“What is a city without art? That’s why I promote local artists here,” said Kevin Ouellette, last week at The Maine Souvenir Shop, 2 Exchange Street in the Old Port of Portland. He doesn’t want Maine artists to leave because they are such an asset to the State. That’s why he’s promoting them in this expanded shop.
“I like to create new things as long as it has an element of helping the community,” said Kevin. He has close to forty (40) artists whose creations he is featuring – all of them made or designed by a Mainer.
One is Joe Rosshirt, an illustrator/animator. with an impressive resume. Kevin is selling multiple products with Joe’s illustrations on them, including the T-Shirt shown in the above left photograph. A Munjoy HIll resident, Joe, has done animation for Sea Bags, the Nature Conservancy of Maine, and Joe Bornstein among many others. A graduate of Maine College of Art, Joe is an adjunct professor at MECA these days.
Another popular vendor at the Souvenir shop is The Original Maine Studio and Store. Founder Bethany Fields whose studio, at 20 Hampshire Street, has an appealing sample of her vast product line available on-line or at the Souvenir Shop. The three year old company makes a variety of flags, patches, stickers, hats and T-shirts a replica of the original Maine State flag – showcasing the original pine tree and Dirigo star that once flew over the State House in Augusta between 1901 and 1909. The flag has won the hearts and minds of so many because of its distinctiveness and simplicity who believe that it is a very effective representation of Maine.
Not to be lost in the excitement of this new venue for local artists is the news that the grand opening last week marked a major expansion of Kevin’s business. Previously, The Maine Souvenir Shop was located on Milk Street. However, when Pandemonium vacated the property at 2 Exchange Street last year, Kevin scooped it up and made it his own; so handsomely he has done that. Meanwhile, the 28 Milk Street venue will be renamed KALM; selling products made by local artists to calm customers down – opening in March 2021.
KALM – who needs calm these days? Where did that idea come from?
The Maine Souvenir shop is open every day of the week from 10:00 am – 6;00 pm.
(The wearing of face coverings and limited number of customers at a time strictly enforced).