Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The Working Art Gallery, a day of mixed emotions.

Today we had the closing on the sale of our building.  I would like to share the history of the gallery that has been such an important part of my life. 

In January 1999, three Maine artists, Louis Masciovecchio, Celene Farris and Dianne Horton, established The Working Art Gallery on Front Street at the Belfast waterfront. The name was chosen because the three artists maintained their studios at the gallery. Visitors were encouraged to watch and ask questions. Celene also offered art classes at the gallery. The three artists helped to establish The Belfast Art Association, working closely with the other galleries to create a vibrant art community in Belfast.

Mid September of 2003, the gallery moved to its own building at 65 Main Street in historic downtown Belfast. (The William Crosby Building, 1857). The gallery expanded to two floors and added a visiting artist’s gallery giving new, up and coming artists the opportunity to display their work in a gallery setting. A classroom on the second floor was now used for Celene's expanded oil painting classes. The gallery continued to grow, representing over 30 local artists.

In November 2006, Maine artist, Sheryl Tripp, became the gallery’s new manager and added The Aina Moja Shop, a project of Expanding Opportunities, a non-profit organization supporting native African artists in Kenya and other Kenyan charities.

When the local newspaper began its “Best of the Best” People’s Choice Awards Competition in 2007, the gallery was voted the top art gallery in Waldo County.  The gallery continued to receive recognition each subsequent year.

At the close of 2011, after thirteen busy years, Celene and Louis decided it was time to downsize the gallery and give themselves more free time to paint. They moved their gallery to the second floor and exhibited the works of Louis Masciovecchio, Sheryl Tripp and Celene Farris. 

On the first floor, noted Maine artist and antique collector, Jude Nickerson, opened her new signature gallery, Raven’s Nest Gallery, featuring an exciting mix of Maine art and Maine antiques. She offered to oversee the upstairs gallery as well.

In March of 2014, Louis and his wife, Mary, returned to Maine. The second and third floors of the gallery building became their new temporary home. The physical gallery closed and a new virtual gallery was created. The first floor remained the home of Raven's Nest Gallery.

On September 3, 2014, Celene and Louis met to sign the sale papers on their building. The great old building was about to begin its new life and the artists are free to paint and travel. Celene will continue to maintain the gallery's website.

It has been a remarkable journey and I would like to sincerely thank our patrons and participating artists for making this a wonderful and exciting experience. The success of our gallery would not have been possible without your support. It has been a great pleasure to be part of Belfast's vibrant art community.

We are extremely pleased to be voted one of the top art galleries in Waldo County by The Republican Journal's "Best of the Best" People's Choice Awards. It is an honor we will always treasure and we sincerely thank all those who made this possible. 

I hope you will visit us at 

"Art washes away from the soul, the dust of everyday life."   Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)

Thank you for visiting on this day of mixed emotions.

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