Esteemed Artist Addressed Public at His Ribbon Cutting Ceremony Earlier This Month


Artist Mark Pettegrow Just Before the Cutting of the Ribbon Ceremny on Monday, November 8th, for His Art Installation.

Dr. Glenn Cummings, Former Speaker of the Maine House of Representatives,and Current USM President, addressedd the Crowd. “I feel like I Really Worked Hard to Get Here,” he said.  He’s a Jogger Who Has Run Around the Roundabout Numerous Times.  Dr. Cummings Announced Last Month His intention to Step Down as of July 1, 2022 to Teach at the Muskie School of Public Policy.

Artist Mark Pettegrow With His Sister-in-Law Elaine Pettegrow and Brother Brent Pettegrow.  They Drove up From Kennebunk for the Occasion. “Mark was Always Very Creative,” said Brent Before the Ceremony of his Younger Brother.

“This is like a home coming for me,” said artist Mark Pettegrow at the art installation and ribbon cutting ceremony for his artwork titled – “Passing the Torch.”  The event occurred at the Deering Roundabout at the corners of Brighton Avenue, Deering Avenue and Falmouoth Street earlier this month – near the University of Southern Maine campus.

A native Mainer, Pettegrow attended the University of Maine and graduated in 1981 with highest honors.  Portland was his first home and he worked here for a few years in design.  But then he moved on. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Fine Arts in 1990.   He now resides near Bucks County, in a community that is very supportive of the arts. Pettegrow spends part of the summer in Kennebunk.  “My first failure was here in Portland,” he said laughing, in a moving tribute to Portland.

“The concept (for “Passing the Torch”) developed as a reaction to the site and my thinking about the differences betwen public vs. public art….I started to think about the imagery of the torch as beacons, as easily identifiable cultural symbols.  Each torch had as an idea of who we are, what we can be.  That idea passing from one torch to the next, one person to the next, held high, each generation nurturing that light and building it up, making it the best and highest it can be and then passing that torch towards the light,” he told the assembled crowd of admirers, family members and city staff.

The artist fee was $20,000.

Pettegrow’s work has been exhibited in the James A. Michener Art Museum, The State Museum of Pennsylvania among many other Museums.  His work is often commissioned on a site specific or project basis and has been produced for numerous corporate and private collections and in many residential installations.

Christine Grimando, Director of the city’s Planning Department, recalled that this entire project had taken a long time to come to fruition. When she started with the city a few years ago, it was already under discussion. “But it is well worth it,” she said.