Maine has a unique heritage – one that isn’t easily captured in a quick visit. Maine has long been a source of inspiration to generations of artists and crafters and that, along with the traditions of many cultures, leads to annual celebrations, art walks and appreciation of the best art and culture Maine has to offer.
The Bates Dance Festival has been held in Lewiston for more than 35 years and has become the state’s prestige dance program for young and professional dancers during an intensive summer workshop. The festival's focus has always been on studying and creating new works.
In October each year, the Maine Craft Weekend is a fun-filled event throughout the state with a self-guided tour featuring participants all over the state, with Maine craft studios, breweries and businesses open to the public.
The Portland Fine Craft Show in the state’s largest city is the only Maine craft show that is open to artists not living in Maine. The show features over 100 exhibitors from Maine and New England with crafts made from ceramics, glass, metal, leather, fiber and many more.
Long ago, the French explorers settled in Acadia, what is near the now border of Maine and New Brunswick, Canada, and the French culture is still vibrant throughout much of the state. Madawaska’s Acadian Festival each August celebrates Acadian culture with three days of music and arts, poutine eating contests, free ployes, quilting shows and numerous activities for the whole family.
In Bar Harbor, the Abbe Museum Indian Market showcases the art and culture of Maine’s Wabanaki people.
Strolling through a city or charming town in Maine is all well and good, but if it’s an art walk, it's so much better. Maine is home and muse to many an artist and monthly art walks and related events are a delightful way to wind your way through a town’s artist community. Artists open their studios to the public, as do many galleries and museums. These free self-guided tours are social events, like a pop-up block party – and are perfect for learning about the culture and spirit of the city. Discover new artists or old favorites across the state, from Presque Isle to Kennebunkport.
Most of Maine’s art walks and arts experiences are in the warmer months, like Bangor’s First Fridays which often feature arts and performances; Rockland's First Friday; Belfast’s Fourth Friday from May to September; Bath's Art Hop from June-August; Lewiston/Auburn’s Walk LA from the final Friday of June through October; and Camden Art Walk on the third Thursday May through October. Second Friday Brunswick runs from June through September and includes art, live music, dance and theatrical performances; and in Wiscasset, stroll the historic downtown on the last Thursdays from June through September.
Portland has a very popular year-round Art Walk on the first Friday of each month from 5 to 8 p.m. in venues all around the city. The Portland Museum of Art is free every Friday from 4 to 8 p.m.
Maine has numerous art walks throughout the year, so wherever you are, be sure to see if there is one nearby.