great things here,” Moulton said. “We want kids to come in and be a part of this.”

“This looks like a closed up factory with yellow doors,” Sipe said. “But there is a community that is really thriving inside. The amount of work that happens here, we want people to know about it and we welcome them to come in and be a part of it.”

Once part of the old Tubbs Snowshoe factory, a community dance studio is near completion on the second floor of Lights Out Gallery on Tannery Street in Norway. Nicole Carter / Advertiser Democrat

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