First Fridays are the time for artists in the streets, dancers in the squares, and crowds of revelers. The Arts District gets most of the attention, but there’s great art being shown everywhere in Portland.Once you’ve fought through the crowds lining Congress Street head down to the Old Port for a few more out-of-the-way galleries also celebrating the arrival of June.
In City Center, across from MJs Wine Bar you’ll find Susan Maasch Fine Art (4 City Center). On Friday the gallery will open 2 Solo Exhibitions, a colorful collection of abstraction set next to some spectacular black and white photography. This small but welcoming space consistently offers beautiful and interesting artwork, definitely worth a monthly visit.
Move on a couple blocks, scoot up Exchange Street and take a peek at Aucocisco (89 Exchange St), one of the premiere contemporary galleries in Portland. At the moment they are showing some great wood relief sculptures of different animals that look like Bernard Langlais in the intimate gallery space, nestled around a beautiful (retired) brick fireplace.
From there head down Middle Street and stop in at Casco Bay Artisans (63 Market St) for great local art. Accomplished violist Julia Eiten will perform with her peers for visitors from 6-8. Her husband Jonathan Eiten’s lovely still lifes have recently been added to the gallery walls amidst a truly diverse collection of paintings, jewelry and sculpture by Maine artists.
After enjoying the music run back down to Exchange street for a look at the brand-new As 1 Gallery (24 Exchange St). Featuring a variety of local art and crafts, As 1 brings the gallery presence even further into the Old Port, giving some new local flavor.
Finish your Old Port art experience close to Commercial Street, where George Anderson Gallery (342 Fore St) serves as a studio gallery for accomplished New England artist George Anderson. A rotating selection of his colorful acrylics graces the walls, the floor, and framed and unframed prints are for sale in one corner of the space.
Finish your evening on the water at any one of the great restaurants with outside seating, and your First Friday can end on the ocean!